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  • Louisville fires Pitino 'with just cause' amid investigation
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, October 16, 2017

    The University of Louisville's athletic board voted unanimously Monday to fire Rick Pitino as men's basketball head coach in the wake of an FBI investigation into fraud and corruption in college basketball.

    • The University of Louisville Athletic Association voted to terminate Pitino's contract "with just cause" despite an argument from Pitino's lawyers. The board voted unanimously two weeks ago to initiate the process of dismissing Pitino for cause.

      The Hall of Fame coach was placed on unpaid administrative leave following a brief face-to-face meeting with interim president Gregory Postel on Sept. 27.

      Postel made the announcement Monday, saying that Pitino's "actions and inactions" warranted his termination for cause.

      "We felt our initial decision ... was in the best interest of the university," Postel said, referring to the board's vote to move forward with Pitino's termination. "We have to do what's best for the university."

      Pitino, in an affidavit presented Monday to the athletics board, said he "had no part -- active, passive or through willful ignorance" in the activities alleged in an FBI investigation.

      Pitino did not attend the meeting, but his lawyers submitted an affidavit on his behalf.

      "I do not dispute ULAA's right to terminate my employment at its discretion," Pitino's affidavit stated. "But I vehemently reject its right to do so 'for cause.' I have given no 'cause' for termination of my contract."

      The FBI announced on Sept. 26 that 10 men -- including four assistant coaches and a top Adidas executive -- were charged with crimes relating to the investigation.

      Louisville announced the next day it was informed the university was a focal point of the FBI investigation.

      Pitino repeatedly said he was not aware of the fraud and corruption charges that brought the FBI to the campus as part of a national probe launched by the United States Department of Justice.

      The allegations against Louisville include payments of $100,000 to the family of an unnamed player to sign with the Cardinals. The player is believed to be five-star freshman Brian Bowen, who committed to Louisville in early June. Bowen was suspended indefinitely shortly after the FBI announced the results of the investigation.

      One of the most successful college basketball coaches in history, Pitino, 65, was 416-143 in 16 seasons as Louisville head coach and is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with 770 career victories.

      Already on probation for a scandal involving strippers and escorts entertaining recruits and other players in dorm rooms -- Pitino also said last year he was unaware of those actions -- the Louisville basketball program could face severe NCAA penalties depending on the outcome of the current investigation.

      "I had no reason to know about the conspiracy described in the complaint, and no reason to know about the complicity of any UL assistant coach or staff member in any bribery conspiracy," Pitino said in the affidavit presented Monday to the Louisville athletic board.

      "I never have had any part -- active, passive, or through willful ignorance -- in any effort, successful or unsuccessful, completed or abandoned, to pay any recruit, or any family member of a recruit, or anyone else on a recruit's behalf, as an inducement to attend UL."

      Pitino reportedly stands to lose the $44 million remaining in salary and bonuses on his contract through the 2025-26 season since he was fired with cause. He was the highest paid coach in college basketball this year at $7.8 million, which includes a retention bonus and his personal Adidas contract, according to USA Today.

  • North Carolina avoids major penalties in academic case
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, October 13, 2017

    North Carolina's athletic department avoided major penalties when the NCAA Committee on Infractions was unable to conclude the university violated academic rules when it made "paper courses" available to the general student body, including student-athletics.

    • The practice went on from 1993 to 2011 -- the NCAA investigation was from 2002-11 -- and it involved a Department of African and Afro-American Studies course that required no attendance. Students would write a paper of at least 10 pages instead of having to attend lectures or interact with professors and there was evidence of grade changes and forged faculty signatures.

      Yet the NCAA panel found just two violations -- a former department chair and a former curriculum secretary both failed to cooperate with its investigation.

      "While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called 'paper courses' offered by North Carolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, the panel's chief hearing officer, said in the report released Friday. "The panel is troubled by the university's shifting positions about whether academic fraud occurred on its campus and the credibility of the Cadwalader report, which it distanced itself from after initially supporting the findings.

      "However, NCAA policy is clear. The NCAA defers to its member schools to determine whether academic fraud occurred and, ultimately, the panel is bound to making decisions within the rules set by the membership."

      North Carolina chancellor Carol Fort said the proper decision was reached in an open letter posted on the university's website.

      "We believe this is the correct -- and fair -- outcome," Fort said. "I am grateful that this case has been decided and the university can continue to focus on delivering the best possible education to our students. We wish to thank the NCAA staff and the Committee on Infractions for their work and time during the joint investigation and hearing process.

      "Carolina long ago publicly accepted responsibility for what happened in the past. One of the highest priorities of this administration has been to resolve this issue by following the facts, understanding what occurred, and taking every opportunity to make our university stronger. We have been open and transparent in everything we have done."

      The report from the Committee on Infractions said its ability to determine whether academic fraud had occurred at the school was limited by an NCAA principle that relies on "individual member schools to determine whether academic fraud occurred on their own campuses."

      North Carolina insisted the work was assigned, completed and graded under a professor's guidelines. The university admitted the courses failed to meet its own expectations and standards but maintained they didn't violate policies in place at that time.

      The infractions panel also said there were no extra benefits provided to student-athletes because of what was cited in the 2014 Cadwalader report -- that just half the 3,100 students who took the paper courses were athletes.

      "While student-athletes likely benefited from the courses, so did the general student body," Sankey said. "Additionally, the record did not establish that the university created and offered the courses as part of a systemic effort to benefit only student-athletes."

      The NCAA began investigating the North Carolina football in 2010 for academic fraud during Butch Davis' tenure as coach. The program received a one-year ban, lost 15 scholarships and had to vacate 15 wins. The school launched its own investigation and found that the paper courses dated back to 1997.

      A new investigation was launched in June of 2014 with a notice of allegations being issued in May of 2015. New information led to another notice of allegations being issued in December of 2016 that included charges against the men's basketball and football programs.

      There were rumblings that the 2005 and 2009 men's basketball national championships could be vacated. Tar Heels coach Roy Williams insisted all along his program shouldn't be penalized and vindication arrived on Friday.

      "We're certainly thankful the case has been decided and this great university can move forward," Williams said in a statement. "We appreciate the hard work and effort from so many people in presenting the facts of this the case to the Committee.

