So how do you keep up with the Dukes, North Carolinas, Kansas' and Kentuckys?

You don't get caught.

Embattled LSU basketball coach Will Wade seemed to be on his way.

That was until LSU suspended him Friday after a report that Wade made remarks to a recruiting middleman on a phone call that was wiretapped as part of a federal corruption investigation.

Wade spoke with Christian Dawkins, who was convicted of fraud last year for his connection in a scheme to funnel money to the families of basketball recruits, in violation of NCAA rules. In the conversation, according to a report on Thursday by Yahoo Sports, Wade was heard boasting in colorful language that he had made a strong offer to one recruit but that he had not yet committed because someone else in his life was not getting “enough piece of the pie in the deal.”

Colorful LSU coach Dale Brown had the Tigers battling for NCAA supremacy against the likes of Indiana and Marquette along with the four mentioned above.

But in 1982, LSU assistant Ron Abernathy, on a trip to nearby Gulfport, Miss., to recruit Kenny Jimerson, the state's player of the year, reports the theft of a briefcase with $2,000 cash in it from the front seat of his unlocked van.

A youth is later arrested. Mississippi Circuit Judge James Thomas, hearing the case, sentences the defendant, but makes public his suspicions about the complainant. Thomas directs that a transcript of the trial be forwarded to the NCAA.

LSU had its own investigation, and accepted Abernathy's explanation of paying bills in Baton Rouge when he got an emergency phone call to make a recruiting trip.

A total of $1,100--all in $100 and $50 bills--was recovered and taken into evidence. A certified check for that amount was mailed to Abernathy, who wrote back, thanking the officials.

In 1984, LSU Coach Dale Brown tells of asking the chancellor of the university, James Wharton, for permission to put $150,000 in a briefcase and offer it to John Williams of Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, just to drive home the meat-market aspect of it. Brown says he's been told that Williams has been offered that much by other schools.

Wharton turns him down, saying the offer might be misinterpreted, thus proving that everyone at LSU isn't completely out of his gourd.

Sports Illustrated's cover has "Crazy Days at LSU" with a picture of Brown.

But it's been going on for years. Three young Philadelphia 76ers, Charles Barkley, Terry Catledge and Leon Wood, tell of offers they received during recruitment. Wood says he got a car at his first school, Arizona, and took it with him when he transferred to Cal State Fullerton.

Dale Brown was at his best when he had very capable assistant coaches around him. On his runs to the Final Four in 1981 and 1986, Brown had Ron Abernathy, Art Tolis and Rick Huckaby surrounding him.

By the way, Abernathy is now head coach at Humboldt High School in Tennessee. He was head coach at Lane College in Jackson, Tn. Abernathy spent two years as head coach at Tennessee State before returning to Louisiana to work for former Gov. Edwin Edwards. He then went back into coaching at the high school level in Florida.

We had our granddaughter, Emerson, at our house Sunday and Super Simple Songs was playing on the television. The third song was about who took the cookie from the cookie jar. None of the cartoon animals were tigers. I told Emmy it may have been Will Wade. She just gave me a puzzled look. I told her she would get it later.

It's a never-ending story in college basketball.

And it all depends on who you are.

Connecticut placed its men's basketball program on probation for two years back in 2011-12 and cut out one scholarship for the next two seasons by self-imposed sanctions for what it admits were major NCAA recruiting violations.

However, UConn disagreed with one of the NCAA's most notable findings, saying that the evidence doesn't support its allegations that coach Jim Calhoun failed to promote a atmosphere of compliance.

The university did acknowledge that basketball staff members made impermissible phone calls and sent text messages, as cited by the NCAA in a May report after a 15-month investigation. 

UConn also admitted that it improperly provided free game tickets to high school coaches and others.

A hearing before the NCAA is set for Oct. 15.

The NCAA  didn't like Jerry Tarkanian and they found a way to penalize UNLV.

They didn't like Dale Brown, so they found a way to drop the hammer on LSU. Not that Dale was a tough target.

I am not saying Tarkanian or Brown were innocent. But it's becoming more and more apparent, you can count the innocent folks on your left hand.

I became even more incensed after former LSU basketball player Lester Earl issued an apology in September of 2007 to Brown and then-assistant head coach Johnny Jones, and LSU in general for his role in the NCAA investigation. 

Earl claimed that the NCAA pressured him into making false claims against Brown or else he would lose years of NCAA eligibility. 

"I was pressured into telling them something. I was 19 years old at that time. The NCAA intimidated me, manipulated me into making up things, and basically encouraged me to lie, in order to be able to finish my playing career at Kansas. They told me if we don't find any dirt on Coach Brown you won't be allowed to play but one more year at Kansas. I caused great harm, heartache and difficulties for so many people. I feel sorriest for hurting Coach Brown. Coach Brown, I apologize to you for tarnishing your magnificent career at LSU."

Sounds like a John Grisham novel where the small-town law officers force a confession after hours of interrogation.

Earl certainly had his faults, but somehow that story just got swept under the rug and never made it to Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel like the latest Collegesportsgate.

Cam Newton and Terrell Pryor. Enough said. But not enough done.

All the speculation in the world does no good until everything comes to light regarding Will Wade next month.

Personally, until someone starts mentioning names, I'm taking any kind of allegations with a grain of salt.

Anyone can get air time saying "so-and-so did this." 

But when you start naming names, then your accusation has some substance.

Which has to make LSU fans really nervous about Smart's name coming up.

If I was another coach who happened to offer money to Smart, I would be very nervous right now.

Let's face it, the NCAA has had to step in with the FBI leading the way.

The NCAA is about making and protecting its money. They don't want to tear down programs that make money for them unless those programs have the gall to stand up to them or ignore them.

So they have to be going crazy having to spend that money on investigations that usually prove fruitless.

The NCAA also has to be careful because if they hammer one school for a certain violation then you better believe they better make sure another school is not violating the same rule.

And that's where the rub comes in.

If you are not bending the rules, you are not competing. It's just the way it is. And when you have teen-agers performing for almost nothing, it's hard to keep the scum from knocking on their doors.

Until the NCAA starts punishing the agents breaking the rules, reprimanding coaches who move on to other schools, or keeping boosters out of the picture, the news each day is going to be about something other than what's going on at stadiums and gyms around the country.

And you will continue to have deals made under the table.

You want to keep up with the Jones?

Just don't get caught.

 

 

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