black adidas shoes Brey ‘confident’ Notre Dame is clean
SOUTH BEND, Ind. As Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey led his team’s first official practice of the season Monday afternoon, he did so secure in his belief his program has played by the rules.
Last week’s announcement of a federal investigation into fraud and corruption in recruiting sent a shock wave through the major college basketball landscape. So far, the fallout includes the indictment of 10 men and the effective firing of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino.
“I’m pretty darn confident in how we do business,” he said. “You never know completely, there’s no question about it. I think I pride myself in really being plugged in to everything that goes on. I’ve always been very confident (in) our philosophy, how we’ve run it, the kind of kids that are attracted to us. The clientele that’s attracted to this place and the mission of this school and the overall package kind of makes for a young man that’s getting the big picture of the package of just rooms, books, board and tuition and associated fees. That’s what it says in the rule book.”
Assistant coaches at Arizona, Oklahoma State, Southern California and Auburn have been charged with various crimes. An executive for sportswear and equipment company Adidas is included in the indictments. Adidas was Notre Dame’s athletic equipment provider until summer 2014 when the school signed a contract with Under Armour.
“I don’t know if we can get any lower, the situation we’re in now,” Brey said. “We’ve had kind of this underworld as part of the fabric for a long, long time a long, long time. But now that it’s a criminal investigation this is all new territory.
“What I’ve tried to do starting yesterday, and I even told my staff today, is try not to be distracted by this so I can coach my team. Because every day people want to talk about that. I don’t really have much more to comment on it other than what I’ve just said and to say it’s kind of a criminal investigation and you don’t know what’s up and what’s down.”
Upon learning of the investigation, Brey said he compiled a list of all the prep prospects he has recruited, noting their high school, AAU travel team and that team’s shoe company affiliation. He pointed out some of his eventual signees didn’t play for teams with enough cachet to be outfitted by one of the three major shoe companies (Adidas, Under Armour and Nike).
“We’ve had a kind of template here for 17, 18 years how we run things. I feel very, very good about it,” Brey said. “There’s a lot of moving pieces in recruiting and everything. I think I know just about everything that goes on, but there may be things I don’t know. But I’m confident in how we’ve run it here and the way we’ve done it.”
In the wake of the investigation, Brey said he wonders whether shoe companies will begin to back away from their involvement in the sponsorships of teams and tournaments across the country for elite high school prospects.
“There’s going to be a lot more going on than games this season,” he said. ” We can really maybe kind of fix some things now with how it’s going to be stirred up by the feds.”