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South Florida under investigation for academic fraud

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South Florida has had very little success since former Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua took over as head coach in 2014. The Bulls are 17-48 (.262 win percentage) in the last two seasons, and haven’t won more than four games in AAC play.

Now, the Bulls are dealing with an even more concerning problem as the program is reportedly being investigated in relation to potential academic fraud. Antigua’s brother, Oliver, has not been allowed to go out on the road to recruit, and later resigned from his position as assistant coach, according to ESPN.

According to the report, South Florida could lose more than just Oliver.

The school issued a statement about the NCAA investigation, which Goodman included in his report: “Because the University of South Florida is committed to protecting the integrity of the investigation and ensuring those involved receive fair treatment, we cannot provide any details about the investigation at this time.”

Per Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times, the NCAA investigation “is believed to involve players on the current roster,” and “other departures could follow” after Antigua’s resignation.

This doesn’t just put the future of the players in jeopardy, this also directly impacts Orlando and his staff. If the allegations do turn out to be true, it’s hard to believe that Orlando is not directly involved, especially given his brother’s resignation. And even if Orlando was clueless about the fraud, nowadays head coaches are supposed to know every single detail and action that is happening within the program.

That’s why Jim Boeheim was suspended. That’s why Larry Brown was suspended. That’s why some are calling for Rick Pitino’s job.

This news is also coming out at the worst possible time for the Bulls, as 1) they could be a strong candidate to join the Big 12, and 2) they have a solid roster that could take a step forward in the AAC this upcoming season.

When it comes to moving into the Big 12, USF doesn’t seem to be the perfect school. However, there are positives that other colleges cannot match. The Bulls are located in Florida, which is a prime location for recruiting, and they are also located in a decent market in Tampa.

Sure, they would have to compete with Florida State and Florida, but isn’t that something the Big 12 should be looking at, expanding their horizon to try to make some money where other conferences are making THEIR cash?

But with these recent allegations, the Big 12 is surely not going to want to add a program that has question marks moving forward. They have other solid options like BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, UConn, and so on that don’t have a scandal hanging over their heads.

Meanwhile, the roster for this upcoming season is much improved. Guard Geno Thorpe is eligible after transferring from Penn State, rising sophomore Jahmal McMurray is back after testing out the NBA Draft pool, and the Bulls add three freshman, including four-star 6’8″ small forward Troy Baxter.

The Bulls obviously won’t compete nationally and aren’t likely to be in the mix for the NCAA Tournament, but it will certainly be a step in the right direction to win more than nine games (if it does indeed happen).

So it’s bad timing all around, and it could take a turn for the worst if Orlando also loses his job in the near future.

I am a college basketball fanatic and a current St. John's University student. I also write for Rumble in the Garden and I am the editor of Busting Brackets FanSided.

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NCAA Basketball

Louisiana Tech Sports Facilities Damaged by Tornado

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A deadly tornado, which has been linked to the death of at least 5 people across two states, damaged several sports facilities located on the campus of Louisiana Tech, according to ESPN.

While no injuries have been reported among the students at the school, two people were killed when the storm ripped through Ruston, Louisiana and caused a tree to fall onto their home.

The school is closed on Thursday and Friday, and the following images were shared on Twitter by the Athletic’s Department, showcasing some of the damage.

National Weather Service hydrologist C. S. Ross said that the deadly tornado cut a track over 130 miles from eastern Texas to near the Louisiana-Arkansas border.

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NCAA Basketball

Video Surfaces Showing Agent Christian Dawkins Promoting Connections to Top Coaches

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Another layer has unraveled in the college basketball corruption trial on Wednesday when a video recording of a conversation about paying college coaches and athletes was played on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Paula Lavigne.

In the video dated June 6th 2017, aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins brags about his connections to top NCAA basketball coaches, including Arizona head coach Seam Miller.

When referring to incoming (at the time) Arizona player Deandre Ayton (who currently plays for the Phoenix Suns) Dawkins says Miller told him, “I’m taking care of everything myself. I wanna bring you in. I’ll turn everything over to you.”

Dawkins is currently on trial for allegedly bribing college coaches.

Marty Blazer, a former financial advisor who was being questioned by prosecutors and who was present for the conversation, said the reference was about Miller “taking care” of payments for Ayton.

“Sean Miller has to know everything that’s going on. I can call Sean and have a conversation … like this is what is needing to be done,” Dawkins said on the video. He said that Miller is, “talking on the phone about stuff he shouldn’t be talking on the phone about.”

Unites States District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled back on Friday that defense attorneys could not subpoena Miller and LSU’s Will Wade to testify during the federal bribery trial.

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NCAA Basketball

Rick Barnes Says He Would Have Left Tennessee if UCLA Paid Buyout

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Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes could have been the next head coach for UCLA, instead of Mick Cronin, if only the Bruins were willing to open up their wallets.

Barnes says that if UCLA would have promised to pay Barnes’ $5 million buyout, he would have left Tennessee to take the job at UCLA.

“I think I would’ve been the coach at UCLA,” Barnes said (h/t ESPN). “I’ve said that to people before. I really felt at that time that’s what would happen.”

Barnes was honest and open with his decision process during the news conference, saying that he struggled with making a final decision due to financial matters.

Barnes has since agreed to a new deal with Tennessee that will pay him $4 million per year before increasing to a $6 million annual sum by the end of the contract and provide more cash for his assistants.

“I’m supposed to be at Tennessee,” Barnes said. “And it’s really above and beyond the basketball program. I’m in love with this community. I’m in love with this state. I just think we got a lot of great things going on in this town.”

“A lot of praying went into it, I can tell you that,” Barnes said. “There was a lot going on. When you get down to a situation like that, it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. Bottom line is we couldn’t work it out with the buyout.”

Barnes also informed UCLA that he would not depart Knoxville without talking to athletic director Phillip Fulmer and others in the community.

I told them point blank, ‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with my team,'” Barnes said. “‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with people here that have been really good to me.’ … I said, ‘You just can’t say send a plane tomorrow and we’re leaving. I’m going to make sure this is done the right way.'”

“There was one time in my mind I truly felt that’s what would happen,” Barnes said about potentially taking the UCLA offer. “It got to that point where I felt like my prayers had been answered.”

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