Men's BasketballSports

Altman on schools under FBI investigation: “I hope that it’s all settled in their favor”

Oregon head coach Dana Altman doesn’t want to rush to conclusions when talking about the FBI’s investigation into NCAA basketball recruiting that has so far led to 10 arrests, numerous subpoenas issued and the suspension of several players and coaches.

The investigation hit close to home for Altman and Oregon since fellow Pac-12 teams USC and Arizona were two of the schools implicated in the national scandal. Altman stated on Friday, his first media appearance since April, that he has the utmost respect for both programs and hopes that everything is “settled in their favor.”

“I will say, Arizona has got great fans, great tradition, a great basketball coach,” Altman said. “USC has really come along and Andy [Enfield] is a good guy. They’re both in our conference, and I don’t want to talk about other programs but I have a lot of respect for both coaches and both coaching staffs. I hope that it’s all settled in their favor when all the details come out.”

Details are still emerging about the investigation, but the basis of the allegations state that college coaches received money from athletic apparel brands, and in turn, used that money to pay recruits’ families to steer them towards specific schools that have contracts with those specific brands. The theory is that these recruits, many of whom had NBA potential, would sign with said brand when they make it to the pros. 

Arizona got caught in the mix when it was alleged that assistant coach Emmanuel Richardson accepted bribes with the hope of using it to steer a recruit to Arizona. A similar charge is brought against Anthony Bland, an assistant coach at USC.

“From the outside, it’s something that’s a little disappointing for all of us,” Altman said. “Without having a lot of knowledge about the particulars, it looks likes it’s kind of broken down into two things: coaches and payments, which is not good for our game.”

Altman also indicated that he never suspected anything illegal was happening when he was recruiting against USC and Arizona.

“We’ve recruited against those teams,” Altman said. “You never feel like there’s anything — they’ve got great programs. Sitting at USC, you’re in L.A., and sitting in Arizona, you’ve got the traditions. So, as far as I know, they run great programs.”

The three-year investigation was made public on Sept. 26, and so far six schools, including USC and Arizona, have been implicated. The investigation is ongoing and many expect that it’s far from over. Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman tweeted Friday morning that he hears “more indictments are coming.”

This is not entirely surprising given that on Sept. 27, the FBI subpoenaed employees of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, a grassroots league that attempts to organize the chaotic world of AAU basketball. When the investigation went public, only Adidas was implicated. But one of the Adidas employees who was arrested, Merl Code, formerly worked at Nike. Three of the originally named programs, including USC and Arizona, are schools with Nike contracts.

Follow Gus Morris on Twitter @JustGusMorris

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Gus Morris

Gus Morris

Gus Morris covers Oregon football, basketball and women's golf for the Emerald. Caffeine addict. Bay Area sports. I know words, I have the best words.