When you think of the college hoops bribery scandal, a few schools probably come to mind: Kansas, Louisville, Arizona, NC State, LSU, Auburn. If you’ve really done your research, you know that Alabama, Miami, TCU, Oklahoma State, USC, Maryland, Oregon, and Creighton were also implicated in the FBI’s investigation into shoe companies and agents funneling money to top recruits to go to certain schools in exchange for deals at the next level.
One program you haven’t heard much about in all this? Kentucky. Yet, Jeff Goodman couldn’t help but bring up John Calipari’s program while discussing the scandal today.
In an interview with Nick Coffey on “The Red Zone” on 790 KRD, Goodman said that if NCAA deems shoe companies boosters moving forward, it will open up a “can of worms” because it’s a well-known fact that Nike helps Kentucky get players, lumping the Cats with Oregon, which allegedly offered an “astronomical amount of money” for Brian Bowen before Bowen’s family decided to take the $100,000 deal to go to Louisville.
“It’s a completely different world if that happens. Obviously, the difference here is you’ve got actual proof of money going from shoe companies to parents of recruits, whether it’s Brian Bowen’s father in one case, or Billy Preston’s mother at Kansas and thus deeming them boosters. That’s kind of the way the NCAA is trying to operate here to try to get them.
“If they do that, I just don’t understand how that’s going to go going forward because let’s face it, Nike is helping Kentucky. We know that. Nike is helping Oregon. We know that. Now, I don’t know if we can prove the money going, again, from a Nike individual to the parent of a recruit going to whether it’s Oregon or Kentucky or Under Armour, Maryland, again, other Adidas schools. There’s so much that goes on. So, I don’t know if they really want to open that can of worms, but it looks like that’s what they’re doing here.”
Coffey shared Goodman’s quote about Kentucky on Twitter, which drew exactly the response you’d expect from Kentucky fans. When a Kentucky fan asked if Nike was helping Duke too, Goodman said “of course”:
Of course Nike helps Duke. The top 3 programs that Nike helps are (in no particular order): Duke, Kentucky, Oregon. https://t.co/3Kz6wRyovz
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) May 12, 2020
Speaking of Duke, Coffey asked Goodman what he made of the lawsuit against Zion Williamson and how it could potentially implicate the Blue Devils. His response? It’s all for naught because it will likely get settled before anything interesting comes to light and Duke is too smart to be directly tied to payments.
“A lot of us had heard the rumors of the family staying in a $700,000 house in Durham while he was going to school at Duke. Listen: number one, I don’t think we’re going to see Duke’s fingerprints on anything that may have happened. The allegations that came out with him getting money from shoe companies, whatnot, a financial guy, anything like that, I just can’t see it. We’re in the middle of the federal investigation when Zion went to Duke. I think they’re a little bit smarter than that than to put their fingerprints on it. I think if something does come out, it’s going to involve a third party but not involve Duke.”
Goodman casually throwing Kentucky’s name in with schools tied to the scandal isn’t surprising given his history of trolling the program, but here’s my question for him: if it’s so well-known that Nike helps Kentucky get players ala Oregon and Duke, why has Calipari missed on so many top guys the last five years?
You can hear Goodman’s comments below starting around the 1:30:00 mark.