Mark Emmert (left) and FBI investigator Burt Macklin
CHEESE IT! THE FEDS! The FBI probably has better things to do than this, but they're doing this anyway:
The worst-kept secret in college basketball is how coaches, sneaker executives, sports agents, travel-team coaches and financial advisers, often through under-the-table payments, steer top high school talent first to NCAA programs and later to apparel brands and professional representation once they enter the NBA.
Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York blew this shadowy world open in ways that have never before been seen, indicting 10 men, including active assistant basketball coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC, plus an executive for adidas, in a widespread case that is sure to rock college basketball to its core.
While only four schools are currently involved, the complaints will provide a treasure map for NCAA investigators as it tells stories of endless payouts and kickbacks in the recruitment of numerous top prospects over the past three years.
Apparently this is illegal because of... bribery and stuff? Because NCAA coaches get federal funding and therefore... unlicensed amphibious rodent... city limits? I don't know.
What I suspect is that everyone named in this investigation is going to flip immediately, because their careers are done either way and ain't nobody going to jail for Rick Pitino. This will spread, and the allegations are seismic for at least one school:
This is unreal, where a U of L coach says "we gotta be very low key" since U of L is already on probation. pic.twitter.com/JfSLiQ5h1G
— Jason Riley (@JasonRileyWDRB) September 26, 2017
The NCAA has said it will never use the death penalty again, Pat Forde says do it anyway. We're about to find out how far they're willing to go in 2017. This brazenness will not stand:
Louisville received its punishment from the NCAA 6/11. A bball assistant was in a hotel room in Vegas w/Adidas conspiring to cheat on 7/27.
— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) September 26, 2017
Unless it does. But probably not!
Don't expect anything immediate, as the FBI has not interacted with the NCAA yet. The wheels of (sort of) justice grind slowly.
Is this actually good if you want players paid? In the short term, no. But the more naked the system is, the more clear it is that shoe companies run five-star basketball recruiting, the less tenable the NCAA's position is. Maybe this won't force the schools to offer their own money, but surely at some point the fact that a large majority of the top players are bought has to open the doors to above-the-table third party payments.
"But then boosters and shoe companies will own college basketball," hypothetical argument guy says before realizing that is the status quo.
It was not a dream. PFF All Big Ten teams from last week feature one John O'Korn:
PFF Week 4 - B1G Team of the Week - Offense pic.twitter.com/O6m4CDQETe
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) September 26, 2017
So it wasn't just you. People not desperately invested in the hope John O'Korn provided during the last three quarters of that game also thought he was pretty dang good. Though not as good as Saquon Barkley, which got dang son.
Bush, Hurst, Winovich, and Hill all made the defensive team, FWIW.
Poor Damn DJ Durkin. Maryland QB Kasim Hill is out for the season, following on the heels of Piggy Pigrome getting knocked out in the Texas game. Caleb Henderson is still out with some sort of foot thing, so fourth-stringer Max Bortenschlager played most of the game against UCF, which was a terrible defeat. Incredibly, this is not the first time Durkin has had to turn to a fourth-stringer who sounds like a shot you'd order at Rick's*. Bortenschlager started the Nebraska game last year, a 28-7 loss.
Things were even worse in 2012—when Maryland lost five QBs, one to transfer and four to injury, eventually moving a freshmnan LB to the spot—and 2015, when four different guys played, one of whom subsequently became a linebacker.
This one sucks more than those because Durkin had just racked up a statement win at Texas and the Terrapins looked like they were on their way to... 8-4? Now they're going to be scratching out bowl eligibility. But at least they've got this going for them:
— David Ruff (@dcarterruff) September 23, 2017
I say that in all sincerity.
*[I imagine? I never went, and when I tell people this 50% of them say I am very smart and 50% say I am very dumb. Anyway, a MAX BORTENSCHLAGER is 1/3rd Everclear, 1/3 Goldschlager, and 1/3 BORT, which is... Swedish port? Yeah.
I think I just invented the world's worst drink.]
Taking those bullets for us. Michigan had three head-to-head recruiting battles with Texas for 2016 kids that they lost: Jordan Elliott, Jean Delance, and Chris Daniels. With Daniels's just-announced departure, all three of those guys have left Austin in just over a year. Michigan filled in the DT slot with Mike Dwumfour, who's emerging into a rotation piece on a top-five defense in year two.
They filled the OT slot with... nobody. This was the class that saw Swenson forcibly decommitted and Devery Hamilton flip; Michigan added Stephen Spanellis, a guard, late.
Harbaugh joins the cause. Harbaugh on punting:
Speaking Tuesday on "Attack Each Day: The Harbaugh's Podcast," the Michigan football coach suggested the NCAA implement a rule similar to the NFL when it comes to punt returns.
"There's only two eligible players that are allowed to leave in the pro game before the ball is punted," Harbaugh said."In college, anybody can leave before the ball is punted. It's a player-safety (issue), to have 10 players converging on a punt returner. A defenseless player is not what we want in our game."
That change has long been advocated here, not for player safety issues but boring thing issues. NFL rules would create more returns and fewer fair catches.
Graham Glasgow, still Graham Glasgow. Ain't no party like a Glasgow party because everyone's standing next to the wall nursing a drink and making ham-fisted attempts at a flicker of human interaction before retreating into a shell of fear and self-loathing WOOOO:
.@ShowtimeTate: "We're going to try to involve him next time. Poor Graham. He just wants to be included."
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 20, 2017
The receivers have sworn to get him involved next time, but Glasgow knows deep in his heart that is a lie and no one will ask him to prom ever.
Baumgardner on Bush. He does many things:
When watching defenders, it's important not to get completely caught up in box score stats. A great example of this came three years ago, when Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa finished his final college season with modest sack totals, but constantly graded out as one of the most impact-making defenders in the country due to his presence on the field and what he was able to force.
Impact plays. For a player like Bush, this can mean many things. A sack, a pass break-up, a forced fumble, an interception, a quarterback pressure, an effort play that results in a zero rush or tackle for loss. Against Purdue on Saturday, I counted 13 impact plays for Michigan's inside linebacker.
I'd like to see a few more stats get standardized, like QB hits and hurries, to better quantify those results.
Etc.: Many UF felonies. Bright side: nobody will say "oh, Michigan beat Florida without all those players." OSU depth DT Malik Barrow tears ACL. Iowa wavin' at stuff. Five stages of Purdue loss. Grant Newsome got some unspecified good news from his doctor; hopefully he remains on path for a recovery. Trashin' on the NFL, sure I'll link that. Twice, even. Jim and Don, a love story. Wisconsin fans stunned at how nice BYU fans are.