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Dana O'Neil Hauls in the Anonymous Quote Motherload

Moving from college football transgressions to college basketball transgressions, Dana O'Neil was at the Peach Jam summer tournament last week, and interviewed twenty coaches off the record about the state of basketball recruiting. I don't know if Roy Williams was among them – there are a couple of quotes that sound like him, but they're also amongst the most anodyne – but no matter who's saying them, there are some interesting ones. First:

"Here's what I think happens a lot -- a team loses a kid to someone else and all of a sudden that someone else is cheating. Every time North Carolina loses a kid, someone else is cheating. It's like there's so much arrogance with them; they can't believe someone would rather go somewhere else, so the other team has to be cheating.''    

That's from a coach who argues that recruiting isn't a cesspool, but everyone thinks they are because UNC whines a lot. I don't know if he means the staff – I've never heard any complaints like that – or the fans, who don't complain any more than any other fans, or the team is just a hypothetical inserted to hide the coach's identity, but someone is very, very, bitter. And I don't think it's Roy Williams.

 Of the 20 coaches surveyed, 11 said the Big Ten was the cleanest in the country. Three others cited the land where time stood still, also known as the scholarship-less Ivy League. (Although even the Ancient Eight earned one disparaging nod: "The Ivy League,'' one coach said before pausing to add, "I mean the Ivy League a couple of years ago, before all of that stuff at Harvard.")   

Former Duke star Tommy Amaker has been the coach at Harvard since 2007. To quote Wikipedia, "Allegations of possible improper recruiting practices at Harvard arose after an article in The New York Times in March 2008, but after an investigation the Ivy League concluded that no violations of NCAA or Ivy League rules occurred, clearing Amaker and his staff."

All twenty coaches also claimed to have lost a recruit because they failed to provide a job for a family member or coach, which the NCAA will have to crack down on sooner than later. And then there are these ways for agents to funnel players money, which look likely to surface in the current football investigations:

  • Loans or lines of credit: "Say you've got a top-10 kid but you don't have a lot of money,'' one coach explained. "The agent will get a line of credit through his financial adviser for you in your name. When your kid goes pro, you pay it back.''
  • Prepaid debit cards: Slightly different than a loan, these allow an agent to offer a constant stream of cash by giving a prospect or a prospect's family member a card with a cash value that can be constantly stuffed with more money, not unlike an actual bank account. The kicker: As of now, the NCAA has no way of tracking the transaction.
"That's the latest one I've heard,'' said one coach.

The money really is seeping in from all over the place, it seems.