The FBI has been active in this investigation for years, but there has been an agreement with the NCAA that they would stay out of the way as not to interfere with the process. Now that the first trial has concluded, and the FBI’s claims held up in court, NCAA officials have been given the go-ahead to proceed how they see fit.
Perhaps the most intriguing piece to this puzzle is that the institutions of higher education were actually seen as the victim at the trial. The prosecution claimed that James Gatto, Merl Code, and Christian Dawkins committed wire fraud in an effort to mislead these institutions about the eligibility of the players they were recruiting.
So by allegedly arranging payment for the athletes, the schools were fraudulently convinced to issue scholarships to these athletes. Now, the NCAA will look into punishing these same schools for the same actions that made them victims in federal court.
Silvio De Sousa of the Kansas Jayhawks, Dennis Smith Jr. of the North Carolina State Wolfpack, and Brian Bowen of the Louisville Cardinals were mentioned explicitly in trial testimony as having received improper benefits.
So while the trial acknowledged the schools as victims, that same acknowledgement is a federal judgement indicating that the athletes were, in fact, ineligible to play college basketball according to NCAA regulations.
Brian Bowen is long gone and never played a second of college basketball, but Louisville could receive even more sanctions based on testimony of additional benefits paid to Bowen’s family and efforts made to hide those transactions.
Dennis Smith Jr. is making a name for himself with the Dallas Mavericks right now, but could NC State see sanctions and potentially forfeit wins for games in which Smith played?
Kansas has suspended Silvio De Sousa for now, but what about the games he played in last season? And if they take all of the testimony given as fact, would the Jayhawks really be able to keep their coaching staff in tact?
There will be more information that comes to surface in the coming months, but this seems like the beginning of the end for some prominent programs. And with more trials stemming from the same investigation on the horizon, what other programs will end up on the hot seat?