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Sleaze is alive and well in the recruiting world

Aug 1, 2012, 7:20 PM EDT

John Calipari

If you’re into reading about the darker side of college basketball and college basketball recruiting, than Wednesday was a day in heaven for you.

First, it was Eric Prisbell from USA Today delving into the murky waters of the third-party recruiter. And while I’m not going to spoil the story, the part that is the most interesting centers around why is it so difficult to catch these guys.

It’s a thought that has crossed my mind many times. I don’t spend nearly as much time in recruiting circles as lot of the more well-known writers and I’ve heard numerous rumors about Recruit X getting Y amount of dollars from Coach Z. I’m sure there are guys out there that can detail you precise figures for all of the transactions that have occurred over the last decade. How much did OJ Mayo get from USC? Why is John Calipari cornering the market on the blue-chip recruit? What amount of money did it take for Adidas to keep Shabazz Muhammad in the family?

So how come none of this becomes public record? Why aren’t schools getting hammered with NCAA sanctions? From Prisbell’s story:

The problem for the NCAA, according to ESPN national recruiting analyst Dave Telep, is that the schemes are “too easy to get done and too difficult to prove. The people within the world of college and AAU basketball have a pretty good idea that that is out there. They also have no idea how to combat it.”

With the absence of a “paper trail,” Telep said, proving illicit relationships is difficult. More than two-thirds of elite AAU programs are established as non-profits. Some receive a few hundred thousand dollars in donations – in addition to shoe company contracts – according to a review of their tax records.

Policing is difficult because the tax forms often do not disclose specific names of donors. Humphrey, the NCAA official, characterized the non-profit foundation issue as “very high on our radar” and “difficult to track.” But she said AAU teams must cooperate fully during NCAA investigations if they wish to compete at NCAA-certified events, which give prospects the chance to perform in front of hundreds of college coaches.

“We are also very well aware of connections that some of those summer programs — via the agent, via the runner — may have with our own institutions,” Humphrey said. “So we are also connecting the dots in terms of what [college] coaching staff might have some questionable relationships with some of these individuals.”

Gary Parrish followed up Prisbell’s story with a column on how summer hoops hasn’t gotten any less sleazy in the six years since Sonny Vaccaro hung ’em up.

In fact, there’s an argument to be made that things are even worse. Nike and Adidas are just as strong as ever, Reebok is trying to make a comeback, and Under Armour is doing everything they can to work their way into the shoe game. They’re hosting tournaments and sponsoring teams. That’s why you see the Harrison twins, arguably the most sought after package deal in the history of the sport, rocking UA shoes and playing in UA events.

And it’s also why they have become one of the most intriguing recruitments in recent memory:

One of the interesting recruiting battles over the coming months will be for the services of twin brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison, and most expect it to come down to Kentucky and Maryland.

Why Kentucky and Maryland?

Because Kentucky is Kentucky and John Calipari is John Calipari, and those two entities have a way of getting things done. And because Maryland is the alma mater of Kevin Plank, who is the CEO of Under Armour, which is the company that outfits Maryland’s athletic department and this summer funded the Harrison twins, both of whom are consensus top-10 prospects.

Thank god that we force these kids to remain amateurs and student-athletes to prevent them from capitalizing off of their athletic ability.

Why pay the player when his handler can get rich?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

  1. brianjoates - Aug 1, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    UA can make the Harrson twins part of the faceof UA basketball, that will help steer them to College Park. With Kentucky and Nike they will just be members of two great basketball families.

    • tomtravis76 - Aug 2, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      How do the Twins not feel obligated to continue their relationship with Under Armour? UA has funded their careers for a few years now. And their Houston teammate is going to MD(Shaq).

      It seems a bit cloudy, but when these kids can basically grow with a company and have a laid out plan at 15-16 for their future, why would they not follow it?

      Its just like moving up the corporate ladder, start in highschool, college then onto pros. The college choice doesn’t really matter as long as they are outfitted by the company who has taken care of their AAU and HS team as well as coaches, family and friends. It is the companies choice to make those investments, and if the compay thinks they can sell merch by those kids wearing it , then why shouldn’t those wearing it get something in return?

