Clemson University

College basketball recruiting is still dirty, Clemson coach says

Could Clemson one day be known as a basketball school?

Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell discusses the Tigers' success in relation to the football program.
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Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell discusses the Tigers' success in relation to the football program.

There was speculation that college basketball recruiting would be cleaned up after the FBI investigation into the sport started in September of 2017.

A year later, Clemson coach Brad Brownell says not much has changed as far as the sport being cleaned up.

“I think maybe for a short time, guys had their guard up a little bit,” Brownell said Wednesday during Clemson golf media day at The Reserve at Lake Keowee. “But I’ve always said, the guys that are going to cheat are going to cheat.”

Brownell believes that it is becoming harder and harder to run a clean program and be successful, and he pointed to former Georgia coach Mark Fox as an example of a coach who did things the right way but still lost his job.

Brownell is close friends with former Fox, and his son Parker plays on Brownell’s team.

“If you want to test your moral character, be making the kind of money we’re making and then lose your job because you’re doing things the right way,” Brownell said. “You just lost $2 million. You want to test your integrity? Test that.”

Brownell did not mention any names or schools in particular that are cheating behind the scenes, but he did say that it is hard for college coaches that are following the rules and doing the things the right way to land top prospects.

“It’s a tough situation now to be running these kinds of programs and to know that there are things going on and you work your tail off and you might recruit kids for years. The amount of times you drive to a place, the time you spent away from your family, you’re at all these events — and you don’t get a kid?” Brownell said. “Spending three years of your life recruiting people? That’s hard. That’s really hard. And it didn’t come down to anything you can control? That’s hard. And then you play against guys like that? You see them in another jersey? Tough situation.”

His comments come as a criminal trial about corruption in college basketball takes place in New York.

“Christian Dawkins, former amateur coach Merl Code and former Adidas executive James Gatto, have pleaded not guilty to charges they sought to use under-the-table payments of up to $100,000 from Adidas in exchange for commitments from top prospects to Adidas-sponsored programs seen as a path to the pros,” The Associated Press wrote in a story published this week. “Their lawyers haven’t disputed that payments were offered, but they argue that the schools never suffered any harm.”