Even Arizona’s Sean Miller, who missed a game in February 2018 after ESPN reported the existence of a tape on which he and Dawkins discussed a $100,000 payment to recruit Deandre Ayton, still has his job. (And, as of today, the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.) Was it possible that college basketball, after seeing its seamy side brought to light, would simply go on as before?
The Wade tapes are proof that the Feds aren’t done, that business-as-usual might, in the end, prove to be risky business. It’s hard to believe LSU would allow Wade to keep coaching after this. Said SEC commissioner Greg Sankey: “The information in recent reports is very disturbing, if true.” And here, we say again, is the difference between the FBI and the NCAA’s toothless investigator; the former has the power to tap phones and issue subpoenas, and that power is why this case still has legs.
In 2003, Georgia faced a similar issue at roughly the same time. Former Bulldog Tony Cole told ESPN he received money – and a TV – from Georgia coaches. The day after the regular season ended, the school removed its team, then ranked in the Top 25, from the SEC and NCAA tournaments. Coach Jim Harrick would be gone by month’s end. (Update: Harrick is Gottfried’s assistant at Northridge.)
The Georgia team, led by Jarvis and Jonas Hayes, staged an impromptu protest on president Michael Adams’ front lawn, and it was a shame that one of the better teams in school annals saw its season end with a road victory on a Sunday at South Carolina. Still, Georgia did the right thing. A self-respecting university – which you’d like to think all universities would be, but you never know – cannot in good conscience allow a tainted team to represent it.
LSU has a strong team that has had an outstanding season, but that team and its season are now, as they say in law school, fruits of a poisonous tree. The Tigers can’t be allowed to keep playing beyond Saturday, and there’s a good chance that anything they win by beating Vandy will soon be vacated. LSU trusted Wade to resurrect a program. He might have built a house of cards.