Keith Frazier, the SMU player at the center of the scandal that cost Larry Brown nine games and the Mustangs a shot at the NCAA tournament this season, spoke to ESPN about the academic fraud that he got caught up in.
Specifically, he told the network that he had no idea that an administrative assistant in the men’s basketball office was completing all of the coursework for him in an effort to bump up his core GPA.
“I didn’t even know what was going on,” Frazier said. “I didn’t know she was doing that class for me. I wasn’t aware of that. I know it looks that way on the outside looking in, but I didn’t know.”
Frankly, I find that hard to believe. Frazier knew that he was enrolled in the course, and logically speaking, you would think that he would know why he needed that class; because his core GPA wasn’t high enough to get him through the NCAA Eligibility Center. But in a world where it’s better not to know how the sausage is made, Frazier very well could have understood it was best not to ask questions.
But there’s more to it than that, because the administrative assistant wasn’t just a random secretary in the men’s basketball office. She and Frazier had what the NCAA termed a “relationship”. From the NCAA’s report:
“The student-athlete would regularly visit with her in the basketball offices when the student-athlete came to campus to play open gym basketball. She regularly babysat the student-athlete’s toddler son in the basketball offices in the summer prior to his enrollment at the institution.”
In other words, Frazier was visiting the administrative assistant and letting her babysit his kid while he worked out. They had a “relationship”, but he wasn’t aware that, at the same time, she was completing coursework for him for the online class that he thought he needed to get eligible?
I get that’s all circumstantial evidence, but this isn’t a court of law. I find it very difficult to believe Frazier’s story.
But that’s not the worst part of this whole ordeal.
This, from the NCAA’s report, is (emphasis added):
“The former assistant men’s basketball coach advised the student-athlete to enroll in the online summer course as a ‘Plus 1’ option for raising his core grade-point average in an effort to meet NCAA initial eligibility requirements. The panel was very concerned that the former assistant men’s basketball coach was advising a prospect on academic issues. Indeed, he advised the student-athlete to take a course he ultimately did not need because the student-athlete had an honors course from his first high school recalculated which gave him additional credit.”
In other words, SMU didn’t need to cheat. Frazier was going to be eligible.
Which means this entire situation was for naught.
I hope Nic Moore, Markus Kennedy and Jordan Tolbert don’t read that.