      "I thank Chancellor Folt and (athletic director) Bubba (Cunningham) for their leadership. This is my alma mater and I love it deeply. We've all learned to be a better university from this case. Now we can focus completely on our mission of teaching and coaching our student-athletes and helping the university reached its dreams and goals."

      The two people who refused to cooperate with the NCAA were former department chairman Julius Nyang'oro and retired secretary Deborah Crowder. Nyang'oro received a five-year show cause lasting until Oct. 12, 2022, while the NCAA is making a notation of Crowder's refusal to cooperate.

  • Louisville places two assistants on leave
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, October 6, 2017

    Louisville placed two assistant coaches on leave Friday amid the FBI probe into corruption in college basketball as the university continued its investigation into NCAA violations involving paying a recruit.

    • The suspensions leave the program with only acting head coach David Padgett to lead the Cardinals as practice for the 2017-18 season begins.

      The university announced associate head coach Kenny Johnson and assistant coach Jordan Fair were placed on paid administrative leave.

      The investigation by the university led to the suspensions and potential firings of head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich after the FBI alleged members of the team's basketball program used money from apparel sponsor Adidas to pay prospective recruits.

      "We are in the process of executing our due diligence as it relates to an ongoing investigation and feel that this (is) an appropriate step at this time," Louisville acting athletic director Vince Tyra said in a statement about the suspensions of Johnson and Fair. "Our university will continue to fully cooperate with federal authorities in their investigation."

      Padgett, 32, was named the Cardinals' interim head coach a week ago. He will rely on his father for guidance in the coming weeks and months, according to ESPN. Pete Padgett, a former standout at Nevada and Division I assistant coach, will be a consultant with the program.

      Pitino and Louisville were linked to an alleged scheme to pay $100,000 to the family of five-star recruit Brian Bowen Jr. in a deal arranged by Adidas executive Jim Gatto.

      The University of Louisville Athletic Association voted unanimously on Monday to initiate the process of dismissing Pitino for cause.

      Louisville interim president Greg Postel said he is planning to learn more about the school's $160 million sponsorship extension with Adidas.

      Pitino received 98 percent of the money from the university's current contract with Adidas, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported Thursday. According to the newspaper, Pitino got $1.5 million of the money as part of his personal services agreement with the shoe and apparel firm, with the school getting only $25,000. The prior year, Pitino received $1.5 million and Louisville got $10,000.

      Four assistant college basketball coaches were among those arrested on federal corruption charges on Sept. 26 after they were caught taking bribes to steer NBA-destined players toward certain sports agents and financial advisers. Court papers showed the FBI has been investigating the criminal influence of money on charges and student athletes affiliated with the NCAA since 2015.

      The assistant coaches arrested were Chuck Person (Auburn), Tony Bland (USC), Emanuel "Book" Richardson (Arizona) and Lamont Evans (Oklahoma State).

  • Report: Pitino received 98 percent of Louisville's Adidas money
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, October 5, 2017

    Suspended Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino received 98 percent of the money from the university's current contract with Adidas, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported Thursday.

    • According to the newspaper, Pitino got $1.5 million of the money as part of his personal services agreement with the shoe and apparel firm, with the school getting only $25,000. The prior year, Pitino received $1.5 million and Louisville got $10,000, per the Courier-Journal.

      The contract with Adidas expired on July 1. In August, Louisville announced a new 10-year, $160-million deal with the company. ESPN reported that the deal is the sixth largest shoe and apparel deal in college sports.

      At the time, athletic director Tom Jurich said the proceeds are "for the athletic department. It's for these student-athletes. It's been earmarked for them."

      Since making that statement, Jurich was placed on paid leave after an FBI probe revealed corruption, bribery and fraud involving a number of the top college basketball programs.

      An athletic department spokesman defended Jurich and Pitino.

      "Players come here in part because of Coach Pitino. Coaching is part of what we give to student-athletes," Kenny Klein told the Courier-Journal last month before the FBI investigation resulted in suspensions of Jurich and Pitino.

      Interim Louisville president Greg Postel said the university is trying to determine if the Adidas money is "tainted" in any way.

      The Courier-Journal provided details of the new Adidas contract, which calls for the company to give the Louisville program $79 million in cash over 10 years, as well as shoes and apparel. It is unclear how much of the money under the new deal would go to coaches.

  • Louisville initiates action to fire Pitino with cause
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, October 2, 2017

    The University of Louisville Athletic Association voted unanimously on Monday to initiate the process of dismissing head basketball coach Rick Pitino for cause.

    • Pitino reportedly stands to lose $44 million remaining on his existing contract, per Yahoo Sports, if fired with cause. According to his contract, Pitino must be given 10 days' notice before any firing can be official.

      "The motion was short and simple," Louisville interim president Greg Postel said in a news conference after Monday's closed-door meeting. "The board requested of me and authorized me to initiate the process of termination for cause as defined in Coach Pitino's employment contact."

      Postel's announcement came five days removed from Pitino being placed on unpaid administrative leave in the wake of news that an FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting included Louisville's program.

      David Padgett, 32, was named the Cardinals' interim head basketball coach in place of Pitino on Friday.

      Postel said the school will pay "nothing beyond the terms" outlined in Pitino's contract.

      Pitino's lawyer, Steve Pence, told the Courier-Journal on Sunday he put Louisville officials on notice that his client's effective dismissal violates the coach's employment agreement. He also said that breach of contract could become the basis for a lawsuit.

      One of the most successful college basketball coaches in history, Pitino was 416-143 in 16 seasons as Louisville head coach and is in the Naismith Hall of Fame with 770 career victories.

      "The decision to exercise rights for cause in an employment agreement at a university is an extremely difficult decision no matter who the person is," Postel said. "I would have just as much angst and just as much need to do it correctly no matter who it was. ... It's important that we be fair and follow the agreement and do this right for any employee of the university."

      Louisville did not take any action on athletic director Tom Jurich on Monday.

  • Duke names G Allen captain
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, October 2, 2017

    Guard Grayson Allen has regained his position as a captain at Duke, the team announced on Monday.

