Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the very busy Tuesday Morning Quickies.
There’s no denying the elephant in the room, so I’ll jump right to our lead story — the FBI sting operation against several assistant college basketball coaches, a sports apparel company, numerous financial advisors and a partridge in a pear tree.
The FBI has indicted four assistant coaches — former NBA star Chuck Person of Auburn, Emanuel Richardson of Arizona, Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State, and Tony Bland of Southern Cal for various criminal violations including solicitation of bribes and conspiracy to the following: bribery, honest services fraud, wire fraud and the Travel Act.
Note that all these conspiracy charges carry the same penalty as the act itself. The article linked talks about “80 years in prison” as a possible penalty, but dear reader, please do not be confused by this unethical and ridiculous claim foisted by the DOJ and FBI to make the crimes sound even more horrible than they are. The maximum any of these worthies will realistically face is probably five years in prison, and I doubt any will do that kind of time. A sentencing range of 18-40 months is more like it. SI law correspondent Michael McCann explains:
If convicted on all counts, the defendants, excluding Dawkins and Sood, could face maximum sentences ranging from 50 to 80 years in prison. Unfortunately for Dawkins and Sood, they face charges in two cases. If convicted across the board and sentenced to the max, each would receive more than 100 years in prison.
Seldom, however, is the maximum sentence imposed when the defendants—as in these cases—lack a substantial criminal record. In addition, a judge can dramatically alter the length of a prison sentence based on whether the judge runs the sentences “consecutively” (one after the other) or “concurrently” (at the same time). It is also possible that the defendants will work out plea deals with the Justice Department where they plead guilty or no contest to lesser charges. Nonetheless, the defendants in these case are threatened with multi-year prison sentences should they be convicted.
As usual, you should read the entire article. McCann speaks with authority and expertise on these matters.
Having disposed of my opinion of the legal stuff, let’s look at the part that affects our dear Commonwealth; once again, the University of Louisville is implicated in gross violations of NCAA rules, as well as the Title 18 of the United States Code. Consider:
According to the complaint, Gatto, Code, Dawkins and Sood worked together to funnel $100,000 to the player’s family in early June, and Dawkins told the others that he did so at the request of a Louisville coach. “Player-10,” who is described in the complaint as a top recruit, is believed to be Brian Bowen, a five-star guard/forward who signed with Louisville on June 5. The FBI said telephone records show Gatto spoke directly with the unnamed coach multiple times in the days before the player publicly committed to play for the Cardinals.
The complaint said another high school player was paid to sign with the Cardinals, and Dawkins paid the money by funneling it through Augustine.
The Louisville coach who requested the payment has yet to be identified, but I have no doubt he will be, and that right soon. It really doesn’t matter who it is, though. Given their very recent punishment by the NCAA over the “Breaking Cardinal Rules” prostitution scandal, there is no way at all Rick Pitino can survive this no matter what he knew. The NCAA will drop the show-cause penalty on him just for being captain of the ship during back-to-back scandals of this magnitude, just to save face. I doubt seriously he’ll survive at Louisville long enough for that shoe to drop, though.
UPDATE as I write:
A person inside the #Louisville athletic department tells me there's an expectation that Pitino (and likely Jurich) will be fired today.— Michael Eaves (@michaeleaves) September 27, 2017
This is a tragedy for college basketball and I take no pleasure in reporting it. It is a smear on our state, our favorite sport, and confirms the fears of many when it comes to corruption in collegiate sports. I can recall many people worrying about apparel company influence in recruiting, and those fears have been confirmed in spades, in the smarmiest and most greedy way possible.
The FBI says the investigation is ongoing and more shoes are certain to drop. I find myself strangely unconcerned about UK — perhaps it’s because it seems obvious UK doesn’t have to resort to such chicanery to get top recruits. Perhaps I’m being naive, though — I guess we’ll see.
Tweet of the Morning
UK Compliance reminds the Big Blue Madness campers of the absurdly strict NCAA rules regarding who is a “donor” to UK and what interaction with recruits can cause.
And, on the more humorous side:
Who would’ve ever guessed that Bobby Petrino would be the good son?— Larry Glover Live (@larrygloverlive) September 27, 2017
Even though Johnson says she’s his sister, it’s not a real. She jokes he is her “play” brother.
“We went to the same high school,” Evans said. “I have an older brother who played football and basketball with him. I was just always around and we developed a great relationship. We just started supporting each other and putting a positive light on Gary.”
- Kentucky tries to avoid a post-gators letdown. It’s very important that the Wildcats put that loss behind them and move on. They still have a very favorable schedule before them, and they can make the Florida loss a minor blip if they take advantage of what’s in front of them, one game at a time.
- No, Kentucky football is not cursed.
- Kentucky’s football season far from over. Indeed, it’s barely begun.
- Big Blue Madness campout begins.
- Should UK fans be worried about the FBI investigation? No, says Ben Roberts. I agree with him completely.
- Some Big Blue Madness campers “tickled” about Louisville’s problems.
Other Kentucky sports
- Will the FBI’s college basketball probe eventually expand to football? Jason Kirk agues that it might not.
- College and Magnolia: Auburn basketball is in deep trouble. Yeah, I’d say they are. Bruce Pearl is the head man there, and I think I recall that he had some trouble with the NCAA at some school south of the Kentucky border. I suspect he’s in for another round.
- “You can make millions off one kid.” Ben Roberts has more on the basketball corruption case.
- Arizona Desert Swarm: There are other big things in the Book Richardson allegations besides the recruiting bribes. Big things indeed, not so much for the criminal case, but the NCAA is gonna be unhappy to say the least.
- Louisville fans don’t deserve this, according to Mike Rutherford. In general, I’d agree, although I can think of a few that do…
- In case you were wondering, yes, the FBI indictments will probably make Brian Bowen ineligible to play for Louisville.
Other sports news
- NBA teams already very interested in Kevin Knox.
- DirecTV fans upset by the NFL protests can get “unprecedented” refunds on their NFL Sunday Ticket package if they want to discontinue it.
- Space sailing is a thing, and closer than you think to reality.
- A huge gravitational wave announcement is about to happen. Grav waves! Yes!
- Pilot lands safely after bird strike destroys plane’s nose. The picture is impressive, and scary.