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The Tentacle


September 28, 2017

Follow the Money

Harry M. Covert

What a time to be in the sports writing business. Of course, pro-footballers are mired in a mess not seen before. Now, apparently it’s college basketball’s turn.

 

There was a time in the early 1950s when a point-shaving gambling scandal struck collegiate basketball. Long Island University’s program was destroyed.

 

Today the game has reached fantastic success beyond what Mr. James Naismith ever dreamed.

 

This week, four assistant coaches and some business managers have been caught up in a money scandal brought to light by a federal attorney in New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

 

As of Wednesday, Louisville basketball coach may have been nabbed, too, losing his job while the NCAA has been probing the program.

 

The bottom line seems that lots of cash payoffs have been given to would-be high school athletes and recruiters, and a sporting goods company.

 

This is heartbreaking to sports fans at all levels. The rapscallions are smearing the game which has meant so much to thousands of coaches and young athletes.

 

One of the allegations that’s surfaced is $100,000 to a high school basketballer and his family if he commits to a certain university. That’s only among the early charges.

 

The payoffs by well-known sports clothing companies have put aside previous conduct by over-zealous alumni groups. It is no shock that cash in the form of tax deductible gifts, advertising and other forms of emoluments pay for the programs.

 

At this point of the criminal investigation no evidence has been uncovered as to any gambling and point-shaving.

 

All eyes of the sporting world will be entranced on all college sports programs. It’s heartbreaking.

 

During my journalism career I’ve covered and known many terrific coaches and administrators, who gave their lives and careers to scholastic and collegiate athletics.

 

The game has achieved enormous success. It is exciting. I think of great basketball and football figures who were exceptional teachers, coaches, athletic directors.

 

The list is incredible, and what they contributed won’t be hurt by the latest revelations. Some of the names from sports history may be known. My special list includes Lefty Driesell, Bill Chambers, Julie Conn, Joe Agee, Glenn Russell, John Wooden, Hal Grau, Lou Holtz, Les Hooker, Morgan Wootten, Charlie Woolum and Clair Bee.

 

I’ve purposely not mentioned their schools. These coaches are such quality people they stand alone as true and unadulterated leaders. I could list more, but these rank high.

 

Most assuredly the success of basketball has brought about incredible financial rewards and temptations for more. At the same time the latest news is likely to ensnare others. I’m holding my breath.

 

hmcovert@gmail.com

 



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