An Open Letter to College Basketball Coaches
Dear college basketball head coaches,
Stop illegally recruiting players. You might think that this is a good idea at the time, but you will face harsh consequences for it. This past week, on allegations of bribing players to attend their schools, the FBI arrested the assistant coaches from Auburn, USC, Arizona, and Oklahoma State, and as a result of his involvement in the investigation, Louisville fired their head coach, Rick Pitino. On top of this, the FBI arrested Jim Gatto, the Global marketing director at Adidas, for funneling money to these coaches who in turn gave it to the players (CBS). If this news does not frighten you, then you are an outstanding coach and recruit players legally, but to the majority of you who are alarmed, you need to be ready for what is to come. The FBI will likely examine connections to bribery in other programs in an attempt to expose the corruption embedded within college basketball. With this in mind, you, the coaches who recruit players illegally, must stop funneling money to recruits in order to save the reputation of your players and yourselves.
Despite the fact that most of the recruiting process occurs behind closed doors, this latest investigation exposed how coaches entice recruits to come to their schools. It all starts when the players are in high school and play on competitive club basketball teams. Certain shoe companies, mainly Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour, sponsor teams and events, and put much more money into the ones that contain star players. These brands do this in hopes that the players will attend a school that they sponsor, and then sign a major shoe deal with them in the future (Schnell). This practice is not illegal, but when the companies start paying coaches to recruit certain players, and when these coaches start paying players to attend their school, it becomes fraudulent. This is the case of what happened at USC, Auburn, Arizona, Oklahoma State, and Louisville, the schools involved in the FBI investigation. They found that the assistant coaches for these teams accepted bribes from agencies and shoe companies, and gave the money to players to get them to attend their schools and sign with these companies. At USC specifically, assistant coach Tony Bland accepted 13,000 dollars in bribes from a sports agency, and funneled $9,000 dollars to two players (O’Donnell). These companies and schools generate so much revenue that paying the players and coaches is not a problem.
Although the players may need the money, if they accept it illegally, their careers can be drastically affected. Brian Bowen, one of the top recruits in the nation, committed to Louisville after the team allegedly paid him 100,000 dollars to come to their school. As a result of Bowen accepting this Bribe and the FBI finding out, he will no longer attend Louisville and will face sanctions from the NCAA, the (O’Donnell). He either will not be able to play college basketball or...