On Tuesday, the first of three scheduled trials in the college basketball corruption scandal took place.
And boy did it get ugly real quick.
Names were released of people that could be brought up in court and it included Rick Pitino, Bill Self, Sean Miller, Jim Larranaga, Tom Jurich, Isaiah Whitehead, Nassir Little, Kyle Kuzma, Jason Richardson, Markelle Fultz, Romeo Langford, and Zion Williamson. These names do not necessarily mean that there has been any wrongdoing; they were just listed as names to be brought up during the trial.
What we know about the corruption case from before was that in September of last year, the FBI arrested ten people, including former Auburn Tigers assistant coach Chuck Person, former Oklahoma State Cowboys coach Lamont Evans, and former Adidas executive James Gatto.
They were arrested on fraud and corruption charges, such as bribery, money laundering, and wire fraud. James Gatto was the one to have allegedly set up the payment between Adidas and the University of Louisville for Brian Bowen to commit to the Cardinals.
All of that seemed to be just the beginning as on Tuesday morning, the attorney for James Gatto said the corruption scandal was more widespread than we had originally thought.
During opening statement this morning, Jim Gattto's atty promised evidence would show Oregon offered "an atronomical amount of money" to recruit Brian Bowen to play for the Ducks. The $100,000 deal to attend Louisville was to "level the playing field."— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) October 2, 2018
Gatto’s attorney alluded that Oregon would pay an “astronomical amount” of money to try and land Brian Bowen. This was allegedly to “level the playing field” against the Cardinals, as Bowen’s recruitment had just turned into a bidding war at this point. Gatto’s attorney claimed that they had solid evidence that Oregon was willing to pay a fine price for Bowen.
Gatto's atty also said Under Armor paid $20,000 to recruit Silvio De Sousa to sign with Maryland and Arizona offered $150,000 for Nassir Little. De Sousa is at Kansas, Little at UNC now. Goal is to make all of college hoops look corrupt.— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) October 2, 2018
Gatto’s attorney also alluded that Under Armour also paid upwards of $20k for the recruitment of Silvio De Sousa and for him to sign with Maryland. De Sousa is now at Kansas, along with Bill Self who has been mentioned in names to be brought up in trial and also has strong ties to agent Andy Miller, who was a part of the corruption case last year as well.
Arizona also allegedly offered an absurd amount of money, $150k, to try and get Nassir Little to commit there. If you remember, Mark Schlabach of ESPN released a damming article earlier this year stating that Sean Miller had allegedly offered and paid former Arizona Wildcat and the first pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Deandre Ayton, $100k for his services to Arizona this past season.
That appeared to be all smoke in mirrors however, as Schlabach never followed up on that and Miller kept his job as head coach of the Wildcats.
Gatto's atty also acknowledged the family of Dennis Smith Jr. Was paid $40,000 while he played for North Carolina State.— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) October 2, 2018
Also mentioned on the first day of trial today was that North Carolina State had allegedly paid the family of Dennis Smith Jr. $40,000 while he was playing for the Wolfpack.
Today proved to be just the tip of the iceberg in the NCAA corruption case. Schools mentioned last year are almost certainly going to be joined by other programs, coaches, and players. We all had a feeling this was about to get messy when the news first broke in late September of 2017. It took a year, but here we are.
Buckle up, folks, it’s going to be a crazy ride.