“Just the way shoe companies sponsor AAU programs hoping that someday they’ll wear those shoes,” one coach said. “It’s possible that an agent could sponsor an AAU program hoping that their players will choose them.” Baylor head coach Scott Drew did hire Dwon Clifton, Brian’s brother, to his staff and many expected that Wall would ultimately follow Clifton there. Of course, Wall ended up at Kentucky but the tactic Drew used is perfectly legal. Many college programs have hired people with influence over a prospect. Kansas hired Mario Chalmers’ father. Kansas State hired Michael Beasley’s AAU coach. Memphis hired Dajuan Wagner’s father and Arizona State hired James Harden’s high school coach.
One common conception is that some college coaches are running around with bags of money paying off players.
And while former USC coach Tim Floyd is alleged to have paid $1,000 in cash to Rodney Guillory, an alleged runner for NBA agent Bill Duffy, in order to land former USC and current NBA guard O.J. Mayo, the coach we spoke with said it’s rare for college coaches to pay for players. “No, I don’t think college coaches are paying,” he said. “That’s the thing. I think things have shifted with elite athletes where I don’t think colleges are cheating to get elite players. I think that in some cases agents are paying the players and taking that part of the recruiting process out.” And, in fact, that is exactly what the NCAA is investigating in the Mayo case. Guillory is alleged to have provided Mayo with improper benefits via Duffy. Mayo then initially signed with Duffy, but switched allegiances after the story became public. *** Also, here’s a good story by Pete Thamel about how Ed O’Bannon is suing the NCAA on behalf of athletes seeking compensation for the use of their images and likenessess in TV ads, video games and apparel. Sonny Vaccaro approached O’Bannon about leading the suit. Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter.