The FBI exposed a black market in college sports that disregarded NCAA rules prohibiting the compensation of players in order to bring in talent, in possibly the biggest college athletic scandal in history.
the big picture
Hundreds of thousands of dollars were used to bribe athletes to attend schools where shoe companies had contracts, or to convince athletes to sign with specific agents once they entered the NBA, or to provide money to families when the athlete agreed to sign with a school.
how it went down
Corrupt coaches, mostly assistants, would accept bribes in exchange for pushing star players to sign contracts when they turned pro (and the big money started).
why it’s so bad
Rule-breaking, and the subsequent lack of parity in play is bad enough; add to this the trust players have for their coaches, and the way in which coaches violated this trust by steering their players toward corrupt agents–all for a fee.
a few examples
An agent arranged for Adidas to pay $100,000 to an athlete if he committed to a school and signed with Adidas once he turned pro.
An associate head coach accepted $100,000 from a financial advisor to push his top players to sign with the guy after leaving college.
The FBI investigation resulted in the NCAA quickly assembling a commission that would address fundamental problems uncovered by the probe.