    • Allen, who was selected as captain by his teammates this season, was stripped of that honor by coach Mike Krzyzewski in December after he tripped an opponent for the third time in a calendar year.

      His trip of Elon's Steven Santa Ana in a Dec. 21 contest at Greensboro Coliseum resulted in an indefinite suspension that lasted for one game.

      A 6-foot-5 senior, Allen is the lone player on this season's Duke squad that averaged more than eight minutes of action in 2016-17. The Blue Devils lost four players to the NBA and two additional players transferred.

      "I think he's in a great place," Duke associate coach Jeff Capel said, per the Charlotte Observer. "The very first thing is he is healthy. He's happy. He's had time to reflect, to get refreshed."

      Allen, 21, averaged 14.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season.

  • Louisville names Padgett as interim head coach
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 29, 2017

    Louisville assistant coach David Padgett was named the Cardinals' acting head coach on Friday, two days after Rick Pitino was placed on unpaid leave.

    • The action against Pitino came after he was linked to a federal corruption investigation that affected college basketball.

      Interim university president Greg Postel announced the promotion of Padgett during a press conference.

      "David is known by all as a hard worker," Postel said. "These are the kinds of things that will allow him to be extraordinary in this role."

      The 32-year-old Padgett becomes one of the youngest head coaches in Division I basketball. He has been on the Louisville coaching staff for three years, but has been an assistant coach for just one.

      Padgett said Postel would not have selected him if he was a target of the FBI investigation.

      "I can assure that for myself," said Padgett, who said he has not spoken to the FBI.

      He added that two assistant coaches might not be available when preseason practice begins on Sunday.

      "We might be a little short-handed here for a while," Padgett said.

      Padgett played for Louisville and was a three-year starter at center.

      Padgett was Louisville's director of basketball operations for two seasons (2014-16) before he became an assistant coach in 2016.

      He becomes just the third head coach for the Cardinals in the last 46 years, following Rick Pitino (2001-17) and Denny Crum (1971-2001).

      "It's been a dark week at U of L," Padgett said. "There's nothing else to say about it. Tough week but we're getting through it, putting our head down and getting back to work."

  • Oklahoma State fires assistant coach Evans
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 28, 2017

    Oklahoma State dismissed associate head coach Lamont Evans, who was one of 10 people arrested this week as part of the FBI's investigation into college basketball bribery and corruption.

    • The school suspended Evans on Tuesday and on Thursday it announced Evans has been terminated.

      Evans was the highest-paid assistant in the country at $600,000 for the 2017-18 season. He had signed a three-year contract before this season.

      He was one of four assistant coaches throughout the country who were charged with allegedly taking bribes to help deliver players to advisers and agents.

      Court documents allege Evans took at least $22,000 in bribes to direct basketball players to agents or financial advisers while at South Carolina and Oklahoma State.

      He surrendered to authorities Wednesday afternoon on federal corruption charges and appeared in court that day. He did not enter a plea.

      Evans became part of the Oklahoma State coaching staff prior to the 2016-17 season under head coach Brad Underwood, who left after one season to become Illinois' head coach.

      Underwood was replaced by assistant Mike Boynton Jr., who kept Evans on the staff.

      Evans was at South Carolina for four seasons before leaving for Oklahoma State.

  • Report: Pitino is "Coach-2" in paying player scandal
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 28, 2017

    Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino, who has been placed on unpaid administrative leave amid a federal investigation into fraud and corruption, is the "Coach-2" who played a role in funneling money to a recruit, multiple outlets reported.

    • CBS News initially reported that Pitino is "Coach-2" in a criminal complaint released Tuesday by the Justice Department.

      "Coach-2" is referenced nine times in the document -- including once when Christian Dawkins, a former agent for ASM Sports, is quoted as saying he had "spoken with Coach-2 about getting additional money for Player-10's family."

      Dawkins also was quoted as saying he had told Coach-2 he needs "to call Jim Gatto, who's the head of everything" at Adidas.

      Court records said Gatto "spoke directly with Coach-2 multiple times in the days before (freshman Brian Bowen, who has been identified as "Player-10") publicly committed" to Louisville.

      The criminal complaint states that Gatto conspired to funnel approximately $100,000 from Adidas to Bowen's family in exchange for the five-star prospect's commitment to Louisville, which has a $160 million shoe and apparel contract with Adidas.

      "On or about June 3, 2017, (Bowen) officially committed to (Louisville) in return for the commitment by Gatto and (Adidas) to pay $100,000 for his family," the FBI complaint reads.

      Interim Louisville president Greg Postel said Wednesday that one unidentified Cardinals player has been suspended indefinitely and withheld from practices and workouts. Sources told ESPN that Postel was referring to Bowen, who is featured prominently but not named in federal prosecutors' allegations of corruption in college recruiting.

      Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were placed on leave following brief face-to-face meetings with Postel on Wednesday.

      Pitino's attorney called the move a firing and the coach will be unpaid on terms of what Louisville said was "effective discharge," according to Pitino's lawyer.

      Jurich was placed on paid administrative leave until a university Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for Oct. 16, where it is likely he will be fired.

      Pitino reportedly stands to lose $44 million remaining on his existing contract, per Yahoo Sports, if fired with cause. According to his contract, Pitino must be given 10 days' notice before any firing can be official.

      On Tuesday, an FBI probe alleged coaches, agents and financial advisers linked to several different universities bribed collegiate basketball players. Louisville announced on that day that it was informed the university was a focal point of the investigation.

      Jurich was disciplined first Wednesday morning following a very brief meeting with Postel. Upon Jurich's exit, Pitino entered the president's office and walked out expecting it could be one of his final days at Louisville.

      "I'm more angry than embarrassed," Postel said at Wednesday's news conference in reaction to the federal bribery investigation. "We will be looking for someone with integrity. There's no reason this team can't have a good season.

      "It is vital for this university to strictly adhere to the NCAA rules and of course federal law. Failure to do that would be a tacit endorsement of criminal behavior."

      Pitino on Tuesday said in a statement he was not aware of the fraud and corruption charges that brought the FBI to the campus as part of a national probe launched by the United States Department of Justice.

      "These allegations come as a complete shock to me," Pitino said in a statement. "If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorneys Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville. Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable."

