HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - It's the biggest scandal to hit college sports in decades. The FBI is investigating multiple basketball coaches and programs on charges of receiving bribes, one of those in Auburn Associate Head Coach Chuck Person.
It appears, more coaches and players will be implicated in this federal bribery investigation as time moves on.
We spoke to local experts about what to expect as this investigation moves forward, and what impact it could have on the game as we know it.
“Financial advisers and agents are giving money and bribes to college basketball coaches to make sure certain athletes use them when they get into the NBA,” said attorney Mark McDaniel.
McDaniel has practiced law in federal courtrooms for decades and says to expect more arrests as more coaches begin trading what they know for a lesser sentence.
“This is the tip of the iceberg," said McDaniel. “Deals will be made, there will be people who say I don’t want to do 40 years, I’d rather do 4 years and give information."
Louisville's Rick Pitino, Auburn's Chuck Person, Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans, Arizona's Book Richardson and University of Southern California's Tony Bland were the first five coaches to take the fall in this landmark federal investigation. But as the FBI has made abundantly clear, it may just be the first drop in the bucket.
Mark McCarter knows court side, just as well as McDaniel knows a courtroom.
“We know it’s not a totally clean sport and that’s been a sad thing about a sport I really loved covering," said McCarter, a sports contributor for WHNT News 19.
He believes this could have a lasting impact, not just on how coaches coach, but how players are recruited.
"In the pressure to win, a lot of coaches have cut a lot of corners along the way," said McCarter. “Hopefully it will bring a little sanity to the recruiting process on these players."
So far, big schools like Louisville, Auburn and the University of Southern California have been implicated, but McCarter believes, even Cinderellas might find their way into court.
“The thing about college basketball, one player can be a program turner, so if you cheat and get that right guy, all of a sudden you’ve gone from never been in the tournament in your life to being that darling in the sweet 16 that’s busting everybody’s bracket," said McCarter.
That's the problem with being in the spotlight, all the ugly details are easy to see.
“It’s like, a lot of people love to eat a hot dog, but they don't want to know how it got made and that’s sort of the way college basketball is, you know. Boy it’s tasty, but boy we don’t want to know how it’s made," said McCarter.
Alabama Men's Basketball Administrator Kobie Baker has also resigned, following the FBI investigation and a separate university review.