CHARLOTTE, N.C. — ACC Commissioner John Swofford, like most college basketball fans, has been tuned into the news coming out of New York this month as the FBI corruption trails of a handful of former assistant coaches and Adidas shoe executives has continued.
There’s been a lot of talk about how widespread corruption might be in NCAA basketball, with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski calling the trial a “blip” and others treating it as a serious problem.
But what hasn’t been talked about as much is what happens next.
A guilty verdict in the trial was handed down to former Adidas consultant Merl Code, Jr., agent Christian Dawkins and Adidas executive Jim Gatto closes one chapter of the story.
When the next one starts has yet to be determined. There are more co-conspirators that have yet to stand trial. But the NCAA is eventually going to have to sort out the details of not only what the FBI alleged, but what was offered as testimony at trial and during hears that has implicated many others of committing NCAA violations.
“As a leader in college athletics and a fan, as we all are, of a great sport in college basketball, I can’t help but be concerned about the allegations and the testimony in the case,” Swofford said. “While we don’t know what role the NCAA enforcement process will or can play with the evidence, it’s critical to the long-term health of the sport and the health of college athletics that there’s institutional and public confidence in the integrity of the sport.”
When pressed directly, Swofford said that he hopes the NCAA acts on the evidence presented to clean up the reputation of the sport.
“We must find ways to keep the bad actors out of the game and away from the game so the many who do it right, and there are many, in my opinion, can do so with confidence,” he said. “I don’t think that what has come up can be ignored in any way, shape or form. So, yes, I think there does need to be some action and I’m sure there will be.”
The league’s head coaches seem more split on the issue. North Carolina’s Roy Williams essentially said he doesn’t know enough about it to have an informed opinion while Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski seemed to minimize the issue before walking that back on Wednesday.
For his part, Pitt head coach Jeff Capel seems to agree with the commissioner that it’s big issue that needs to be corrected in order for the sport to move forward.
“I think it’s an issue,” he said. “I think it’s something that hurts our game. But I don’t think everyone is doing it. … It’s something that we need to correct and hopefully, all the stuff that’s coming out of there will help us improve our game. I think every coach wants that.”