Today’s bombshell (though not surprising) college sports news revolves around a bribery scandal where coaches and sports apparel companies paid players to head to certain schools. On top of the typical NCAA issues with this, there’s also a pretty significant federal opponent — that has the FBI and Department of Justice involved.
First, the information you’re likely concerned with: the Syracuse Orange basketball program has no direct ties to the scandal at this time. There are as many as 10 assistant coaches and apparel executives tied up in this, and we haven’t seen any names of current or previous Syracuse coaches included.
However, it is worth noting that one of the prominent names is Tony Bland, currently an assistant with the USC Trojans. In a previous life, Bland was on the Orange basketball team from 1998-2000 before transferring out to San Diego State for his final two seasons.
Among the other universities implied or mentioned: Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State -- plus the big ones for our purposes, Miami and Louisville.
Most of these schools are affiliated with Adidas -- which appears to be the primary apparel provider involved in the scandal here. The company’s director of global sports marketing for basketball, Jim Gatto, was among those arrested on Tuesday.
But there’s potential for this scope to expand, one would assume, given the persistent involvement of sports apparel companies in college sports -- especially for AAU, where Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all sponsor leagues. So in that respect, none of this should surprise basketball observers. I mean, Syracuse’s own affiliation with Nike has been a selling point for recruits in the past, and the school is currently angling for a fatter deal for its merchandising rights going forward.
Recent deals have escalated the amount big schools can take home by a significant amount. UCLA’s recent deal with Under Armour totaled $280 million. Kansas just extended its deal with Adidas last week to be worth $191 million through 2031.
As a helpful look at what’s transpired here, the DOJ’s Southern New York District has the following available:
Alleged NCAA coach bribery scheme in a nutshell pic.twitter.com/JyJJ0jeG68— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) September 26, 2017
We’ll be keeping an eye out as more comes out about this news. But how do we feel so far? Concerned? Snickering at rival schools? (Mostly) glad we’re not an Adidas school? Share your own thoughts below.