| NEWS Basketball corruption could upstage SEC Media Days - AL.com


Bama News

Thread Starter

Mark Gottfried didn’t know.

Had no idea.

Not one clue.

His assistant coach at N.C. State went rogue, and landed a recruit with cash, and Gottfried was just the unassuming head coach of the N.C. State basketball team. That’s what he told his new employer anyway before being hired at Cal State-Northridge. They believed him.

And even if Gottfried knew about the illegal recruitment of Dennis Smith back at N.C. State, then there wasn’t any solid proof of it. No one could pin anything on him.

Earlier this week, the NCAA said it didn’t care about his plausible deniability, and charged Gottfried with “violation of head coach responsibilities” in a notice of allegations to N.C. State that claims both Gottfriend and the N.C. State athletic department failed to properly monitor the basketball team back in 2015. N.C. State made the official notice of allegations public on Wednesday. They stem from the 2018 federal corruption case that concerned several other universities, including Auburn.

More notices of allegations likely are coming, and Auburn should be nervous. The NCAA made one thing perfectly clear this week. It is coming after the head coaches.

Coach Bruce Pearl was in a similar position to Gottfried after the corruption case that found former Auburn coach Chuck Person guilty of accepting bribes to steer Auburn’s players to a financial advisor once they turned pro. Pearl didn’t know.

No one at Auburn knew anything.

In the case of Gottfried and N.C. State, not knowing didn’t mean they were innocent in the eyes of the NCAA. It meant they were guilty of not knowing.

The NCAA promised it would get tough on enforcement following the Department of Justice’s federal corruption case. If so, this could be a long summer for some high-profile head coaches.

In the grand scheme of NCAA basketball, Gottfried had turned into a pretty small fish. It feels like the NCAA is out to land some bigger prizes before this summer is over. Person pled guilty back in March, but his sentencing recently was pushed back to July 17.

That’s right in the middle of SEC Media Days. Is basketball corruption going to overshadow everything at the SEC’s marquee football event?

Let’s be clear. Pearl had nothing to do with Person’s crooked schemes. He was innocent in the eyes of the federal government.

But here’s what administrators, school presidents and armchair attorneys need to understand. The NCAA isn’t a court of law. They don’t need any more evidence than what the FBI and Department of Justice already have uncovered to bust shady coaches for shady behavior.

If they’re going to tag Gottfried for unknowingly running a corrupt program, then Pearl might be in trouble. What’s more contemptible: an assistant coach who bribes players for their services, or an assistant coach who uses his players to line his own pockets? That shouldn’t be a difficult question to answer.

Person pled guilty to accepting over $90,000 in bribes from a financial advisor who was an FBI informant. The informant leveraged a relationship with a celebrity tailor, Rashan Michel of Fairfield, Alabama, to gain access to Person. At the time, Pearl called it “unacceptable.” He was right about that, but Michel was no stranger to Auburn athletics before the scandal.

Gottfried wasn’t fired by N.C. State in 2017 for anything other than wins and losses. He went 31-24 over his final two seasons. When the axe fell, here’s what he said: “Everything that happens is my responsibility. I get it. Just like if you beat Villanova in the NCAA tournament, or you go to the Sweet 16, you get a lot of praise a lot of times as a coach. Other times you take the hits. That’s part of what we do.”

If an assistant coach bribes a player with cash, then doesn’t that, too, fall under the responsibility of the head coach?

Gottfried’s former assistant at N.C. State, Orlando Early, paid a middleman for Dennis Smith’s recruiting commitment in 2015. The NCAA wasn’t concerned with the details of who knew what, or the perceived innocence of Early’s boss. The NCAA simply cared about one thing. Gottfried should have known about it.

Now the former Alabama basketball player, who coached the Crimson Tide from 1998 to 2009, faces a Level I violation by the NCAA’s investigators. It’s up to the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to determine Gottfried’s punishment. He could miss significant amounts of next season, or worse if Cal State-Northridge keeps him employed.

The NCAA once banned Pearl from coaching for five years for lying to investigators. Now they might not even care if he was telling the truth about Person.

"I don't think anybody else knew,” former Auburn president Steven Leath said in 2017 after Person was arrested. “I don't think there's any indication at Auburn that anybody else knew about this."

It appears that’s all the NCAA cares about now.


Ivory Club
Considering Goodman was not around Gottfried and hasn't covered him as a writer I see no reason to believe Goodman has any clue what Mike knew or did not know.

And, on those same lines, knowing Mark as I do I have no reason to believe he did not know what was going on. (And yes, this is a situation to where I look at his actions off the court and those led me to not believe anything he says in regard to the sport itself, or these accusations.)


Crimson Tide Club
SEC Media Days will be about football, not basketball. Which moron reporter will be the first to ask a basketball question to a football coach? Which will ask a question about what went on in the ACC to an SEC football coach? There will be no upstaging.


Ivory Club
Which moron reporter will be the first to ask a basketball question to a football coach?
You did see who wrote the article, right? Therein may be your answer. Remember, this is the same guy that told us a few weeks ago that Bama fans would rather have Dabo than Saban. And, the same guy that said the southeast was ruining college football. And, the same guy that said Bama was better without Sexton. And of course, one of my favorites when he told Bama fans that we should be worried about Tua based on A-day.

Here's your moron, OP. Joseph Goodman.
Top Bottom