Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports dropped a bombshell story on Friday morning, reporting that several college basketball players, including many in the SEC, received improper benefits from agents.
The reporters uncovered the information by looking at bank statements and federal documents with regard to the FBI’s investigation into college basketball.
Some of the more high-profile names in the report included former Kentucky player Bam Adebayo, former Washington star Markelle Fultz and former North Carolina State star Dennis Smith. Current players Wendell Carter of Duke and Collin Sexton of Alabama also were mentioned. The father of Kentucky player Kevin Knox denied that his family had ever met with an agent, as indicated in the report.
Even players at nontraditional powers such as South Carolina and Clemson received money while in school, according to the report.
The NCAA responded to the report with a statement from president Mark Emmert, who mentioned that if what was reported is true, it points to “systematic failures” in the college sports system. Here is his full statement:
“These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York’s indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it’s clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.”
This has been brewing for months, as a handful of college basketball assistants were arrested in late September, including Auburn assistant Chuck Person. It will be worth monitoring what kind of impact this report has on college basketball. While it indicates that players took money, it is unclear whether the payments were facilitated only by agents. How deeply involved the schools were also is unclear.
The NCAA Tournament is set to begin in three weeks, with Selection Sunday slated for March 11.