Markelle Fultz, Dennis Smith Jr., and More Named in FBI's Explosive NCAA Corruption Case

Yahoo! Sports just published an explosive report that could alter the landscape of college basketball as we know it.

Basketballs on court.

Image via Getty/Icon Sportswire/Contributor

Basketballs on court.

The FBI is currently conducting an investigation into corruption allegations that have surrounded the world of college basketball. As part of that investigation, the FBI has taken a close look at the way former NBA agent Andy Miller was interacting with top-level college basketball recruits and players over the course of the last few years, and Yahoo! Sports published a report regarding some of the things the FBI has uncovered while looking into the way Miller and his associates at ASM Sports were conducting business prior to the FBI getting involved.

High-profile programs, current and former players named in college basketball corruption case. From @YahooForde and @PeteThamel.

— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) February 23, 2018

According to the Yahoo! Sports report that was published early Friday morning, it appears as though there are at least a dozen current NCAA basketball players—and even more former NCAA basketball players—who accepted money and other benefits from Miller and his agency either before or during their college basketball careers. It looks like about 25 players total received impermissible benefits (ranging from cash loans to meals) from ASM with players from some of the nation’s top college basketball programs, including Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, and Kansas, all listed in documents obtained by Yahoo! Sports.

Former players named in federal documents include:
Dennis Smith Jr. (NC State)
Markelle Fultz (Washington)
Bam Adebayo (Kentucky)
Isaiah Whitehead (Seton Hall)

— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) February 23, 2018

Some of the players listed in the report, like Duke’s Wendell Carter, Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, and Alabama’s Collin Sexton, are still playing college basketball now. Others, like Dennis Smith Jr. (now with the Mavericks), Isaiah Whitehead (Nets), and Markelle Fultz (76ers), are in the NBA but appear to have received money from ASM while they were still playing college basketball. Smith Jr. reportedly received more than $70,000 in loans from ASM in college, while Whitehead received more than $37,000 and Fultz received $10,000. Current and former players from Louisville, Clemson, South Carolina, Utah, Xavier, LSU, and Maryland are also listed in the report.

While most of the players and schools in the report have refused to comment on it, NCAA President Mark Emmert released a statement shortly after it was released on Friday. He said the allegations in the report "point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America."

NCAA statement on Yahoo! Sports story:

— NCAA PR (@NCAA_PR) February 23, 2018

With the 2018 NCAA Tournament just a few weeks away, this seems like it could potentially turn into a nightmare for the teams and players listed in the report as well as the NCAA as a whole. It will likely overshadow the tournament itself, and it could end up affecting the team that is crowned champion, depending on who wins the tournament and whether they have players listed in this report or other reports that are sure to come.

At the same time, there are a lot of college basketball fans responding to this report with a collective shrug. They are suggesting that this report does little more than shame the players who reportedly accepted benefits during their time in college rather than shaming the NCAA system and its archaic rules and regulations regarding players being paid and accepting "benefits" that are, in some cases, little more than lunches and other meals. The backlash against the report from that contingent of people has been strong.

This isn’t the last we’re going to hear about the FBI investigation into college basketball. But it does provide a taste of what’s to come, and whether you’re outraged over the latest Yahoo! Sports report or not, there is going to be a lot more to this story in the weeks and months ahead. Check out the full report here.

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