      One of the most successful college basketball coaches in history, Pitino was 416-143 in 16 seasons as Louisville head coach and is in the Naismith Hall of Fame with 770 career victories.

      Already on probation for a scandal involving strippers and escorts entertaining recruits and other players in dorm rooms -- Pitino also said last year he was unaware of those actions -- the Louisville basketball program could face severe penalties depending on the outcome of the current investigation.

  • Arizona begins process of firing assistant coach
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 28, 2017

    The University of Arizona has "initiated the dismissal process" against assistant men's basketball coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson, who was one of four assistant coaches across the country arrested Tuesday morning on federal fraud and corruption charges.

    • The announcement came from university president Robert C. Robbins on Wednesday night.

      "I have directed the University of Arizona to initiate an independent investigation into the alleged actions of Emanuel Richardson and to retain an external law firm to conduct the investigation," Robbins said in a statement. "We also have reviewed the specific factual allegations in the criminal complaint and have initiated the dismissal process against Mr. Richardson.

      "The University of Arizona expects everyone who is part of our campus community to adhere to the highest ethical standards of behavior. Arizona Athletics has a strong culture of compliance that begins at the top and extends throughout the organization. Specifically, the Athletics Department has a documented history of strengthening institutional control by being proactive and comprehensive through rules education and program monitoring."

      Richardson arrived at Arizona with head coach Sean Miller in 2009. Richardson has spent 11 seasons as an assistant for Miller, including two at Xavier preceding the move to Arizona.

      Richardson and the other assistant coaches -- from Oklahoma State, Auburn and USC -- were among the 10 people arrested Tuesday. Richardson was released Tuesday afternoon after posting $50,000 bail.

      In on-court news, Arizona announced that starting sophomore wing Rawle Alkins will miss eight to 12 weeks after undergoing surgery Wednesday on a fractured bone in his right foot. He sustained the injury Tuesday in voluntary activities with his teammates, the school said in a release.

  • Report: FBI subpoenas Nike's youth basketball program
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, September 27, 2017

    The other shoe could be about to drop in the widespread investigation into bribery, fraud and corruption in college basketball.

    • "Employees of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League have been subpoenaed by FBI for furtherance of investigation," attorney and Forbes contributor Darren Heinter tweeted on Wednesday, citing unidentified sources.

      That news comes one day after Adidas director of global sports marketing Jim Gatto, four college basketball assistant coaches, agents and financial advisers linked to several different universities bribed collegiate basketball players.

      In a formal complaint released Tuesday before a press conference in New York, the FBI alleges Gatto, Adidas employee Merl Code, former agent Christian Dawkins and financial adviser Munish Sood aligned to pay $100,000 to the family of a highly touted recruit.

      "We have your playbook," New York FBI assistant director in charge Bill Sweeney said Tuesday in New York. "Our investigation is ongoing, and we are conducting additional interviews as we speak."

      Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League has become one of the nation's premier travel programs for high school-aged players and younger since it debuted in 2010.

  • Louisville places Pitino, AD Jurich on leave
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, September 27, 2017

    Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were placed on leave following brief face-to-face meetings with interim president Gregory Postel on Wednesday.

    • Pitino's attorney called the move a firing and the coach will be unpaid on terms of what Louisville said was "effective discharge," according to Pitino's lawyer.

      Jurich was placed on paid administrative leave until a university Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for Oct. 16, where it is likely he will be fired.

      Pitino reportedly stands to lose $44 million remaining on his existing contract, per Yahoo Sports, if fired with cause. According to his contract, Pitino must be given 10 days' notice before any firing can be official.

      The monumental moves came one day after an FBI probe alleging coaches, agents and financial advisers linked to several different universities bribed collegiate basketball players. Louisville announced Tuesday it was informed the university was a focal point of the investigation.

      Jurich was disciplined first Wednesday morning following a very brief meeting with Postel. Upon Jurich's exit, Pitino entered the president's office and walked out expecting it could be one of his final days at Louisville.

      "I'm more angry than embarrassed," Postel said at Wednesday's news conference in reaction to the federal bribery investigation. "We will be looking for someone with integrity. There's no reason this team can't have a good season.

      "It is vital for this university to strictly adhere to the NCAA rules and of course federal law. Failure to do that would be a tacit endorsement of criminal behavior."

      Pitino on Tuesday said in a statement he was not aware of the fraud and corruption charges that brought the FBI to the campus as part of a national probe launched by the United States Department of Justice.

      "These allegations come as a complete shock to me," Pitino said in a statement. "If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorneys Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville. Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable."

      One of the most successful college basketball coaches in history, Pitino was 416-143 in 16 seasons as Louisville head coach and is in the Naismith Hall of Fame with 770 career victories.

      Already on probation for a scandal involving strippers and escorts entertaining recruits and other players in dorm rooms -- Pitino also said last year he was unaware of those actions -- the Louisville basketball program could face severe penalties depending on the outcome of the current investigation.

      In a formal complaint released Tuesday before a press conference in New York, the FBI alleges Adidas director of global sports marketing James Gatto, Adidas employee Merl Code, former agent Christian Dawkins and financial adviser Munish Sood aligned to pay $100,000 to the family of a highly touted recruit.

      Jurich's daughter, 26-year-old Haley Marie Jurich, works for Adidas as NCAA brand communication manager. She posted on her LinkedIn profile and Facebook that she was hired in March. Adidas and Louisville struck a contract extension with the apparel company worth $160 million over the summer.

      According to multiple reports, the highly touted recruit is five-star Louisville commit Brian Bowen, although he is not named -- nor is Pitino -- in the complaint.

      When discussing Bowen's surprise commitment this summer, when Bowen went away from an expected commitment to Michigan State or DePaul, Pitino said Louisville had good fortune.

      "We got lucky on this one," Pitino said. "I had an AAU director call me and say, 'Would you be interested in a basketball player?' I said, 'Who?' And I said, 'Yes.' I saw him play against another great player from Indiana and I said, 'Yeah, I'd be really interested.' But they had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotels, pay for their meals. So we spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I saw him play. In my 40-some-odd years of coaching, this is the luckiest I've been."

      Dawkins allegedly told investigators a Louisville coach instructed him to pay Bowen's family.

