You have permission to edit this article.
John Clay: The NCAA is finally acting on the FBI college basketball investigation

John Clay: The NCAA is finally acting on the FBI college basketball investigation

  • 0
Former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino late in the second half of a 74-69 loss to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Region semifinal at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on March 28, 2014.

Former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino late in the second half of a 74-69 loss to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Region semifinal at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on March 28, 2014. (Charles Bertram/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS)

Never mind those stay-at-home orders, the NCAA has been making news.

Basketball news. Infractions committee news. The Indianapolis enforcers are finally following up on the FBI's college basketball corruption scandal in 2017. Notice of allegations have been issued. Some responses have been made. More of both are sure to come. So, updates:

- Louisville: U of L received its notice of allegations on May 4 for the Adidas/Brian Bowen scandal that cost coach Rick Pitino and athletics director Tom Jurich their jobs. Assistant coaches Kenny Johnson and Jordan Fair were also fired. Bowen's father testified at trial that Johnson gave him $1,300 in cash for rent to stay at the Galt House in Louisville. A Louisville assistant was also caught on wiretap allegedly discussing player payments with an Adidas rep.

Despite the fact Louisville was still on probation for its earlier escort scandal, which forced the school to remove its 2013 NCAA championship banner, officials are vowing to fight the NCAA. Given U of L cleaned house, it might have a case.

- Kansas: The Jayhawks received their notice of allegations back in September, primarily for its cozy relationship with Adidas, specifically the school's relationship with Thomas Gassnola, who was sentenced to probation in the basketball corruption trial last September. The NCAA hit Kansas with three Level 1 violations.

Like Louisville, the school is mounting an aggressive defense. In March, the school responded by disputing all allegations of wrongdoing. That didn't sit well with the NCAA, which responded last week with a letter citing "egregious" and "severe" rules violations, alleging that Kansas Coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend "embraced, welcomed and encouraged" Adidas reps.

- TCU: Received a notice of allegations in January specific to former assistant coach Corey Barker, who allegedly took a $6,000 bribe payment from Adidas rep Christian Dawkins.

- Southern Cal: The Trojans received their notice of allegations last December for the alleged misdeeds of former assistant Tony Bland. Bland was sentenced to two years probation.

- Oklahoma State: Received its notice of allegations last November alleging former assistant coach Lamont Evans "knowingly solicited and received benefits for facilitating or arranging a meeting between student-athletes and financial advisors." Evans was sentenced to three months in jail.

- North Carolina State: The Wolfpack received its letter last year after former assistant coach Orlando Early allegedly promised star guard Dennis Smith $40,000 in payments. Smith is now in the NBA. Former N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried is now head coach at Cal State Northridge.

- LSU: The school has yet to receive its notice of allegations, but most agree that one is surely coming. After all, an FBI wiretap caught head coach Will Wade admitting he made a "strong-ass" offer to guard Javonte Smart in 2017. Wade was suspended for the final five games of the 2019 season, but he was reinstated for 2019-20. ESPN's Dick Vitale recently tweeted, "Trust me, reliable sources tell me that LSU & ARIZONA basketball will be hit with MAJOR allegations by the NCAA."

- Arizona: Observers are wondering why it is taking so long for the NCAA to move on Arizona, which admitted it is under investigation. An FBI wiretap caught an Arizona assistant suggesting head coach Sean Miller had allegedly agreed to pay star center Deandre Ayton $10,000 a month. Ayton is in the NBA. Miller is still Arizona's head coach.

In fact, Miller's recruiting class for 2020 is ranked eighth by 247Sports, just one spot behind Auburn, which could conceivably hear from the NCAA about former assistant coach Chuck Person, who pleaded guilty to receiving bribes but was given time served and placed on two years supervision.

The constant here appears to be schools are not taking the allegations lying down. Miller is still at Arizona. Wade is still at LSU. After taking preemptive steps, Louisville insists it has been punished enough. At Kansas, Self insists the NCAA has created a "false narrative" about his program.

Meanwhile, the beat goes on. Just last week, class of 2021 four-star prospect Zach Clemence made his college choice after narrowing his list to Kansas, Ohio State and Baylor. Clemence chose Kansas.

Visit the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.) at


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

CHICAGO - Pac-12 football players penned an essay in The Players' Tribune under the headline "#WeAreUnited" to get the attention of Commissioner Larry Scott. They are threatening a boycott if their demands - including revenue sharing - are not met. Big Ten athletes, meanwhile, recently have been getting a more direct line to the top of the conference. Sources say Commissioner Kevin Warren has ...

  • Updated

ATLANTA - The Big Ten and Pac-12 canceled football and all fall sports Tuesday and will try again in the spring. The SEC and ACC are, for now, still planning to play starting next month. The actuaries, attorneys and medical professionals are steering the ship now. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said there's too much uncertainty with medical risks for players during the pandemic. SEC ...

C'mon, college football, do you have one more miracle in you? One more Boise State Statue of Liberty, one more botched punt at the Big House, one more Chris Davis "Kick Six"? We'll even let you have you a fifth down. College football makes the impossible possible week after week. But now it's up against a relentless, unsentimental opponent. COVID-19 has infected nearly 5 million Americans and ...

It may seem inevitable, that the pandemic will outflank football and the college season will be lost. It would be the safe, easy call for the Big Ten, to shut it down as the Mid-American Conference did, as some health experts are recommending, and revisit it in the spring. The tough call is to wait a bit longer, to keep testing and learning. I'd make the tough call, for now, and push ahead. I ...

In perhaps the most sobering picture yet of where things stand for fall college sports, the NCAA on Thursday released a series of guidelines for a potential return-to-competition amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid all the protocols and possibilities, such as daily health checks and testing within 72 hours of competition in some sports, were some words that should strike fear in - or, hopefully, ...

Colleges are scrambling to figure out how many fans can experience the thrills and pageantry of NCAA football in person this season. Texas A&M University Athletic Director Ross Bjork said he expects the school to allow about half of its 110,000-seat stadium, Kyle Field, to be filled for games. Florida State University announced that Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee would be limited to ...

HARTFORD, Conn. - Marquette was a brand name in college men's basketball long before it joined the Big East, long, in fact, before there was a Big East. Tex Winter, one of the developers of the famed triangle offense, coached Marquette in the early 1950s, followed through the decades by fellow Hall-of-Famers Eddie Hickey, Al McGuire, who led Butch Lee, Bo Ellis and company to the 1977 NCAA ...

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - For decades, the Navy-Notre Dame series has been touted as the "longest, continuous intersectional rivalry" in college football, but that 94-year run will come to an end this fall. The Capital Gazette has learned from multiple sources that the Navy-Notre Dame game will not be played this season. A formal announcement could come Thursday after the Atlantic Coast Conference ...

  • Updated

Congratulations, college football, you now fully represent America. If not complete chaos, a pretty fair approximation of it. Mixed messages or no messages from leadership. A confused workforce. Haves gaining access to COVID-19 testing while have-nots can't foot that bill. To be clear, there are no right answers, no clear path. Right now, Solomon might throw up his hands. We're too late in the ...

The Big Ten, I'm sure, has some of the smartest and most accomplished people in the country to consult with. I'm sure they got a lot of advice from the best and brightest of the medical, science, academic, legal and athletic communities. I'm sure the people that run the conference came to the conclusion that canceling football (and all sports) for the fall is the right thing to do. I'm sure ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News