SAN FRANCISCO – Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott announced the conference will form its own task force to address issues in college sports in the wake of an FBI investigation that resulted in the arrests of assistant basketball coaches at Arizona and USC.
Scott said the committee would include, among others, UCLA AD Dan Guerrero, Utah AD Chris Hill, former Stanford and Cal coach Mike Montgomery, ex-football player Charles Davis and former NCAA administrator Tom Jurnstedt.
“Protection of our student-athletes and integrity are the most important priorities,” Scott said in his opening remarks at Pac-12 men’s basketball media day. “The allegations are deeply troubling. We have to use this moment to take a close look and a more careful look at what’s going on in the sport of college basketball.”
Scott said the task force would have four mandates: To educate university leaderships about the overall environment and identify issues, to develop recommendations for schools, to develop specific proposals to the NCAA that will support its own committee, and to produce proposals “to address recruiting issues … where the influence of third parties is growing.”
Montgomery, who was known to steer clear of some travel-ball figures as a coach at Stanford and Cal, said he heard of issues involving violations but never had proof.
“As long as I was coaching, I was hearing there was stuff going on,” Montgomery said. “I honestly never knew for sure if somebody got paid.”
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said he often comes up against the problem in recruiting, saying it sometimes gets to the point where a parent, handler or player himself will ask something to the effect of “Is there anything else?”
Krystkowiak said his staff “didn’t lose any sleep” when the allegations surfaced on Sept. 26, having decided previously how it was going to approach recruiting.
At the same time, Krystkowiak said he was hesistant to approach the NCAA when hearing of possible violations, saying he was unsure how much investigative power the organization has, and because “I’m a believer in karma.”
Cal coach Wyking Jones, a former Nike grassroots basketball rep, said he didn’t think shoe companies themselves are a problem, though maybe individuals within them have been.
Washington State coach Ernie Kent said he was concerned that the arrests of UA’s Book Richardson and three other coaches have blasted “four faces across the country … (indicating) it’s a black assistant coach problem.
“It’s a college basketball issue that we have an opportunity to make right.”