  • Louisville fires AD; Pitino expects to be next
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, September 27, 2017

    Rick Pitino reportedly informed his assistant coaches and basketball staff that he expects to be fired as head coach at Louisville.

    • Athletic director Tom Jurich was fired Wednesday morning following a very brief meeting with interim president Gregory Postel.

      Upon Jurich's exit, Pitino entered the president's office.

      Jurich's daughter, 26-year-old Haley Marie Jurich, works for Adidas as NCAA brand communication manager. She posted on her LinkedIn profile and Facebook that she was hired in March. Adidas and Louisville struck a contract extension with the apparel company worth $160 million over the summer.

      Pitino, according to ESPN and Yahoo Sports, said in a statement he was not aware of the fraud and corruption charges that brought the FBI to the campus as part of a national probe launched by the United States Department of Justice.

      "These allegations come as a complete shock to me," Pitino said in a statement. "If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorneys Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville. Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable."

      One of the most successful college basketball coaches in history, Pitino is 416-143 in 16 seasons as Louisville head coach and is in the Naismith Hall of Fame with 770 career victories.

      Already on probation for a scandal involving strippers and escorts entertaining recruits and other players in dorm rooms -- Pitino also said last year he was unaware of those actions -- the Louisville basketball program could face severe penalties depending on the outcome of the current investigation.

      The FBI probe alleges coaches, agents and financial advisers linked to several different universities bribed collegiate basketball players.

      In a formal complaint released Tuesday before a press conference in New York, the FBI alleges Adidas director of global sports marketing James Gatto, Adidas employee Merl Code, former agent Christian Dawkins and financial adviser Munish Sood aligned to pay $100,000 to the family of a highly touted recruit.

      According to multiple reports, that recruit is five-star Louisville commit Brian Bowen, although he is not named -- nor is Pitino -- in the complaint.

      When discussing Bowen's surprise commitment this summer, when Bowen went away from an expected commitment to Michigan State or DePaul, Pitino said Louisville had good fortune.

      "We got lucky on this one," Pitino said. "I had an AAU director call me and say, 'Would you be interested in a basketball player?' I said, 'Who?' And I said, 'Yes.' I saw him play against another great player from Indiana and I said, 'Yeah, I'd be really interested.' But they had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotels, pay for their meals. So we spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I saw him play. In my 40-some-odd years of coaching, this is the luckiest I've been."

      Dawkins allegedly told investigators a Louisville coach instructed him to pay Bowen's family.

  • NCAA coaches among 10 charged with fraud, corruption
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, September 26, 2017

    Four assistant college basketball coaches were among those arrested on federal corruption charges Tuesday after they were caught taking bribes to steer NBA-destined players toward certain sports agents and financial advisers, authorities said.

    • Auburn assistant Chuck Person, Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans, Arizona assistant Emanuel Richardson and USC assistant Tony Bland were named in court documents on Tuesday.

      James Gatto, the director of global sports marketing at Adidas, was also targeted in the probe, as well as financial advisers and managers.

      "The picture painted by the charges brought today is not a pretty one," Joon H. Kim, the acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a Tuesday news conference.

      "Coaches at some of the nation's top programs soliciting and accepting cash bribes. Managers and financial advisers circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes. And employees of one of the world's largest sportswear companies secretly funneling cash to the families of high school recruits.

      "For the 10 charged men, the madness of college basketball went well beyond the Big Dance in March. Month after month, the defendants exploited the hoop dreams of student-athletes around the country, allegedly treating them as little more than opportunities to enrich themselves through bribery and fraud schemes."

      Court papers show the FBI has been investigating the criminal influence of money on charges and student athletes affiliated with the NCAA since 2015.

      NCAA president Mark Emmert was troubled by the corruption charges.

      "The nature of the charges brought by the federal government are deeply disturbing," Emmert said in a statement. "We have no tolerance whatsoever for this alleged behavior. Coaches hold a unique position of trust with student-athletes and their families and these bribery allegations, if true, suggest an extraordinary and despicable breach of that trust. We learned of these charges this morning and of course will support the ongoing criminal federal investigation."

      Auburn said in a statement that Person is suspended without pay effective immediately.

      "This morning's news is shocking. ... We are committed to playing by the rules, and that's what we expect from our coaches," the university's statement said.

      Oklahoma State released the following statement on Tuesday.

      "We were surprised to learn this morning of potential actions against one of our assistant basketball coaches by federal officials," the statement read. "We are reviewing and investigating the allegations. We are cooperating fully with officials.

      "Let it be clear we take very seriously the high standards of conduct expected in our athletic department. We will not tolerate any deviation from those standards."

      The University of Arizona also released a statement and declared Richardson immediately suspended and relieved of his duties. The school also postponed its local media day scheduled for Wednesday.

      "We were made aware of the Department of Justice's investigation this morning and we are cooperating fully with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office," the statement read.

      "... We were appalled to learn of the allegations as they do not reflect the standards we hold ourselves to and require from our colleagues. The University of Arizona has a strong culture of compliance and the expectation is we follow the rules."

      Bland was placed on administrative leave by USC, and athletic director Lynn Swann released the following statement on behalf of his school.

      "We were shocked to learn this morning through news reports about the FBI investigation and arrests related to NCAA basketball programs, including the arrest of USC assistant coach Tony Bland," the statement read.

      "USC Athletics maintains the highest standards in athletic compliance across all of our programs and does not tolerate misconduct in any way. We will fully cooperate with the investigation and will assist authorities as needed, and if these allegations are true, we will take the needed action."

      Later Tuesday, USC vice president for compliance Mike Blanton said the university hired former FBI director Louis J. Freeh to assist its internal investigation.

      The sealed FBI complaint against Gatto and others also includes a reference to a "public research university located in Kentucky," with University of Louisville interim president Gregory Postel confirming in a statement it is the school mentioned.

      The complaint details that the unnamed school -- identified as "University-6" -- has an enrollment of approximately 22,640, which matches that of Louisville during the 2016-17 academic year. It also states that the school offers approximately 21 varsity sports teams, which is the same offered by the Cardinals, according to the athletics department's website.

