As Tad Boyle digested, however fitfully, the latest round of news out of the FBI's ongoing college basketball corruption probe that surfaced Friday morning, he at first breathed a sigh of relief. No one even remotely related to Colorado basketball was named in the exhaustive report published by Yahoo Sports that implicated some of the game's biggest names and programs.
Not that Boyle was particularly stressed about the cleanliness of his Buffaloes program. Yet the report illustrated two distinct stains on the game that, while both entailing illicit payments, actually are two separate problems.
There are the players who take improper payments or benefits while they are being recruited. Then there are those who take payments from agents once they are on campus, which are situations far more difficult for institutions to police. And given the breadth of the revelations slowly coming to light, any college basketball program that has featured NBA-level talent — as the Buffs have under Boyle with Alec Burks, Andre Roberson, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Derrick White — has reason to wonder if their name might be on the next shoe that drops.
"I talked back in the fall about the black market being exposed. Obviously more of it has been exposed, but I don't think that was a shock to anybody," Boyle said. "My biggest concern is cleaning up recruiting. Because I think you have two issues. You've got kids and/or families that are accepting money, and they're accepting money for one of two reasons — either to go to a certain school, which is one issues...and then there's kids that are taking money once they're at schools kind of behind coaches' backs and without people knowing it.
"That's not necessarily a recruiting issue. You have to look at this in two lights. One of them is recruiting, and that's the one I'm concerned with. One is taking money to go to a school. Another one is taking money from an agent to sign with him when he leaves school. To know which schools were doing which, I have no clue. I think in the latter though, in terms of players taking money from agents without coaches knowing about it, every coach in America, myself included, who has coached NBA-caliber players, is scared to death and hoping like hell none of their names come up."
The Yahoo report on Friday centered on the ASM Sports agency, its owner Andy Miller, and his associate Christian Dawkins. Some of the most prominent programs in the nation are alleged to have had players who received at least $10,000 in benefits from ASM, including North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, and Michigan State. Two Pac-12 programs, USC and Washington, also are on the list. USC was embroiled in the first bombshells from the FBI probe last fall when now-former assistant Tony Bland was arrested on various fraud and corruption charges.
There also is a lengthy list of programs who reportedly had players whose families met with Dawkins, as well as a list of current and former players who allegedly received improper payments. That group includes current USC players Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu; former Washington guard and 2017 top overall NBA draft pick Markelle Fultz; and former Utah star Kyle Kuzma, now a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers.
For what it's worth, Boyle's CU Buffaloes own an 0-11 mark in contests against those particular Pac-12 rivals over the past few years (Fultz was injured and didn't play in CU's home win against Washington last year).
"In recruiting, there's some things you can control," Boyle said. "Do I worry about a black eye? Yeah. Do I worry about the integrity of our sport? Absolutely. But I do think there are two separate issues we have to look at, and one doesn't necessarily bleed into the other. Just like before, there's a heck of a lot more questions than there are answers. From what I understand, that's one agent's computer. There's a lot more than one agent out there and a lot more computers that have not been confiscated."