Early this morning, news broke that assistant coaches at Arizona and USC (among others) were arrested on corruption charges. What does this mean for the Pac-12 and UCLA Basketball?
Two Pac-12 Basketball coaches (among four total) have been arrested and charged with fraud and corruption by the FBI. This stems from an investigation that began in 2015 that traced the flow of money from a certain apparel company to high school coaches, student-athletes and their families, as well as payments that were accepted by these coaches from agents.
Per LATimes.com, The FBI stated that, “the probe has revealed numerous instances of bribes paid by athlete advisors, including financial advisors and associate basketball coaches, to assistant and associate basketball coaches to exert influence over student athletes.”
Two of those assistant coaches reside in the Pac-12. USC’s Tony Bland and Arizona’s Emanuel Richardson were arrested this morning in connection with the investigation. Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans and Auburn’s Chuck Person were also arrested.
The company that was named in the funneling of money to high school athletes is former UCLA apparel provider, Adidas.
Why is this important to UCLA? Two reasons (1) with the main focus of this investigation is the giving of improper benefits to recruits, the fear is that UCLA could be involved due to their close (and now former) relationship with Adidas (so far, no one associated with UCLA has been named) and (2) if USC and Arizona are hit with sanctions or told that certain recruits will be ineligible this season, that changes the landscape of the Pac-12.
The second point is huge because USC and Arizona will not just suffer this season. If (and most likely when) wrong doing has been identified, both programs could suffer from this for many seasons.
This fallout from this news is just beginning. Go Joe Bruin will continue to cover this situation and its effects on Pac-12 and UCLA Basketball as more information is released.