      "Today, the University of Louisville received notice that it is included in a federal investigation involving criminal activity related to men's basketball recruiting," Postel said in the statement. "While we are just learning about this information, this is a serious concern that goes to the heart of our athletic department and the university.

      "U of L is committed to ethical behavior and adherence to NCAA rules; any violations will not be tolerated. We will cooperate fully with any law enforcement or NCAA investigation into the matter."

      The allegations against the unnamed school in Kentucky include payments of $100,000 from a sports apparel company to the family of an unnamed player, identified as "Player 10," to ensure him signing with the school.

      The indictment also says that prior to paying Player-10's family, the defendants "first needed time to generate a sham purchase order and invoice ostensibly to justify using Company-1 funds since they could not lawfully pay the family of Player-10 directly and risk that such prohibited payments be revealed."

      Gatto is accused of helping funnel approximately $100,000 to the family of an "All-American high school basketball player" to secure the prospect's commitment to a school Adidas sponsors. According to documents, the prospect committed in June. The only "All-American high school basketball player" who committed to a school Adidas sponsors in June is Brian Bowen, who is currently enrolled at Louisville.

      "We got lucky on this one," Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said of the commitment in June. "I had an AAU director call me and say, 'Would you be interested in a basketball player?' I said ... 'Yeah, I'd be really interested.' But (Bowen and his people) had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotels, pay for their meals. So we spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I saw him play. In my 40-some-odd years of coaching, this is the luckiest I've been."

      A number of powerhouse programs, including Arizona, Oregon, Michigan State and Creighton, were among the finalists considered by the 6-foot-7 Bowen.

      "I don't know anything about that," Bowen's mother, Carrie Malecke, told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Tuesday. "I don't know anything about that. I'm not aware of anything like that. Not me. I had no idea."

      Pitino will be suspended for the first five Atlantic Coast Conference games in the 2017-18 season for failing to monitor his men's basketball program in the wake of a sex scandal, the Division I Committee on Infractions announced on June 15.

      The Cardinals also will be on probation for four years, have scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions. Louisville will also forfeit any money received through conference revenue sharing from the 2012-15 NCAA Tournaments.

      Adidas also released a statement on Tuesday.

      "Today, we became aware that federal investigators arrested an Adidas employee. We are learning more about the situation. We're unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with authorities to understand more," Adidas said in a statement.

      Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott issued a statement as Richardson and Bland are assistants at institutions in the conference he oversees.

      "As Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference, I am deeply troubled by the charges filed in federal court today against a number of individuals involved in college basketball, including two assistant coaches employed by member institutions of our conference. Protection of our student-athletes, and of the integrity of competition, is the conference's top priority.

      "I have been in contact with the leadership of both universities and it is clear they also take this matter very seriously. We are still learning the facts of this matter, but these allegations, if true, are profoundly upsetting to me. They strike at the heart of the integrity of our programs, and of the game that so many people love and play the right way."

      Person, 53, was a star player at Auburn and led the school to its first three NCAA Tournament appearances (1984-86) before going on to a 14-year NBA career. He was Rookie of the Year with the Indiana Pacers in 1986-87. He returned to Auburn as an assistant coach in 2014.

      According to documents, Person received $91,500 in bribery payments to allegedly influence two unnamed Auburn players to certain agents and financial advisors.

      Evans joined the Oklahoma State staff last season and was promoted to associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the upcoming season.

      Richardson joined the staff at Arizona in 2009. He played collegiately at University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

      Bland, who joined the USC staff in 2013-14, played for Syracuse and San Diego State.

  • UNC skipping White House visit due to scheduling issue
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 23, 2017

    The defending national champion North Carolina men's basketball team is not visiting the White House but the school said Saturday it is because of a scheduling conflict and not due to President Donald Trump.

    • "We couldn't find a date that worked for both parties," a North Carolina spokesman told the Raleigh News and Observer. "We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn't work out that date, we couldn't work out that date, so we would have liked to have gone, but (we're) not going."

      Before and after beating Gonzaga in the championship game on April 3, Williams did not offer any commitments if the school would accept an invitation to visit Trump.

      During the ACC tournament, Williams was highly critical of Trump when answering a question about social media.

      "Now everybody's got social media, and we don't need the New York Times to find out what in the dickens is going on in this country," Williams said at the time. "You know, our president tweet out more bulls-- than anybody I've ever seen. We've got social media."

      North Carolina visited the White House after winning championships in 1993 and 2009. They did not visit in 2005 due to a scheduling issue.

      North Carolina's announcement occurred hours after Trump responded to Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry desire not to visit the White House. In a twitter post Saturday morning, Trump wrote: "Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!

      Several pro athletes and coaches, especially in the NBA, have spoken out against Trump's actions since last November's election.

  • Houston gets NCAA waiver to donate items to Harvey victims
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 9, 2017

    University of Houston officials were granted a special waiver by the NCAA to begin distributing items to victims affected by Hurricane Harvey.

    • Cougars athletics director Hunter Yurachek told ESPN that NCAA executive vice president of regulatory affairs Oliver Luck sent him a text message Saturday morning to notify him that the waiver had been granted to get the donated T-shirts and shoes to people, including high school student-athletes.

      Yurachek said the Cougars will start distributing the T-shirts and shoes next week.

      "The NCAA was very quick in getting us this waiver," Yurachek told ESPN. "There's a rule in place that makes sense, other than when you have 100,000 T-shirts coming in for hurricane victims. The NCAA has granted us a waiver and it's full steam ahead."

      Houston men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson started the campaign on Twitter more than a week ago, asking coaches around the country to donate their excess T-shirts and sneakers to help hurricane victims in Texas.

      Yurachek estimated that Houston officials have received more than 100,000 T-shirts and tens of thousands of pairs of shoes.

      The Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays sent boxes of donations to Houston this week, along with other pro teams, colleges and high schools in all 50 states.

      "We've been floored," Yurachek said. "It's been overwhelming. Coach Sampson is in there every day unloading boxes of shoes and folding T-shirts. We're probably getting 200 to 300 boxes of shoes and T-shirts every day.

      "Somewhere along the line, this rule makes sense. But nobody thought to put in an exception like a natural disaster. The NCAA gets a bad rap, but the NCAA just enforces the rule that the membership introduces and votes on."

