Ex-Florida coach Billy Donovan discusses college basketball scandal, Rick Pitino

By Adam Silverstein
September 28, 2017
Ex-Florida coach Billy Donovan discusses college basketball scandal, Rick Pitino

Image Credit: ESPN Images

The college sports world was turned on its head Tuesday when the Justice Department unveiled an extensive investigation into the world of college basketball that has already resulted in 10 arrests and multiple firings across the nation.

In short, the FBI — through an informant, wire taps and infiltration within the industry at large — uncovered what many have known for decades: college basketball prospects and coaches have long been bribed by agents, financial advisers and shoe company executives to play for certain teams and sign with particular parties once leaving school.

The far-reaching investigation is only expected to widen as the FBI and United States Attorney’s Office will likely work to turn those arrested into informants in order to expand their reach to other programs, coaches, agents, etc.

The Florida Gators have not been named thus far in the investigation, though Alabama and Auburn — two Southeastern Conference teams — are among those who already have staff members in trouble. Louisville effectively fired both head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich, while Arizona, Miami, Oklahoma State and USC are also dealing with assistants or players named in the investigation.

As a two-time national championship-winning coach who spent 19 seasons coaching Florida and was both coached and mentored by Pitino, Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan was an obvious person to ask about the scandal and ongoing investigation.

Donovan addressed the situation on Wednesday.

He also said the situation involving Pitino saddened him.

“I feel bad,” Donovan said, per ESPN. “I wouldn’t be standing where I am today without Coach Pitino, the investment he made in my life. I think the values and things that he taught me — I haven’t spoken to him. I don’t know all the things that are going on there, but him being a college coach and then working for him for five years, we’ve always remained very close, and I feel bad for all he’s dealing with and Louisville is dealing with right now.”

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