      The NBA is going to just have to get a real minor league, because nobody is that stupid to think these kids aren’t pros in HS, college just turns a blind eye to the payouts until some go getter “journalist” wants to attempt to bring integrity back to college sports, then the system gets bucked.

  2. Mostdiggity - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:41 PM


    Usually you’re on-point but I take offense to your putting Calipari’s photo on the story. What’s wrong, with five million images on the internet you couldn’t find one of Tom Penders?

  3. imforbigblue - Aug 2, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    Yeah right cal has never not once been in trouble for recruiting but you use his picture. Why not use uconns coaches picture hes been in trouble more than once for it

    • PhthaloGreen - Aug 2, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      imforbigblue – see Rose, Derrik and Camby, Marcus

      • kingghidora - Aug 2, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        See the NCAA investigation that totally cleared Calipari and even went as far as to publish a letter detailing how Calipari had never been involved in any of those situations. In fact he turned in Camby. See a shrink for your obsession about stories that have been proven wrong completely. Or maybe you think other schools would have ignored the NCAA clearing Rose to play before the season only to have them change their mind after the season.

        Your opinion is based on a fairy tale with Calipari playing the part of the Big Bad Wolf and poor little you is playing Little Red Riding Hood. Little – Red??? Are you a Loserville fan or a Hoser fan? Hood? Again, Hoser or Loserville?

  4. muir6 - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Not a Kentucky fan but this is borderline slander, u need evidence before you make him your cover boy

    • PhthaloGreen - Aug 2, 2012 at 10:21 AM

      Not a Rob Dauster fan but this is borderline ignorance, u need evidence before you say he’s slanderous

  5. kingghidora - Aug 2, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    If I see one more of these Calipari bashing stories on BleacherDistort I will kill filter everything that comes from this slime pit. I am a writer for this place. I know the guidelines. POSITIVE stories are what they told me to write. Not half baked inuendo where “he must be guilty because he’s successful”. That sucks beyond belief and I’m sick of hearing it. There’s ZERO PROOF that the guy who’s face is on the story has done one single thing wrong. Dauster has written several anti-UK hit pieces this summer. It’s time for them to stop. He’s a muck raking, yellow journalist that wouldn’t know how to source a story if his life depended on it. Innuendo is not fact and this kind of crap will get you dragged into court to produce evidence of your allegations or pay up for the damage you are doing to a good man’s reputation. They teach you that in journalism school but clearly Dauster didn’t have the benefit of that institution. He’s nothing but a mud slinging loud mouth.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      No…he must be guilty because he is a greaseball Mafia Don.

  6. kingghidora - Aug 2, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    So this is really an NBC story. What a shock that is. Never mind the facts just throw mud and hope it sticks. No wonder your network is going to go bankrupt soon. You’re a bunch of low life scum buckets. I don’t have any proof that you suck scum but hey who needs proof when innuendo will do? I have more proof than you do, that’s for sure.

    Just so you know I refuse to watch your network at least 99% of the time and it’s about to get even worse. I’m going to turn off the Olympics, which BTW you also butcher with your delayed coverage, and watch re-runs of Gunsmoke instead. At least what I see is honest there. You people have promoted cigarettes and booze since you started and you still do it. Every character on your network is a drunkard and you still work those coffin nails into your product placement techniques.

    And just to prove I can play on your level when are you going to stop getting pregnant girls hooked on crack? You, “…have a way of getting things done.” And we all know what that means. You’re molesting pre-schoolers and giving crystal meth to babies. Yeah. We know how you “get things done”. And how many grandmothers have you murdered this year? Sure I don’t have the proof but I have the innuendo. And clearly that’s enough. You set the standards. I’m just playing by them.

  7. kingghidora - Aug 2, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Wow I just heard NBC was giving meth to babies! It must be true. I read it on the net. And they have been molesting pre-school boys. Wow what a scandal!

