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College Basketball

Saunders: Lack of Outrage Shows Depths of College Basketball’s Issues



If you’ve been following along with the ongoing college basketball corruption scandal, it’s hard to feel anything other than cynical about the state of the sport.

Testimony given in the second of what could be several trials has implicated dozens of coaches, schools and programs in pay-for-play and other scandals.

But as things stand right now, there’s little at stake when it comes to the game’s blue bloods.

Three assistant coaches — Arizona’s Emanuel Richardson, USC’s Tony Bland and Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans — have reached plea deals on their charges and are awaiting sentencing. Currently on trial are Christian Dawkins and Merl Code, a middleman for an agent and a sneaker executive.

All three coaches charged with a crime have lost their jobs. Louisville fired Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich in 2017. To this point, that’s been the summation of the actual effects of the scandal on the game.

LSU’s Will Wade, who has now been thrice accused of impropriety during sworn testimony and recorded conversations entered as evidence, spent his Wednesday sending scholarship offers to high-profile underclassmen. Arizona’s Sean Miller was also mentioned by name again, to seemingly little effect.

Sean Miller at University of Arizona Press Conference at McKale Center. By Lance Linn | CC BY-SA 4.0

Sean Miller at University of Arizona Press Conference at McKale Center. By Lance Linn | CC BY-SA 4.0

It’s clear that the schools involved see it in their best interest to wait until a higher power — whether it’s the courts of this country or the NCAA — forces their hand with action. From a purely self-preservation standpoint, that makes a lot of sense.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense that there isn’t more outrage about that choice, though.

Sure, there have been sharply worded columns penned and fans of rival schools have emptied their trove of internet sobriquets, but the people that have been most aggrieved have been curiously silent.

After all, the ridiculous notion being proffered by the United States in the ongoing trial that the schools are somehow the victims in this scheme remains nonsense. The schools that have cheated the best have gained the most, and their actions to protect those coaches implicated instead of rooting them out shows as much.

The real victims are the coaches that haven’t cheated, that did things the right way, and lost players to those that broke the rules, lost games to those players and lost jobs because of those losses. 

There is obviously a reluctance within the coaching community to go too far to excoriate one of their own, but if the against-the-rules actions of some coaches are causing that amount of harm to others, you’d think that would make it no holds barred.

So where is the outrage? Where are the coaches pounding on the table, shouting, “We do things the right way and we demand those that don’t be taken out of the game!”

So far, there haven’t been any.

“This whole idea that this is an amateur world is not real,” Dawkins said on the stand.

Maybe he’s right. Maybe the reason that the clean coaches haven’t come forward is that there aren’t many.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Terrence Otoole
Terrence Otoole
3 years ago

very good article alan another amazing part in this is these schools presidents do nothing also the ncaa refuses to govern anything anymore ,college athletics has gotten so corrupt and everyone knows it

Joe Onderick
Joe Onderick
3 years ago

Alan, your last sentence nails it!

Ed Rose
Ed Rose
3 years ago

There are no clean coaches/programs. It is just different layers of corruption, deception and illegal acts that separate them from big and little fishes in all of this. The fact that Miller and Wade are still employed is mind blowing.

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