Yahoo Sports dropped another bombshell on the college basketball community on Friday morning, releasing a detailed look into the FBI’s investigation of corruption in the sport.
News about the probe, which has been a years-long effort and was publicly announced a few months ago with the arrest of a handful of coaches, had been quiet until now. Former South Carolina assistant Lamont Evans, who had left for Oklahoma State, was among those charged with bribery in the initial wave of action.
Now, more names in connection to the Gamecocks have surfaced: Former guard PJ Dozier is alleged to have taken $6,115 while at South Carolina, while former Louisville recruit and current South Carolina transfer Brian Bowen is listed as having received $7,000 in benefits.
So, what’s the deal with Dozier?
First, it’s important to note that the schools themselves are not being implicated in this report — it’s about the college basketball recruiting apparatus, with agents shuttling money around to buy players/clients. What South Carolina should be concerned about, then, is the timing of Dozier’s payments: If he was receiving money from agents during the Gamecocks’ Final Four run, he’d be retroactively ruled ineligible by the NCAA and that season is vacated. (Another factor would be how much South Carolina’s coaching staff knew, because if they deliberately played an ineligible player, that season would certainly come off the books.) If this activity occurred in the offseason and helped him make the early leap to the NBA, well, that’s a different matter. We just don’t know enough about Dozier’s individual situation right now.
How about Bowen?
At this point, it seems unlikely that Bowen ever plays a minute for the Gamecocks. Louisville suspended him indefinitely when initial news of the investigation broke, although Bowen has maintained that his family (specifically, his father) took the money without his knowledge. As the Cardinals were already in boiling hot water with coach Rick Pitino’s involvement, they parted ways with Bowen, which cleared the path for him to come to South Carolina. He’s been sitting out this season per the usual NCAA transfer rules, but coach Frank Martin and others seemed confident that his eligibility would be restored for 2018-19. Bowen’s connection to this case shouldn’t bring anything down upon the Gamecocks, given that it all occurred while he was being recruited to Louisville, but his future here is murky.
Is there any schadenfreude to be had here, at least?
If this has ruined your morning, know that Gamecock fans aren’t alone: Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame was also named in this report, along with multiple high-profile players from the Tobacco Road schools and other blue bloods like Kentucky and Kansas. The scope of this investigation is vast and includes criminal complaints, and depending on what the NCAA does with this information, it could erase quite a few pages from the sport’s record books. But my guess is that we’ll have to wait quite a while for it all to come together, given how lengthy and laborious the process has been so for.
In closing: Just pay the players.