With the FBI bearing down on college basketball – and with several coaches already fired or about to be fired – know this: This is, in all likelihood, just the tip of the iceberg.
How far-reaching could this federal probe be, you ask? Well, pretty far.
“(There’s) incredible fear – from coast to coast,” CBS Sports college basketball columnist Gary Parrish said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It’s not just (fear of) the other assistant coaches flipping on people – because it’s unclear how much information they would have. The person who has college basketball people nervous, there’s really two: it’s the two shoe-company executives (at Adidas).”
Specifically, James Gatto and Merl Code.
“There’s one (Gatto) who is prominent at Adidas who obviously has the power to do a deal like the deal they did with Brian Bowen to give his family $100,000 from Adidas so that he would pick an Adidas school,” Parrish said. “So there’s that guy. Then there’s another guy (Code) who just recently started working for Adidas, but he used to work at Nike – and that means he understands how Nike goes about doing things.”
This, in part, is why college coaches are so fearful. A small amount of people have a vast amount of knowledge that could affect a vast number of coaches and programs.
“Just trust me when I tell you that Brian Bowen’s family is not the first person to ever benefit from a shoe company, and Louisville is not the first program to ever benefit from a shoe company paying a prospect’s family,” Parrish said. “So when they sit down with these shoe-company executives, these aren’t career criminals who live by some code (about not snitching). They’re going to talk. They don’t want to go to jail. So when the FBI sits down with these shoe-company executives and says, ‘Hey, you’re looking at 15 years in prison, or you can talk. Do you want to cooperate?’”
“Of course they’re going to cooperate,” Parrish said. “And the first question – or at least among the first questions the FBI is going to put out there – is, ‘Okay, we know what you did for Brian Bowen. We know what you did for Louisville. Tell us the other players you’ve done this for, their families, and tell us the other schools you’ve done this for.’ When those shoe-company execs start answering those questions, there is literally no telling how many programs could get brought into this.”