SUNSET, S.C. — Clemson head basketball coach Brad Brownell says the FBI’s recent investigation that uncovered corruption, bribery and wire fraud involving some of college basketball’s top programs is a scandal that rocked the college basketball world and put a major stain on the game.
In his first public interview since the scandal broke late last month, Brownell went onto say he was not at all surprised by the FBI’s findings.
“It’s something that doesn’t surprise some of us in the business because we know some of these kinds of things have been going on and they’ve been going on for a long time,” Brownell said at his media golf outing at The Reserve at Lake Keowee on Wednesday. “What’s hard about that is it certainly makes it extremely difficult for those of us that are trying to do things the right way to be as successful.”
So far, the FBI has arrested four assistant coaches that were charged with various violations in Southern Cal’s Tony Bland, Arizona’s Emanuel Richardson, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, who also coached at South Carolina recently, and Auburn’s Chuck Person.
No head coaches have been charged to this point but multiple schools, including Auburn, Louisville, Miami and Arizona, are involved in the scandal. Louisville has already fired its athletic director and head men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino for his possible involvement.
“There’s no question there’s been some kids we’ve recruited that we know some things have happened, and it’s been a reason why we haven’t gotten them at Clemson,” Brownell said.
A perfect example of that is Louisville freshman Brian Bowen. He is at the center of the investigation where the FBI alleges there was an attempt to funnel $100,000 to Bowen’s family for the player’s commitment to attend Louisville. The allegations also point to him having to sign with specific agents and with Adidas when he turns professional.
Adidas global sports marketing director for basketball, Jim Gatto, and former Clemson player Merl Code, who works for Adidas, are two of the primary defendants in the FBI’s case.
Bowen has since been suspended indefinitely from all team activities by Louisville.
“You can work really hard and not bear the fruit of your work, and that’s frustrating when you lose in a way that is ethical,” Brownell said. “Having said that, you never want to compromise the principles of your program and what you’re trying to do.”