UPDATE: Per Rob Dauster of Ballinisahabit.net, the Houston Chronicle has obtained a quote from a former college coach who alleges that Salinas approached him about investing significant amounts of money with Salinas in exchange for steering recruits to his program.
According to CBS Sports, Gonzaga assistant coach Ray Giacoletti invested money with a Texas financial adviser who also ran an AAU basketball program that cultivated the career of Zag player Demetri Goodson.
That's just a bad way to start out a new week.
By now, you're all aware that on Sunday night Goodman and
Bernstein Parrish dropped a relatively quiet (but probably deadly) bomb in the Year of The Scandal. David Salinas, found dead on Sunday, was an investment adviser to at least ten college basketball coaches. He also happened to be a co-founder of the Houston Select AAU basketball program.
According to its website, Houston Select has spat out dozens of Division I caliber players since 1992. Some of those players ended up attending schools coached by those who were simultaneously investing money with Salinas.
more after the jump...
Adding to the drama is that Salinas was under investigation by the SEC for fraud, and he is believed to have killed himself. An autopsy is pending.
Among the most prominent coaches who invested with Salinas are Baylor's Scott Drew, Arizona's Lute Olson (really?), Texas Tech's Billy Gillispie, Nebraska's Doc Sadler, and Giacoletti.
As of 2009 -- Houston Select's website's most up to date rosters are from two years ago -- each of those coaches have also wound up landing players who played on one one of Salinas' teams.
Undoubtedly, this will turn into a protracted and convoluted mess, with several organizations tackling different avenues of the investigation. The SEC will investigate the alleged Ponzi scheme, local law enforcement will investigate the death, and the NCAA will investigate why in God's Sweet Earth an AAU curator was knowingly investing money on behalf of the coaches of some of the schools that his program was funneling players to.
Essentially, this means college sports fans will have to live with yet another interminable fall out of yet another scandal.
For Gonzaga, of course, this means something different and much more serious altogether.
While I'm not trying to pull a SportsByBrooks here, no one in local media seems to be writing about this. Whether or not that's due to ignorance, the desire not to ruffle any feathers with the school, or because they know things that they can't report, the result of that non-reportage is the ignorance of a new reality that needs to be addressed:
Gonzaga's name is now officially situated in that broad area of haze somewhere between total innocence and outright guilt.
Without accusing Giacoletti of any direct wrongdoing, this is arguably the first time in the Modern Zag Era that GU has been publicly linked to a seriously high-level shady situation.
Whether or not something illegal was done, this is evidence supporting an idea that has been mostly tacitly acknowledged for sometime: As a result of sustained success at the Division I level, the program is being exposed to some of the more colorful aspects of elite college sports' sordid underbelly.
This is a headache for Gonzaga no matter what happens. The NCAA is going to be on the implicated programs like a wet-blanket, and The Association sniffing around even the cleanest institutions is an unenviable prospect; when they've put their mind to it, recently, they've been unusually prolific at finding wrongdoing.
I find it hard to believe that a well-liked guy like coach Giacoletti would make some sort of circuitous pay off for Meech's services, especially since it was Leon Rice, not Giacoletti, who led recruiting efforts to land Meech.
He also receives my sympathies in regards to what I can only assume was a swindling of mass-proportions. Unnamed coach/investors quoted in the CBS piece say they fear they got "Madoffed." One of them went so far as to express an outright lack of concern over any NCAA fallout.
Chances are he'll be revising that comment shortly.
It is possible that Giacoletti just happened to invest with a guy who also developed elite level high-school basketball players on the side, and those who played for the investor just happened to find their way to the programs of those people whose portfolios said investor advised.
Just reading that sentence over again, however, makes me doubt its very validity.
There's a chance that no news will come of this. But if any does, it's going to be really bad.