By the time Southeast Missouri State head coach Rick Ray woke up Tuesday morning, the college basketball world had been thrown into turmoil.
The FBI announced on Tuesday that it is investigating 10 individuals around college basketball in a federal corruption case. Four assistant coaches and three adidas employees are among those charged with funneling money to players in exchange for college commitments or signing deals with agents. The coaches are from USC, Arizona, Auburn, and Oklahoma State, but other unnamed colleges (presumably Louisville is among them) are under investigation as well.
The FBI also opened a tip line for anyone who has more information and indicated that the investigation is not over — more schools and coaches are likely to come under the microscope.
In response, Ray tweeted the following:
College basketball's FBI news... pic.twitter.com/raxuHVLILQ— Rick Ray (@RickRay1) September 26, 2017
The full statement:
I am on the West coast recruiting and woke up to another scandal in college basketball. I am saddened by this news because it does nothing but bolster the pervasive thoughts of many about our profession...that we ALL cheat! Which is simply not true but stories like this continue to come out that do nothing but stain and taint our game.
This type of behavior affects us all because there are really outstanding coaches being driven out of our game because they refuse to participate in this type of behavior. AND, there are other terrific coaches that are out of our business because they chose to take the road of dishonesty to obtain players, got caught, then got fired. Which is a catch 22 because good players are THE most important ingredient to winning, whether you recruited them and/or developed them.
Greed is one of the seven deadly sins. It unfortunately is what is driving SOME of us in the coaching ranks instead of our purpose, to help and mentor student-athletes become the best player they can be ON the court and the best person they can be OFF the court.
And please save the rhetoric about the NCAA rules are antiquated and that the system is broken. That may or may not be the case but there are rules and our thoughts about said rules does not give us permission to break those rules.
Lastly, there are some coaches really sweating right now. The FBI is undefeated!
Ray, specifically, is a strong candidate to deliver this statement, given his quick and ultimately unsuccessful tenure at Mississippi State. Presumably he would say about his three years with the Bulldogs that he refused “to participate in this type of behavior,” as he put it in his statement above. Now, Ray is two years into a rebuilding project at Southeast Missouri State. The Redhawks went 5-24 in his first season but improved to 15-18 last year.
His last point, while the most ominous, is probably the scariest of all for the basketball world. This is not over. Other coaches and agents will be investigated. Shoe companies will be examined. People will lose their jobs.
Hopefully the people who take their places aren’t driven by the same greed that Ray called out.