I do not know Will Wade very well. I met him once or twice but never developed a real friendship with the embattled LSU basketball coach when he was UTC's head coach. Wade has been caught up in the NCAA hoops scandal that first came out a year and a half ago. Basketball coaches, sports agents, and shoe companies have been investigated for violating NCAA rules regarding payments to big-time recruits. Wade has been suspended by LSU indefinitely because the FBI wiretapped him discussing offers made to current point guard Javonte Smart.
The expletive laced conversation between Wade and convicted middle man Christian Dawkins led to the suspension of Wade and has cast a huge shadow over what has been so far, a great season for the Bengal Tigers.
In November of 2017, Louisville fired coach Rick Pitino for his involvement in the scandal and since that time, heads have rolled in college hoops and several shoe companies as well. It's not going to stop anytime soon.
The FBI for some reason has been able to do what the NCAA has been unable or unwilling to do and that's to catch cheaters red-handed. Cheating has gone on in college sports for decades. The rich get richer while the mid-major and smaller schools are forced to fend for themselves. I have heard stories of assistant coaches dealing with a top recruit's handler or AAU coach to get them signed to play. Right now, a slap on the wrist or probation handed down by the NCAA has not been a deterrent to programs that continue to cheat. For some reason, FBI involvement and the threat of serving time in prison may be what's needed.
The FBI has obviously been very busy over the past few months. In addition to wiretapping coaches and investigating college basketball, the FBI has also discovered a scandal involving wealthy people paying obscene amounts of money for getting their children into elite schools like Harvard, Georgetown and Southern Cal. Oh yes, athletics has also been involved as coaches and athletic directors have been fired for accepting money to add students to scholarships they would otherwise not be eligible to receive. It is obviously okay because it's a " prestige " thing. Using your wealth for power and entitlement seems to be a recurring national problem and not only in sports.
Folks have been calling for college sports to clean up its act for many years and while being investigated by the FBI may sound like a scary thing, it may be what the NCAA needs. It's unfortunate that Will Wade and others stooped to this disgusting level of cheating. If Wade is indeed convicted, his promising college basketball coaching career is over. Whoever said that "Money is the root of all evil," was most definitely correct.
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Randy Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org