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Shoe company’s influence on college basketball disturbing

News of one of the biggest crackdowns involving money influencing amateur college basketball players involving some is disturbing, to say the least.

The FBI says that assistant college coaches at some of the nation’s biggest programs may have been involved in taking cash bribes to steer players with NBA potential to agents and teams that favored a certain shoe company.

The charges hit close to home since Auburn assistant basketball coach Chuck Person, who once played against Ole Miss as a Tiger, is one of the four coaches arrested this week. Prosecutors said Person accepted about $91,500 in bribes from the unidentified financial adviser in 2016 to steer clients to him when they reached the NBA.

The legal process will need to be upheld before individuals are presumed guilty, but it is a safe bet that the FBI is on target with its broader allegations of corruption in college basketball since they’ve been working this case for several years and seem to have ample evidence.

“The picture of college basketball painted by the charges is not a pretty one,” acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said.

The news that amateur players and their families have been manipulated by coaches and the system, including a powerful shoe company, is deeply disturbing.

We have long been concerned that amateur players can easily be taken advantage of in the big-money NCAA sports, and this may be powerful evidence in that regard.