Len Elmore Offers Deterrent To Recruiting Scandals

“I guarantee you that would be the end of it," Elmore said, "the absolute end of it.”

Tiki and Tierney
March 27, 2019 - 6:58 pm

USA Today Images


From Brian Bowen and Adidas to Michael Avenatti and Nike, scandal is nothing new for shoe companies and college basketball. In fact, the two are often intertwined – and have a negative impact on the sport.

“I think the long-term impact is dependent on the commitment of the NCAA and, to a certain extent, to law enforcement,” CBS Sports college basketball analyst Len Elmore said on Tiki & Tierney. “Is it important enough for them to really dig in and to prosecute wrongdoers? That’s really what it comes down to. You have to establish a deterrent.”

As Elmore can attest, college basketball recruiting scandals are about as old as the sport itself.

“The culture goes all the way into youth basketball, and that’s where the digging needs to be done,” Elmore said. “Every single time, it’s always an involvement with the shoe companies, but it’s the youth basketball folks that are equally as involved and culpable in getting there. And the culture just continues into college, where these kids are pretty much bought and sold. You heard so many rumors about so many top players, including Zion Williamson, and it’s just a question of whether or not the unique relationship that the shoe companies have with institutions – members of the NCAA and with the pros – whether or not there’s a commitment to try to clean this up. If not, it’s going to continue. If there are no deterrents out there, (it’s going to continue).”

Elmore believes that shoe companies, coaches – and players – need to be punished if they are found guilty of wrongdoing.

“If you’re educated enough and you’re frightened enough that there’s something to lose, (you’ll think twice about doing it),” Elmore said. “Right now, there’s nothing to lose for the young people who accept this money – or the people around them that accept it. I’ve always said if you can get the union to recognize these same people who are exploiting these kids – they’re exploiting pros as well. Ask Tim Duncan. Ask Kevin Garnett and some of these other folks. If they’re exploiting those guys, then why don’t you help out? Maybe you put together a penalty that, if a young person is caught taking the money, they’re just as culpable.”

Which would mean what, exactly?

“Maybe you can delay their draft status one year or two years,” Elmore said. “I guarantee you that would be the end of it – the absolute end of it.”