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Ten men including four assistant coaches and a high ranking official at Adidas became the first to be arrested after a historic investigation into how bribery affects college hoops.

Joon H. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the investigation shows the “dark underbelly of college basketball.” Those caught in the crossfire are rushing to limit the damage before the NCAA hammer drops.

Legendary Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who is reportedly under investigation for his role in the corruption case, has been fired along with his athletics director.

The four assistant coaches charged Lamont Evans (Oklahoma State), Chuck Person (Auburn),
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Emanuel Richardson (Arizona) and Tony Bland (Southern California) have been either fired or suspended.

The entire sport is still shaking, and aftershocks are on the way.

Just wait until people start flipping to save themselves.

It makes you wonder. How might this affect what was shaping up to be this area’s most anticipated basketball season in recent memory?

First year Illini coach Brad Underwood has energized his new team and fan base. I wouldn’t be surprised if Edwardsville native Mark Smith plays himself into the conversation for Big Ten freshman of the year.

First year Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin and the Porter brothers have sparked a basketball renaissance in CoMo.

Second year SLU coach Travis Ford, star freshman Jordan Goodwin and an influx of newly eligible transfers brought the buzz back to the Billikens until some very concerning news covered the campus in eggshells.

Four of Ford’s players are at the center of a sexual assault allegation that has resulted in closed practices and complete silence from the university’s athletics department. Translation: Ford is one of the few coaches in the country who has more to worry about than the biggest headline in his sport. (And SLU should be thankful such a potentially damaging story has been largely overlooked nationally, due to the focus on the FBI probe.)

So far Underwood appears to be the closest of the area coaches to the bribery fallout.

Underwood and Evans both worked as assistants under Frank Martin. Underwood then hired Evans as an assistant coach while he was the head coach at Oklahoma State during the 2016 17 season. Underwood released a statement this week that said he was “surprised” by Evans’ arrest on charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation of bribes,
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and wire fraud. Court documents allege that Evans took at least $22,000 in bribe money to direct players to financial advisers. The investigation that trapped Evans started before Underwood hired him and ran through this month.

This Underwood quote has soured since:

“I take tremendous comfort with Lamont in terms of who he is and what he stands for,” Underwood said when he hired Evans. “His ability to work and interact with our players is second to none. He has established recruiting ties all over the country, and I consider him one of the top recruiters in the country. There’s no doubt he’ll benefit our program and our student athletes for years to come.”

That’s the problem with bold proclamations of sound ethics in this sport.

Too often they wind up looking bad.

At this point no fan base should feel completely safe. It is impossible to predict what will turn up as the FBI and NCAA join forces. The NCAA can’t operate with the threat of jail time. The feds can.

“Cataclysmic” was the word one recruiting insider said during a discussion this week.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Underwood is accused of nothing at the moment. Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman issued a vote of confidence in his hire during a radio appearance Friday, telling a Champaign station (WSJK ESPN) that he is “very confident in what we have.”

If you play by the rules,
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the future has never looked brighter.

Coaches with clean reputations are hearing from prospects who are looking for a safe place to land. Some coaches’ nightmare fuel has turned into dream scenarios for a few others. But you better be squeaky clean before you step up on your soapbox, because the tentacles of this could grow deep and wide.

Mizzou’s Martin made some bold statements Friday.

“That won’t be a problem in my program,” he said, responding to a question about players being paid.

His critics immediately attacked, pointing once again to his hiring of the Porter brother’s father to an assistant coaching role. There’s no NCAA rule against it. It’s not the first time it’s been done. But it rubs many the wrong way.

This will be the state of things for the foreseeable future. Speculation will run rampant. Rumors will fly.
adidas original hoodie anticipated hoops season starts on edge