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Corruption scandal is bad for schools, but it’s worse for the brand of college basketball

Most expected these things were happening, but the evidence casts a shadow over the entire sport.

NCAA President Mark Emmert Press Conference Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State, Kansas, North Carolina. Those five schools are college basketball. The recent Yahoo report based on the ongoing FBI investigation is certainly not a good look for any of the blue bloods implicated, but the larger implications are much more detrimental for the overall brand of college basketball.

Miles Bridges was projected to be a lottery pick in the 2017 draft, yet he chose to return and play a sophomore season with Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans. Now that his name is associated with receiving improper benefits from Andy Miller and company, it is possible that the Spartans will have to vacate all of their wins from the last two seasons (47 total at this point).

To the surprise of many, even the Duke Blue Devils have been implicated in the report. Star freshman big man Wendell Carter apparently had a meal with either Andy Miller or Christian Dawkins, which is a little more complicated than accepting money but is still punishable by the vacation of games if he is retroactively deemed ineligible.

Tony Bradley of North Carolina averaged 7.5 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, a season in which the Tar Heels won a national title. While his involvement in the report is also concerning an impermissible meal, UNC could be on the hook for sanctions as well.

So what is the NCAA to do here? Are they really going to vacate wins for 50+ programs over the span of multiple seasons? Will there be massive slates of probations that prevent several top programs from participating in the NCAA tournament?

If Mark Emmert and his goons take either of those directions, they will be shooting themselves in the foot. But if they ignore these reports, they will be opening the door to even more rampant involvement by agents and runners.

While some may be celebrating this exposed corruption as an overdue impetus for change, this ultimately seems like a lose/lose for college basketball. Either the largest fan-bases in the country will see their teams take several steps back (without any tangible involvement in the situation by most of them), or the NCAA will be signing off on the poisonous culture that has been operating under the official radar for decades.

The NCAA will not even begin their investigation until after this season is over. There are still more names to be released and reports to be filed. Buckle up, everyone, the darkest days of college basketball are on the horizon.