The entire college basketball world is in a holding pattern as some of its most successful coaches and programs are being investigated for fraud and corruption by the FBI.
Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel and Pat Forde dropped a bombshell Friday morning, detailing several top players who took money from ASM, a high-profile sports management agency that was raided by the FBI last fall.
So far, the investigation has been contained to college athletics and has focused on the relationship between players and agents and shoe companies.
But ESPN’s Jay Bilas says college football is just as dirty.
“We’ve had this for a long, long time and if people don’t think this is going on in football right now they’re either painfully naive or willfully blind,” Bilas said on The Paul Finebaum Show. “I don’t know any reasonable person that would sit here and tell you that basketball is corrupt but football is pure as the driven snow, selling Girl Scout cookies and helping little old ladies across the street.”
Bilas might have a point. Several top football programs have been cited for recruiting and academic violations in recent memory (USC, Ole Miss and North Carolina, to name a few) but that’s somewhat beside the point. The investigation at hand involves whether college basketball programs broke the law — not whether football programs broke NCAA rules.
Former Alabama quarterback and current SEC Network analyst Greg McElroy relayed a similar sentiment regarding Bilas’ comments.
I find it comical how quickly the basketball analysts go out of their way to mention. “oh well, this goes on in football, too”
Football isn’t perfect, but the focus of the FBI investigation and today’s Yahoo story is on COLLEGE BASKETBALL. Don’t try to deflect. https://t.co/4ZczE3ZTgT
— Greg McElroy (@GregMcElroy) February 23, 2018
In Bilas’ defense, he’s long been a strong and outspoken proponent of paying college players in various sports. It’s possible he used football as an example to show the problem was more widespread than just the top collegiate basketball programs.
“I don’t consider this to be a bad story in college basketball,” Bilas added. “It’s a story of college sports period. This is not an issue of basketball, it’s an issue of college sports.”
You can listen to the full interview here.