  8. kingghidora - Aug 2, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    I heard that Rob Dauster guy had his wall covered with slave babies there for his evil actions. It’s amazing what you hear on the net!

  9. imforbigblue - Aug 2, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Let’s see Camby took money from a agent and coach Cal had ZERO to do with that and turned him in. Rose was cleared by the NCAA to play and he was still in high school when he had someone take his sat for him so how in the hell was that coach Cals fault? Not one time in his career has he ever been in trouble with the NCAA you hating morons.

    • hondo30 - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:26 PM

      Funny he went to World wide wes home city to have the test taken. Coincidence?

      • kingghidora - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:12 PM

        Do you have any “proof” (that’s something that shows without doubt that something happened – I know it’s foreign to you but try to keep up) Cal sent “he” to World Wide Wes? Or are you just throwing mud and hoping it sticks? No need to answer. I can cast aspersions with the best of them. We know it was YOU that took that test for Rose and now you’re just trying to cover it up by blaming Wes. Shame on you. Why else would you make claims about other people except to detract from your own sins. The guilty dog barks first you know. Everyone knows that. So you’re it, you guilty dog.

  10. aboveboard1 - Aug 2, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Journalist with no story, use sleazy headlines to get peoples attention, to get more reads so they can sleazily justify their sleazy ad charges to their advertizes. Now who is the true sleaze ball in this rag of a sleazy story? I have known for some time that NBC news is tabloid journalism at best, now I can say the same for NBC sports.

  11. hondo30 - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Calamari is the perfect picture to use..Get over it uk fans..he is the sleaziest coach in sports. the only coach to have 2 vacated seasons…World wide wes at his side, Gives rapper drake a championship ring, Jayz in the locker room. Lebron James calls marcus teague to pull him in…it never ends with this guy. ROse and bledsoe academic cover ups..keep saying he had nothing to do with it…the kool aid must be pretty good HAHA

    • kingghidora - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:20 PM

      I’m guessing you never gave anyone a present to grease the wheels of business. No ink pens, calendars, schedules, nothing. And there was only one Hondo and you ain’t him.

      BTW that organization known as the “NCAA” said Cal had nothing to do with it. You may have heard of them. They’re the ones that let UCLA steal 10 championships. They’re the ones that gave Ohio St. a free ride when everyone knew they violated the rules. They let Cam Newton play despite the fact his dad shopped him around. They let Corey Maggette play for Duke and never vacated a single game there. They let Indiana get away with attacking UK players after that game in Bloomington (yes I have the video). They ruled Enes Kanter eligible until he transferred to UK. And of course THEY ruled Rose was eligible to play then changed their mind AFTER the season. But they did give Cal a completely clean slate when clearly they have no use for UK or Cal. But those pesky facts don’t affect your jealousy in any way. And if you think Cal has peaked just wait. They could win the title again this coming year and they almost certainly will the next year. And there ain’t one thing you can do about it except bellyache and how far has that gotten you so far?

      • draindamain - Aug 3, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        Is there anyway you could send me the video. I’d love to see it.

      • dexterismyhero - Aug 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM

        They let Indiana get away with attacking UK players after that game in Bloomington (yes I have the video).

        Really? I would have thought that would have been all over the net by now since it happened what, almost 9 months ago?

  12. hondo30 - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Hey Cal give Drake a ring. he’s such a loyal fan of what, 3 years? haha he wasn’t a fan until cal came. way to get in these young kids head

  13. stlouis1baseball - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    “They let Indiana get away with attacking UK players after that game in Bloomington (yes I have the video).”
    Wow. You have lost what little credibility you still had.

  14. freetruthnow - Aug 17, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Funny how the wife is the last to know when a husband is cheating, even though he was that way when she married him. Kentucky fans are too funny, keep telling yourselves everything is okay. When Cal gets caught and the NCAA comes down on the program it will be amusing to watch the most arrogant fans in college basketball fall all over each other making excuses.

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