Big Ten’s Jim Delany: ‘Storm clouds’ Hang Over College Sports
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said Thursday significant "storm clouds" are hanging over college athletics because of a basketball recruiting scandal displaying what many see as the sleazy side of the sport.
Delany cited a federal trial that began in New York last week following an FBI investigation, and he said there is a "pattern" at certain schools. He also insisted the vast majority of programs are following the rules.
"I would say as negative as it is — no doubt that they are storm clouds of a significant magnitude — we have 300 Division I institutions and we have 1,000 players that are being recruited every year," he said. "While these are not isolated, I think they are at a certain level of recruitment and at certain institutions appear to be a pattern. These are not to be dismissed (and are to be) taken seriously. There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of players recruited properly and hundreds and hundreds of programs that are clean."
Speaking at the conference's annual basketball media day, Delany said "an unsettling, negative narrative" has been brought to light by the investigation. He also said the allegations are "not shocking to me."
"I would say there's going to be three trials and every day there seems to be revelations," he added. "Some of them are new and some of them have been heard before. But these were statements made under oath as a result of the FBI wiretaps of hundreds of hours if not more of thousands of conversations. Very negative."
Federal prosecutors have cast major college basketball as a corrupt enterprise where powerhouse programs and their high-profile coaches lean on athletic apparel giants to lure top prospects with cash payments to their struggling families. They argue that when top high school star Brian Bowen Jr. announced in June 2017 he would attend Louisville, he did it because of a payoff to his father.
Former sports agent Christian Dawkins, former Amateur Athletic Union coach Merl Code and former Adidas executive James Gatto have all pleaded not guilty to charges they plotted to pay Bowen's father in exchange for his son's promise to commit to Louisville.
It is the first trial related to an FBI investigation that exposed the sleazy side of big money in college basketball and led to charges against multiple people involved in making payments to student athletes. Other defendants, including former assistant coaches from Arizona, Auburn, the University of Southern California and Oklahoma State, face separate trials.
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