On Tuesday, a bombshell was dropped on collegiate athletics as a whole. There were 10 charges as part of a corruption probe in college basketball. USC’s Tony Bland and Emanuel “Book” Richardson from the powerhouse Arizona were the only PAC-12 coaches arrested thus far. Richardson was considered one of college basketball’s elite recruiters. The bribes were done to funnel potential NBA prospects to specific athlete management companies to represent them once they went pro as agents. Wednesday brought more groundbreaking news with Rick Pitino being fired. He was a beneficiary of an Adidas executive paying a player $100,000 to commit to the program. The only player to be named thus far was Brian Bowen who had Oregon in his final schools before abruptly committing to the Louisville Cardinal. Talk about dodging a bullet. The buck doesn’t stop with Adidas being directly involved. Nike was later subpoenaed on behalf of their EYBL. For context that is the Elite Youth Basketball League that involves blue-chip high school basketball recruits nationwide. While this doesn’t guarantee any wrongdoing by the company, it does open the possibility of this scandal snowballing fast.
Two of the three 2018 USC commits had an Oregon offer and one member of their 2017 class also had an offer from Oregon. We all know of the deep lineage of Arizona’s program in addition to the yearly waves they make in recruiting. Each of Arizona’s 2017 recruits with the exception of one was offered by Oregon. With Andy Enfield and Sean Miller having similar taste to Dana Altman in recruiting, this could be extremely advantageous for the Ducks in the future.
The PAC-12 South is set to be a battle for the ages prior to this season. The two blue bloods, UCLA and Arizona, have reloaded with another elite recruiting class to replace the talent that left. USC has a great group returning and five-star Duke transfer Derryck Thornton will essentially be part of their 2017 class after sitting out last year. Add in Oregon’s talented roster and you have a horse’s race of four thoroughbreds.
All of the dominoes haven’t fallen yet as the news just broke, but with FBI involved there’s little doubt the NCAA will come down hard on the two programs involved. I’d imagine we won’t get a ruling this year, but most schools elect the route of self-imposed postseason bans as a show of good fortune for lesser punishment. In the meantime, let’s hope the Ducks aren’t mentioned at any point in this investigation.