Mark Fox paused for a moment to collect his thoughts.
The Georgia men's basketball head coach of nine years took a few extra seconds to gather his thoughts on what the sport of college basketball looks like now that various aspects are under FBI investigation.
After figuring out the words he wanted to use, he opined on the state of the game he covets.
"I'm disgusted," Fox said.
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The FBI has been investigating NCAA member institutions over various types of fraud, which has included alleged payments for players, and arranging agents and other representatives to steer recruits to certain institutions. On Friday, a bombshell report from Yahoo! Sports showed that former NBA agent Andy Miller and his former associate Christian Dawkins were allegedly loaning money and providing impermissible benefits to players and their families.
Among the players named in the report were Duke forward Wendell Carter Jr. and Alabama guard Collin Sexton. Both were former Georgia targets.
Later Friday night, ESPN reported that Arizona head coach Sean Miller was caught on a wiretap speaking with Dawkins about arranging $100,000 to land Deandre Ayton as a recruit.
Following Saturday's 93-82 win over LSU, Fox was asked about the scandal rocking the sport and how it has affected him. Here is his emotional response in full:
Q: I know you have been very outspoken in the past about some of the current issues facing the college basketball landscape. I’m curious, what is your take on the news that came out (Friday) and where this leaves the sport as you head into what should be the peak of the season, and how you think the NCAA is handling it so far?
A: I’m disgusted. I’m disgusted with how people have treated our game. It’s absolutely disgusting. There’s always going to be unethical behavior and let’s say we give each team a million dollars to pay your players. You know, someone’s not going to like the salary cap and they’re going to find a way around it. But whatever the rules are, and I’m all in favor of trying to find ways to help these kids more and more, and if there’s a way to get these compensated more, I’m 100 percent behind that. But whatever regulations we have in place, we’re supposed to follow them.
It’s like if you play a baseball game and my team gets four outs per inning and your team gets three. That’s not fair. And the way people have treated our game, it’s just disgusted. It starts with the coaches, and everybody else. And then you ask how the NCAA has handled it – the NCAA is made up of member institutions. How are the institutions handling it? That would be my first question. How are they handling it? Putting their head in the sand and looking the other way? Or dealing with it? I sat my team down and we talked about it, why it’s important in life to do things the right way. I know I’m giving you a longer answer than you want but I’m past anger, sadness – it’s disgusting. We’re really hurting the game, which the game – the game – has been so good to everybody. I think everyone in here, most everyone, is probably being paid to cover the game. OK, the game. The game educates kids. It teaches so many lessons and we have treated the game so poorly.
Q: Following up on that, I know I talked to you (Friday) about this a lot, but have you had to back off a player, and lost a player, because of money being paid to that guy? And the second part, should your status or tenure here be judged based on that you tried to do it the right way, and you may not have won as many games because of that?
A: Most of those things that occur happen in the shadows and the darkness. Most of the time, nobody ever finds out, even though your instincts tell you what’s going on. Until the FBI’s gotten involved, people didn’t know it. So absolutely, we’ve had some situations where we didn’t get players because of that reason, and other players have too. But I firmly believe that you can still do this job the right way and that’s how we’re going to do it.