      Sampson wanted to start delivering the donations sooner, but NCAA regulations prevented him until the waiver was granted. The university risked punishment if they were found to have delivered the supplies to recruits.

      "They don't want us sending all this nice gear to the top recruit in Houston," Lauren Dubois, senior associate athletic director for the university, told KHOU-TV. "But, obviously that is not our intention at all."

      Houston-area athletes have done their part to aid in the Harvey relief efforts, led by Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who has raised more than $30 million for victims of the storm that caused massive flooding.

  • Coaching legend Massimino dies at 82
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 30, 2017

    Rollie Massimino, who coached Villanova to an improbable national championship in 1985, has died at the age of 82.

    • Keiser, an NAIA school in West Palm Beach, Fla., announced Wednesday that Massimino had passed away at his home in Florida. He had served as the coach of the school's men's basketball team for the past 10 years.

      Massimino had been in relatively good health before he battled lung cancer in recent years. He had surgery to remove a tumor in his lung in 2011, suffered a collapsed lung and had brain surgery in 2016.

      Born Roland Vincent "Rollie" Massimino, the affable coach had won more than 800 games in his coaching career, but is best known for leading a then-eighth-seeded Wildcats team to a victory over Patrick Ewing and top-seeded Georgetown in the 1985 title game.

      "He was a life coach, not just a basketball coach," former Villanova star Ed Pinckney said, per ESPN. "Coach was all about family. He was an unbelievable man -- and a great person."

      Massimino coached the Wildcats for 19 seasons and compiled a 355-241 record before leaving for UNLV in 1992 to replace Jerry Tarkanian. He spent two years with the Runnin' Rebels and also coached at Cleveland State from 1996-2003.

      Massimino joined Chuck Daly's staff at Penn before becoming the head coach at Villanova in 1973. The Wildcats went to 11 NCAA Tournaments -- including three Sweet 16s, one Elite Eight and its first national championship under Massimino's watch.

      Including nearly 300 wins while at Northwood/Keiser, Massimino's career record is 816-462 in 41 seasons.

      "As our campus community deeply mourns the loss of Coach Massimino, we extend our warmest thoughts and condolences to his wife Mary Jane and the entire Massimino family," Keiser University chancellor Arthur Keiser said in a statement. "We are so truly honored to have shared this time with him and take some degree of comfort in knowing the positive impact he has had on college students for the last four decades remains immeasurable."

  • Magic honors late Michigan State coach Heathcote
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 29, 2017

    Earvin "Magic" Johnson honored the memory of Jud Heathcote on Tuesday, one day after his former collegiate coach at Michigan State died at the age of 90.

    • Heathcote guided the Johnson-led team to a national championship in 1979. He battled a number of ailments that kept him from returning to East Lansing in his later years.

      "My college Coach Jud Heathcote will be missed so much. He was a great man & basketball coach who truly cared about me on & off the court," Johnson wrote on Twitter. "At MSU he pushed me in the classroom & coached me hard on the basketball court. I love him so much because he pushed me to be great.

      "As a defensive coach known for perfecting the match up zone, we were always prepared for our opponent. He made us NCAA champions in 1979!

      "Coach Heathcote made me a better person, player, and champion. He turned a young kid into a man. Thank you so much for all you did for me."

      With Johnson as the star, the Spartans beat Larry Bird and Indiana State 75-64 in a classic NCAA championship game matchup in Salt Lake City. It is still the highest-rated college basketball game in television history.

      Heathcote led Michigan State to 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and three Big Ten titles during his 19 years as coach.

      Overall, Heathcote compiled a 416-277 record for a .600 winning percentage during his college career. The North Dakota native was the head coach at Montana before coming to Michigan State, where he went 339-221.

  • Former Michigan State coach Heathcote dies at 90
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 29, 2017

    Longtime Michigan State basketball coach Jud Heathcote, who guided the Magic Johnson-led team to the national championship in 1979, died Monday in Spokane, Wash., at age 90.

    • Heathcote battled a number of ailments that that kept him from returning to East Lansing in his later years.

      With Johnson as the star, the Spartans beat Larry Bird and Indiana State 75-64 in a classic NCAA championship game matchup in Salt Lake City. It is still the highest-rated college basketball game in television history.

      Heathcote led Michigan State to 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and three Big Ten titles during his 19 years as coach.

      Overall, Heathcote compiled a 416-277 record for a .600 winning percentage during his college career. The North Dakota native was the head coach at Montana before coming to Michigan State, where he went 339-221.

      Current Spartans coach Tom Izzo was hired by Heathcote as an assistant and succeeded him in 1995.

      "The basketball world is a sadder place today with the passing of Jud Heathcote," Izzo said. "No one cared more about the welfare of the game than Jud. He was a coach's coach and a mentor to many. Our hearts are filled with sadness and deepest sympathy for his wife Beverly and the Heathcote family."

      Izzo frequently called upon Heathcote for advice after he became a head coach. Michigan State won its second NCAA basketball title in 2000 under Izzo.

      "Without a doubt, he was one of the most influential people in my life, giving me a chance when no one else would," Izzo said. "Any coaching success I've ever had is because of him. Long after he left Michigan State, he was still one of the first people I would call when I had a tough decision in coaching or life."

      Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said, "Coach Heathcote had an impact on so many people. He was among the best teachers I had the opportunity to be around."

  • Oklahoma F Doolittle suspended for fall semester
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 24, 2017

    Oklahoma sophomore forward Kristian Doolittle has been suspended from the university for the fall semester, the school announced.

    • Doolittle started 25 games during his freshman season, averaging 9.1 points and 6.2 rebounds for the Sooners.

      "I didn't meet the academic standards and I apologize to my teammates, coaches, fans and the university," Doolittle said in a statement Wednesday. "I take full responsibility for my actions and will use this time away from the team to learn from my mistakes. I am committed to bettering myself throughout this process and look forward to earning a chance to compete with my teammates after the fall semester."

      Doolittle is eligible to rejoin the team after the fall semester. The final day of fall semester exams is Dec. 15, which is before conference play begins.

