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More Federal Charges in College Basketball, but What Does it Mean?

by Phil Roeder via Flickr
by Phil Roeder via Flickr

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors added more criminal counts to the indictment of Adidas, alleging that their executives conspired to give cash payments to the families of former basketball players. Three athletic apparel executives are alleged to have defrauded Kansas, Louisville, Miami and NC State.

According to the indictment, Jim Gatto and Merl Code were funneling money to the families of players to ensure that they would attend certain universities and with the expectation that the players would later sign endorsement deals with Adidas when they turned pro. The new indictment claims that Gatto and an unnamed Adidas consultant conspired to give $90,000 to the family of a former Kansas player last year and $20,000 to another player’s family.

These two executives, as well as Christian Dawkins, were charged by a grand jury with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. All three men were among the group arrested in September following the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball.

One of the most interesting stories that came out Tuesday was that an unidentified player, who committed to NC State in September of 2015, wasn’t happy with his decision and started to consider de-committing. Gato and an Adidas consultant reportedly agreed to pay $40,000 to an NC State coach, who then delivered it to the player’s family. The indictment goes on to say that the player went through with enrolling at NC State for the 2016 season and then entered the NBA Draft in June of 2017.

Can you guess who the player is? The only one-and-done player NC State has seen in a while, Dennis Smith Jr.

by Instagram: @desmith4
by Instagram: @desmith4

No one is surprised to see more allegations come from this FBI investigation, I guarantee you there will be even more. The question is, what does it matter and what is going to happen?

Are breaking NCAA rules a crime? Is giving a kid money actually a crime?

Well if it is, then it hasn’t been enforced before. Where the FBI stung these coaches and Adidas members was with “soliciting of bribes” and “fraud.”

Will these guys get jail time for doing what many in the same positions have done before? Probably.

Was this investigation a waste of time and money? I think so.

First off, we knew that these things were happening behind the scenes, no one is shocked by the findings. Secondly, the FBI may have been in control of the investigation and it can punish certain people who were clearly involved, but they can’t punish the NCAA as a whole.

The NCAA is going to punish the NCAA, and who knows how that is going to play out. Will it sabotage itself by handicapping one of its blue bloods in Kansas? Will they punish NC State more harshly than another school because more details were made available? I would guess the NCAA is going to try to help itself in any way possible, and that probably means uninspiring punishments that will not counteract the foul play that has hampered college athletics for decades.

Or I could be wrong, and this will end up being the “come to Jesus” moment where NCAA officials, collegiate athletes and apparel companies decide to change their actions, either for the sake of the game or to avoid future punishments.

We will just have to wait and see.

This article was originally published on @jdajani