Tad Boyle doesn't exactly drop a bombshell when he admits cheating exists in college basketball.
Yet as one of the majority of 350 or so Division I coaches who attempts to do things the right way, the leader of the Colorado men's basketball program is grateful the bombshell that rocked NCAA basketball on Tuesday may prove to be a small step toward, if not completely cleansing the sport, at least giving it a significant makeover.
Early Tuesday, federal prosecutors announced that four assistant basketball coaches at prominent Power 5 universities were among 10 people arrested on the heels of a three-year FBI corruption investigation. The four coaches include former NBA player Chuck Person at Auburn, Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans, and two coaches from CU's rivals in the Pac-12 Conference — Emanuel "Book" Richardson from Arizona and USC's Tony Bland.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, each of the four coaches were charged with various conspiracy and bribery counts that could carry a maximum punishment of 80 years in prison.
"I'm not the kind of person who at all takes any pleasure in other people's misfortunes," Boyle said. "But in this particular case, when I feel like at Colorado we do things the right way and we operate this program above board and we don't get into the gray area of recruiting...to have it come to light that there's a lot of people in our business that don't do things the right way, I think it's a good thing.
"I feel bad for the people involved. I feel bad for the programs that are affected, to a certain degree. But there is cheating in college basketball. That's something everybody knows. They just don't know to what degree. I think any time you get a purging of the system, so to speak, it's a good thing for the game in terms of the people who are doing it right. Is it going to get rid of it? Probably not. But at least maybe people will think twice when they decide to do something they're not supposed to be doing."
The investigation likely will be a huge narrative throughout the upcoming Pac-12 season. Arizona is a preseason Final Four candidate, and when the preseason coaches poll is released during the league's media day in two weeks, there is a reasonable chance Arizona and USC will rank 1-2 on that list. As of Tuesday afternoon all four of the arrested coaches had been suspended by their respective universities, and Arizona cancelled its local media day scheduled for Wednesday.
"The fact of the matter is the FBI did the NCAA's job for them," Boyle said. "They found something the NCAA couldn't find. I feel a sense of satisfaction. When I put my kids to bed at night, or when my assistant coaches put their kids to bed at night, I want them to be able to look at them and feel good about the day's work they did and what they're going to do when they get up and do tomorrow when they get up and go to the office. I feel very, very comfortable and confident the people we hire in this basketball program are high-character people who do things the right way."