  • U.S. basketball teams safe after attack in Barcelona
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    U.S college basketball teams Arizona, Clemson, Oregon State and Tulane reported that they are safe after a terror attack in Barcelona, Spain that killed at least 13 and injured at least 50 others on Thursday.

    • The four programs are touring Spain and were unharmed in the incident in which a van jumped on to a busy Barcelona sidewalk and plowed into tourists and citizens on the street. Police quickly called it a terror attack.

      Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said the tragedy occurred right in front of where his team was eating a meal. He said everybody in the school's travel party was safe.

      "... Happened directly in front of our hotel while we were having a team meal in the restaurant," Tinkle said on Twitter. "So senseless and sad! All accounted4."

      Clemson canceled its Thursday night game against the Barcelona All-Stars and announced it would return home Friday as previously scheduled. The school said its travel party was safe.

      Arizona coach Sean Miller told ESPN that everybody is accounted for and unharmed. The school has decided not to play its final game on the tour and is working on leaving Spain.

      Tulane also confirmed that all members of its travel party are safe.

  • South Carolina G Felder suspended indefinitely
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    South Carolina sophomore guard Rakym Felder has been suspended indefinitely after getting arrested twice in a nine-month span.

    • Gamecocks coach Frank Martin announced the suspension and said Felder won't be attending classes in the fall.

      "Due to some unfortunate decisions by Rakym, he has been suspended indefinitely from our program," Martin said in a statement. "I will continue to help Rakym grow as a young man even though basketball is not part of our relationship right now."

      Felder was arrested on July 13 and charged with third-degree assault and battery.

      His first arrest was back on Oct. 23 when he was charged with simple assault and battery, resisting arrest and public disorderly conduct.

      "I'm very sorry for my recent behavior that led to my arrest and school suspension. I take full responsibility for my actions and make no excuses for my conduct," Felder said in a statement released through attorney Neal Lourie.

      "I apologize to the entire University of South Carolina family including our loyal fans, President (Harris) Pastides, Board of Trustees, Athletic Director Ray Tanner, Coach Martin and his staff, and my teammates. I know I have let you down and I will have to work hard to regain your trust."

      Felder was a key reserve last season on the South Carolina squad that stunningly reached the Final Four. He scored 15 points in the Gamecocks' epic upset of Duke in the tourney's second round.

      Felder averaged 5.6 points.

      His loss is a blow to a squad that already lost star guard Sindarius Thornwell as well as backcourt mates PJ Dozier, Duane Notice and Justin McKie.

  • Duke lands top forward recuit Bagley
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 15, 2017

    Power forward Marvin Bagley III, rated the nation's No. 1 recruit in the class of 2018, made two big announcements on national television on Monday.

    • First, he said he has decided to reclassify into the class of 2017, which means he would eligible to play this coming season as a college freshman.

      His second announcement was even more important, because he said he has decided to attend Duke for coach Mike Krzyzewski, making the Blue Devils' already strong recruiting class even better.

      The 6-foot-11 Bagley is attending Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, Calif., but his father, Marvin Bagley Jr., was born and raised in Durham, N.C., and played football at North Carolina A&T.

      Bagley is now scheduled to graduate in August, and at that point the NCAA Eligibility Center will review his final transcripts and determine whether he has satisfied the requirements to play immediately at the Division I level.

      Bagley took official visits to Duke, USC and UCLA.

      By choosing Duke, he joins a six-man freshman class that includes five ESPN top 100 prospects, which is likely to make Duke's group the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation. Those freshmen along with Duke's returning players will make the Blue Devils a contender for another national title.

      Bagley recently participated in the elite summer Drew League, in which he played with James Harden and Chris Paul and competed against NBA players. In the all-star game, he had 18 points and 20 rebounds.

      The left-handed Bagley is a skilled player who can play comfortably close to the basket or on the perimeter.

  • Calhoun considers return to coaching
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, August 14, 2017

    Longtime University of Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun is considering a comeback at a Division III program, multiple media outlets reported.

    • The 75-year-old Calhoun, who stepped down from UConn in 2012 after 26 years and three national titles, told USA Today he is acting as an unpaid adviser to the University of St. Joseph, which is located in West Hartford, Conn., and plans to start a men's basketball program.

      Calhoun did not rule out the possibility that he would coach the team, and the Hartford Courant reported that St. Joseph officials had serious discussions with Calhoun about its proposed program.

      "I'm not at the point of accepting or rejecting," he told USA Today. "If I thought I could help the kids there, I'd consider it."

      St. Joseph has accepted only female students until now, but it announced in June that it would begin admitting males as well in 2018. The proposed men's basketball program would operate at the Division III level.

      St. Joseph president Rhona Free released a statement, which read, "While we certainly can't think of a better person to inaugurate the University of St. Joseph's first-ever men's basketball team, right now we have nothing to announce."

  • Tre Jones becomes Duke's first recruit for 2018-19
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, August 13, 2017

    Tre Jones, the highly regarded brother of former Duke standout Tyus Jones, is following his brother's lead.

    • Tre Jones announced Sunday in a video posted on Twitter that he will play his college basketball at Duke, becoming the first member of the Blue Devils' 2018-19 class.

      Jones, who is ranked as the nation's top point guard recruit, chose Duke over UCLA, USC, Ohio State, Minnesota and Oregon. He is entering his senior season at Apple Valley High, located in Minnesota just south of Minneapolis.

      "It is the best fit for me and is everything I'm looking for in a college," Jones told ESPN.com. "They have been my dream school for years, and there is no better fit than there."

      Tyus Jones played one season at Duke and averaged 11.8 points and 5.6 assists while helping the Blue Devils win the 2015 national crown. He is entering his third season as a backup point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

      Tre Jones admitted his brother's experience was a factor in the decision-making process but not the clinching reason.

      "Tyus going there helped a little bit, for sure," Tre said. "It wasn't a major factor, though. At the end of the day, Duke is the best fit for myself."

      Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski first offered Tre Jones a scholarship in 2015, early in his sophomore year of high school. That left an impression on Jones.

      "They have had a vision (for) me since they first offered me in 2015," he said. "Their vision was something I didn't even see in myself at the time. Coach K told me how I could be a great leader and loves my passion and competitiveness.