Mark Emmert: No sanctions for corrupt programs until after NCAA tournament

Tim Bradbury/Getty Images
9 Comments

NCAA president Mark Emmert confirmed on Wednesday that the information that came to light during the October trial stemming from the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball will be used in the NCAA’s investigations into those universities.

Emmert also stated that those investigations likely will not be completed by the end for the 2018-19 college basketball season.

“This whole incident has cast a very bad light on college basketball, and we need to deal with it as effectively as we can,” Emmert told reporters in New York after speaking at the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum. “We’re not going to have everything wrapped up by the Final Four, that’s for sure, because these trials are still going to be going on.”

As it stands, there are still two more trials that are left to be held, one beginning in February and one that is set to start in April. Attorneys for the latter are already trying to get charges thrown out, and, according to a report from ESPN, plea deals are still being considered. The sentences for the three men that were convicted in October have not been handed out yet, either.

A number of programs with the chance to get to the NCAA tournament this season have been caught up in this investigation, amongst them No. 2 Kansas, No. 8 Auburn, No. 21 Creighton, LSU, Louisville and Miami. Upcoming trials could draw Arizona, USC, Oklahoma State and Alabama into the mix.

According to grand jury bylaws, the NCAA will only be allowed access to information that was shared publicly in court and not to the entirety of what the FBI was able to dig up during their investigation. The NCAA has reportedly been given the OK to begin their own investigation into the allegations, and based on rule changes that were rushed through in August, they will be able to import the court filings into their own investigation.

The big question that remains to be answered is how the NCAA is actually going to use the information that was revealed in court. Will they simply accept every allegation and statement made under oath as fact, or will they use it as a guideline for what they try to confirm themselves? Will they assume that what was said on a wiretap or in a text message by unreliable sources like Christian Dawkins or T.J. Gassnola is gospel? And what will happen at places like Louisville, where wholesale changes to the Athletic Department and coaching staff have already been made?

What is clear, however, is that none of it will matter during the 2019 NCAA tournament, where at least two Final Four contenders could be looking at a future that is heavily-asterisked.