The FBI college basketball scandal has stunned many people around the US. The NCAA corruption investigation reports that 4 college basketball coaches took bribes in order to funnel their players who were going pro to certain financial managers and other service providers.
It also reports that Adidas and some shoe team coaches, paid money to elite level youth players to go to Adidas schools. For a very clear outline of the college basketball scandal, I would suggest checking this out at SB Nation.
I’m no legal expert, so not here to talk about the legal ramifications or explain in detail the corruption investigation, but having spent the last 6 years involved in the youth basketball world, and specifically the AAU scene through our PSB Club Teams, including the “elite” AAU scene through our PSB Elite teams, I’ve seen and heard about a multitude of shady and corrupt basketball related activities and stories.
How the FBI College Basketball Scandal Impacts NCAA Basketball
Now, I don’t want to talk about these things specifically, but I do want to say that this FBI college basketball scandal is just the tip of the iceberg.
The corruption and scandal goes much deeper than just four coaches, a few agents/managers, and one shoe company. I’m sure the FBI knows this, but probably just can’t prove it yet. Regardless, they’ve opened a huge can of worms.
The NCAA definitely knows this however, and furthermore, I’m betting they are absolutely freaking out because this could potentially be the downfall of NCAA college basketball as we know it. In fact, this same storyline has played out before, but. luckily for the NCAA, the AAU coach involved refused to cooperate with the FBI so he simply served his jail time and the investigation didn’t go any further. Well, that doesn’t appear to be what’s happening today.
If the college coaches, managers, agents, shoe company executives accused in this corruption investigation continue to tell the FBI about others they know of who have taken part in similar illegal activity and then those people start telling the FBI what they know, well then it becomes a domino effect of illegal activity and NCAA college basketball comes crumbling down.
But the money isn’t going anywhere!
There is too much money at the top in the NBA, through actual NBA contracts as well as shoe deals and other endorsements, for people to stop trying get a piece of it.
In my opinion, there are two directions it could go:
- The NCAA decides to allow colleges to legally start paying players, and continues to operate
- The NCAA decides not to allow colleges to start paying players, so the money forms separate organization to legally pay players
Regarding option 1, this debate on the NCAA allowing college players to be paid has been raging for the last few years anyway. Will this FBI corruption scandal be the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to paying “amateurs”?
In option 2, what could happen is the people and/or organizations with the money will just find another vehicle for basketball competition. Until now the vehicle has been NCAA college basketball, although illegally.
But what if the money just creates another league or organization that is allowed to pay players?
This idea has been floated for a couple of years as well, and this could just very well be the push it needs to get going.
In either scenario, college basketball as we’ve known if for the last few years would be completely different!
At the end of the day, it’s all about the “big money” at the top of the game (aka. the NBA). NBA players are signing $200 million contracts and $100 million shoe deals, so of course there’s going to be people and organizations that want to get even just a small piece of that.
This “big money” has had a trickle down effect over the last 15 to 20 years or so, starting with Sonny Vaccarro and his elite camps, to where it is today having a huge impact on basketball even at the youngest levels.
Much of what takes place in youth basketball today stems from the desire of people and companies to somehow make a profit off that big money, including:
- AAU “Shoe Circuits”
- Showcase Camps
- Elementary school and middle school rankings
- Unqualified youth basketball coaches and trainers
How you may ask?
I’ll cover that in part 2 of this blog post coming in the next few days…