Back in September of 2017 when the college hoops scandal initially broke, the basketball world waited on the edge of their seats for Kentucky or John Calipari’s name to be brought up as those involved with the shady recruiting tactics.
So far, things have been mostly clear for the Wildcats.
And then earlier this afternoon, things looked even better for Kentucky when Merl Code, a former Adidas consultant found guilty of funneling money to recruits to ensure they went to Adidas-sponsored schools, said he didn’t want his guys to go to Kentucky because he’d lose control over them. With his long-term goal being that schools would sign with the Adidas school, and then later sign deals with the company once they turned pro, he knew recruits going to UK would result in lost clients.
“If I let my kid go to Kentucky, I promise you I won’t get him back,” Code said, per Adam Zagoria.
Great news, right?
Unfortunately for us, it doesn’t quite end there.
A bit later, though, Kentucky’s name was brought up during the trial in reference to some of the shady recruiting, and Dan Wetzel wrote about it for Yahoo! Sports.
“Without money, there is no recruiting success,” Wetzel said. “None. That much was made clear, over and over and over, especially by coaches who were fighting the sports’ so-called “Blue Bloods” — Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky — that they believe are awash in money to spend on the best prospects.”
According top Wetzel, ex-sports agent Christian Dawkins said that Kentucky is among the schools that has “a lot of resources” to secure top-level recruits.
“They’ve got a lot of resources,” Dawkins explained during one meeting that was played Thursday during his federal bribery trial here in Lower Manhattan. “And they’ve got a lot of existing relations with agents, agencies, runners and … Nike.”
In another conversation, Merl Code, a co-defendant in this case, declared, “In some form or fashion, Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Kentucky, all of the schools are doing something to help get kids. That’s just part of the space.”
Later in the article, a Clemson assistant named Steve Smith said that he couldn’t compete with the “resources” that the other blue blood schools competing for former Duke star Zion Williamson had.
Smith needed money, he believed, for Williamson, who if not for geography would never have considered a school such as Clemson. He felt completely outgunned by the other contenders — Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky. They’ve got the real resources.
“It’s like me, Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski and [John Calipari],” Smith said on the tape. He later implied that Clemson has resources, too, and the close-knit nature of the school and small town its located in helps.
“That’s why football is so successful,” Smith said. “If you do it and use resources at Clemson, like you can really keep everything tight.”
Dawkins understood the position Smith was in.
“[Zion’s recruitment] is going to be crazy,” Dawkins said. “Duke is going to have their resources. UNC is UNC. Kentucky, they have their resources.”
No specific former or current players or or assistant coaches were named in the report, nor was John Calipari named as a guilty party in any specific wrongdoing.
Nonetheless, Kentucky was thrown in there with the other blue-blood talent involved.
For the rest of Wetzel’s article, take a look here.