Back in October, the first of several trials was settled concerning the corruption in college basketball recruiting. Shoe company representatives, agents, and runners testified about the shady side of college recruiting that we have all been turning a blind eye to for decades.
Ultimately, Jim Gatto, Merl Code, and Christian Dawkins were all found guilty of fraud. Oddly enough, the universities that received players via dirty recruiting were portrayed as the victim in the trial. With the new trial beginning in April, though, that power dynamic will likely look a lot different.
For the first time, prominent head coaches are slated to receive subpoenas to testify in the new trial. Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats and Will Wade of the LSU Tigers, as reported by Yahoo! Sports, are going to be forced to take the stand to discuss their knowledge of the corruption that has taken place.
Allegedly, both coaches have been caught on wiretaps discussing recruits with Christian Dawkins, who has become the ultimate villain in this case.
Miller’s name came up early in the investigation as it was rumored that he was recorded discussing the recruitment of Deandre Ayton with Dawkins. Since that time, Arizona has lost several assistant coaches due to NCAA and criminal violations. Emanuel “Book” Richardson plead guilty to bribery charges in this same investigation, while Mark Phelps was fired due to academic violations.
Will Wade’s name came up during the trial last fall, specifically a conversation he had with Dawkins about recruit Balsa Koprivica, who ended up committing to Florida State. Wade has refuted the idea that he has ever done business with Dawkins, but some of those recordings from the FBI would beg to differ.
Wade has done an extraordinary job of recruiting players to LSU, and he currently has his Tigers atop the SEC. That’s a fairly unprecedented rise to the top from a program like LSU.
If both of these guys end up taking the stand, it could go a number of different ways. Will they clam up and use the fifth amendment? Will they go nuts and start accusing everyone of cheating?
Talking about these issues to the media is one thing, but testifying under oath is a different story entirely. It seems the biggest fireworks for college basketball will happen just a few weeks after the Final Four ends.