North Dakota State made a southwestern men’s basketball swing in mid-December, with the first game at the University of Arizona. Behind Deandre Ayton’s 25 points, the Wildcats won easily. Last weekend, Arizona head coach Sean Miller did not coach his team’s game, benched by his university after allegations of a wiretap of him discussing a $100,000 payment to secure the signing of Ayton. When the FBI is involved, you know it’s probably serious stuff. And that’s certainly not all. It’s a complex apparent scheme that is implicating the top programs in the country. Perhaps the poster child is Rick Pitino, who left Louisville in disgrace to the point it had its national championship stripped.
Enough, says Dave Richman.
The NDSU head coach said something “catastrophically” needs to be done to preserve the integrity of the game. Richman made it clear he has never seen any money exchanged hands or heard of any wiretapping of any kind. But the word is out, also. Something is going on.
“Being around the profession, you hear a lot of those things,” Richman said. “And those things to me, I’ve heard the word disgusting. They’re hurtful and bad for our profession. We feel like as much as possible we’re playing by the rules and when you play by the rules and someone is getting a leg up by cheating or doing whatever, it’s frustrating. It’s very frustrating.”
Richman didn’t say it, but that could be taken as a direct shot at Arizona. Ayton, it should be noted, has not been implicated but the point being the program is being targeted so who knows what else is going on. The accusations it should be noted seem to be confined to the big programs in the country, and of course the fact they have huge funding is the reason. NDSU? It took a decade to raise the necessary funds for its arena.
“Some of those dollar figures are just crazy to me,” Richman said. “But like I heard somebody say, if that’s actually happening — again it’s complete speculation — but if they’re outbidding somebody for them … there is an epedemic in college basketball that needs to be fixed.”
Will change happen?
“I hope something happens,” he said. “For me to believe, I don’t know. I’ve hoped in the past and nothing has really changed. I think some of the people that have turned a blind eye clearly knew something was going on but character and integrity are put on the back burner because of dollars and cents.”