The college basketball world received a huge blow Tuesday morning when the FBI announced it was investigating illicit recruiting activities by four coaches at major power conferences. If you’re a Mississippi State Basketball fan, it should grab your attention because much of the investigation is centered around Adidas, the clothing apparel provider for Mississippi State.
If you’re not the biggest college basketball fan, or simply forgot how things work because the Bulldogs have been not good at Men’s basketball for a number of years, you might have forgotten the understood way in which college basketball recruiting works. Apparel companies and agents know high profile basketball prospects will end up leaving college after their freshman season or not long after that. Since they know that, they will often provide coaches at college programs extra incentives to give to the player and for the coach to keep for themselves to make sure the player signs with a certain shoe company and agent when they become pros.
Today we learned the FBI not only frowns on such activity, they actually want to throw people in jail who commit such acts. Now, the four coaches mentioned are all at other schools (some aren’t even Adidas schools) besides Mississippi State. So should Bulldog fans be concerned?
The fact that the Bulldogs landed some big recruiting targets after Ben Holwand’s arrival isn’t surprising. Howland has a reputation for putting players in the NBA, so it would make sense players want to play for him.
But this is the awkward time where a fan base has to ask itself is everyone else cheating but my school doesn’t? There has never been any recruiting smoke coming from the program since Ben Howland took over as head coach. So I want to believe the Bulldogs do everything on the up-and-up and shouldn’t have to worry about Mississippi State being caught up in all of this.
But I also know how basketball recruiting works. If I want to assume the Bulldogs can get high profile recruits to sign with them simply on the promise of a potential future pro career while other schools can offer the same thing, I feel would be naive.
Let me be 100% clear. I am not accusing any Mississippi State coaches of doing anything illicit. But in a situation like this, I think it is wiser for people to expect the worst and hope for the best. And that’s what I am trying to do with this FBI investigation, which they have said is ongoing.
If you’re wondering why the FBI doesn’t investigate football recruiting, it has a lot to do with the fact football players and their families are usually the only ones receiving extra benefits, though there are instances where it has happened. And let’s be very honest, who is to say the FBI hasn’t expanded it to college football? They very well could have, and we just don’t yet know it. Unlike NCAA investigations, we won’t know anything has happened until the FBI tells us it has.
I know there are some Mississippi State fans who are reading this and wondering why I am even bringing it up. The answer is simple.
We all just watched for the past 20 plus months as the Ole Miss football program went through an NCAA investigatory process and everyone who covered the program all screamed there was nothing to see. I vowed if there was ever anything that should at least concern Bulldog fans, then I would be as honest with myself as possible and pass that honesty on to our readers.
I also tend to listen to a blogger at the Missouri SB Nation site, www.rockmnation.com, Sam Snelling. Sam is an avid college basketball fan, and he covers the sport as well as anyone. When he tweets something out like this, I tend to listen.
If you are a fan of a power conference school you should be worried your school is involved. 100%. This isn't isolated to a few places.— Sam Snelling (@SamTSnelling) September 26, 2017
The good news is Mississippi State has not been named in this investigation. As of right now, there is no need to panic the Bulldogs will certainly get caught up in this investigation. But it something I would recommend is to at least keep an eye on it as more details unfold. I know I will be.