This is how it starts.
An ESPN.com report from Jeff Borzello, dated Oct. 7, indicates that five-star, Class of 2018 prospect Jahvon Quinerly, who currently is committed to Arizona, has hired a lawyer in response to the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.
According to Borzello, Quinerly, who was briefly recruited by Kansas — KU offered Quinerly a scholarship in August of 2016 and continued to recruit him through April of 2017 — has not been contacted by federal agents and it is important to note that there was nothing in the FBI’s initial findings directly linking the five-star point guard to any wrong-doing.
But the mere fact that he and his family feel the need to hire legal representation shows you, yet again, just how serious this thing could get.
Picture this: Here’s a young man on the brink of his senior season of high school basketball who just committed to Arizona after being wooed by some of the biggest and baddest college basketball programs in the land. Quinerly should be having the time of his life. Instead, he has hired a lawyer and is reading things with his name attached to them that reference the potential for him to miss some or even all of his freshman season of college ball if there’s even so much as the smallest link between him and the corruption that already took down Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson.
Talk about scary times.
According to Borzello’s report, Quinerly was recruited by Richardson, one of four assistants at four schools who were named in the initial findings, and investigation documents allege that a $15,000 bribe was paid by Richardson to “Player-5,” who “verbally committed to attending” Arizona “on or about August 9, 2017.”
According to 247 Sports, Quinerly committed to Arizona on Aug. 8.
For now, there is nothing concrete about Quinerly’s involvement in any of this. But the simple act of putting two and two together sure makes it look like there could be something there.
And if there is, you can add another party to the long list of players who have the potential to blow this thing wide open, a list that now includes federal investigators, high school recruits, current college players, former college players, head coaches, assistant coaches, fired coaches, administrators, parents, shoe company executives and more.
I mean, Quinerly might be the absolute best young man in America, but if the feds are able to prove he was involved in this corruption, it’s not hard to imagine the New Jersey point guard sharing everything he knows, good and bad, with eager investigators.
A New York Post report from Sept. 30 tells the story of a father of an unnamed former Louisville standout who claims his son was offered $100,000 “by someone from a rival of Louisville’s,” during his recruitment.
While the identity of that Louisville "rival" certainly is intriguing, it's hardly the most important part of the story. What is is the fact that this kind of behavior has been going on for some time now (big surprise, right?) and more and more people are slowly starting to tell their stories.
In the New York Post story, the father also claims that “while Adidas had no impact on my son’s decision to go to Louisville, other kids he played with in AAU were definitely led by sneaker companies. I saw it all the time. Their influence runs very deep — especially with families that don’t have means.”
With Twitter messages from national college basketball reporters and even the likes of college hoops guru Dick Vitale starting to surface about the likelihood that more names soon will be implicated in the scandal that could change college basketball forever, it appears as if this story is likely to get more intense as the days go by.
During the 13 months that I’ve covered him, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis has proven himself to be 100 percent honest. It’s one of his most solid characteristics and one of the things on which he prides himself.
Another is his ability to read people, build relationships and have an impact on the lives of hundreds of young men throughout the past few decades.
That’s what makes today’s Deadspin story about the tale of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s girlfriend being a hoax seem like such an unbelievable thing.
Although Weis has talked very little about Notre Dame since taking over at Kansas in December of 2011, he has answered questions when asked and talked, both publicly and privately, about how much he values his relationship with Te’o and his family.
Weis certainly had nothing to do with any of this, but I can only imagine how much hearing this news hurts him emotionally, given the strong bond he has with the Te'o family, and how much it will really hurt him if it turns out to be true.
No one knows what to think right now but this much we do know: Deadspin’s report was wonderfully done and, if accurate, brings shame to the entire Te’o family.
Here's the official statement from Notre Dame released just moments ago:
Notre Dame Statement: Manti Te’o
On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te’o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators.
Dennis Brown University Spokesman | Assistant Vice President
Statement from Manti Te'o:
"This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her.
"To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.
"It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life.
"I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been.
"In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was.
"Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I'm looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft."