Georgia men’s basketball coach Mark Fox looked disappointed and sad Friday afternoon.
Not because of anything happening on a basketball court, but because of what he read in a Yahoo! Sports report on what has, thus far, been discovered by an ongoing FBI investigation into corruption deep within college basketball.
The Yahoo! Sports’ report, which is based on hundreds of pages of expense reports, balance sheets and entertainment and travel expenses used by former agent Andy Miller, his former associate Christian Dawkins and Miller’s agency, ASM Sports, details potential impermissible benefits that could affect “at least 20 Division I basketball programs and more than 25 players,” according to the report. Pete Thamel and Pat Forde reported the story.
“That's probably the tip of the iceberg if people really wanted to be honest about it,” Fox said. “I'm not surprised, sadly.”
The story came out at 5:33 a.m. on Feb. 23, and Fox said he read it around mid-morning. When he did, the story further confirmed what he already thought about some aspects of college basketball.
“Until there's significant consequences for the behavior then it's going to continue,” Fox said. “...We have to have institutional accountability in intercollegiate athletics.”
No Georgia players or coaches were cited in the report. However, there were multiple players listed — freshman Duke forward Wendell Carter Jr., Alabama freshman guard Collin Sexton and former Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon — who Georgia recruited and offered scholarships to.
Asked if impermissible benefits is something Fox has battled against while recruiting during his career, he said: “There's no question that's had an impact on certain recruiting situations.”
Fox declined to specifically say which “recruiting situations” he was thinking of. Fox, who has coached at Georgia for the past nine years, also said he and his staff have always tried to stay within NCAA rules.
As college basketball moves toward postseason play, a shadow will certainly be cast over conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament. Three days before Yahoo Sports’ report, the NCAA upheld a ruling that demands Louisville will have to vacate its 2013 National Championship. There could be more consequences and more charges as the federal investigation continues.
“I have no idea what impact it will have on our game,” Fox said. “I wish I could say it will have a significant impact on our game. I do not have great confidence that will happen. We'll see where it goes.”