University of South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner says his school is not a target of #HoopsGate – the ongoing criminal investigation into corruption in NCAA men’s college basketball.
“The University of South Carolina has been made aware that it is not the target of the Department of Justice investigation and we have received no information to indicate that any current or former member of the USC staff is involved in the federal investigation, other than the previously identified former assistant coach, Lamont Evans,” Tanner said in a statement.
If that’s true, it’s a huge relief to Gamecock fans.
Of course “not being the target of a federal investigation” is a far cry from being totally in the clear when it comes to possible NCAA violations or sanctions, so we’ll continue to keep tabs on this ongoing investigation as it unfolds.
Evans – who coached at South Carolina from 2012-2016 – was arrested earlier this week in connection with a nationwide federal dragnet that nabbed several other assistant coaches, apparel executives, agents and financial advisors. The suspended Oklahoma State assistant coach is accused of accepting money from agents and financial advisors in exchange for his ability to “direct and influence certain student-athletes.”
The goal of this “direction and influence?” Getting the players he recruited to sign deals with certain agents, financial advisors and apparel companies.
#HoopsGate has already brought down legendary college basketball coach Rick Pitino, who won a national championship four years ago at Louisville.
Tanner added that the school would be retaining an “independent third party that specializes in NCAA matters” to conduct a review of the school’s exposure to the ongoing probe.
“Our review will be conducted in coordination with the Department of Justice and the NCAA in a collaborative manner,” adding that the inquiry is intended to “to proactively demonstrate our commitment to integrity and compliance.”
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Banner via Travis Bell Photography