"Perhaps the most revealing part of the past 48 hours came from numerous conversations with coaches and assistants throughout the sport. There’s a near-universal admission that they had no sense that the activities of coaches, agents and sneaker company reps were against the law. (The NCAA’s impotent enforcement department had been incapable of policing the grassroots underworld for decades.) The culture of the activities described in the federal court documents – buying players, steering players and brokering deals for kickbacks – has become such an engrained part of the sport’s culture that there was widespread shock that it was raised to federal government implications. The activities the feds are investigating, to many in college basketball, were considered business as usual."
This sentiment drives me absolutely crazy. Let me say this, at the outset, I do believe significant reform is in order, something along the lines of compensating players on some level moving forward. However, up until now, with the rules in place as we know and understand them, these guys either had their heads so far up one direction or so far down in the sand, it's baffling. Not thinking something's illegal is not a viable defense, ever, for anyone. Besides, these guys knew it was at least against the rules of their sanctioning body, but apparently they've long since given any thought to that.
"We knew were breaking the NCAA rules, no worries, but if we'd known our actions constituted widespread, (illegal) fraud, we surely wouldn't have done it."
Good, decent people, unfortunately, are also the victims here. The fallout isn't just limited to a handful of recruits, their schools, their families, and their sneaker companies. Fans and a majority of boosters, even students, dutifully bought tickets, merchandise, made contributions, sat through commercials of sponsors of the games they were interested in watching. They did all of these things with rightful hope and expectation that the sport was being conducted on the up-and-up, that the seedy underbelly that we have all suspected, was just that: the underside of the sport. Nobody wanted to believe or had any necessary reason to suspect basketball was this fraught with corruption.
Does eighty years seem like a long time for one of these guys to spend in prison? Yeah. But, consider the full mathematical fallout in the situation. How many 100's of thousands of fans were bilked out of a cumulative tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of their hard-earned dollars? Money they spent because they had honest hope that the outcome of this game could go either way, more easily than it has.
In short, to those in and around the periphery of the sport, that had knowledge of and were involved in ushering in this heinous activity: