Ever since the initial FBI allegations came out the college basketball world has been waiting for the other shoe to drop. This morning Pete Thamel and Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports obliged.
Documents from the FBI investigation show that dozens of players were paid by ASM sports agency including former Husky Markelle Fultz.
Fultz is listed on a balance sheet as having received $10,000 from ASM prior to December 31, 2015. That means he would have received the money before setting foot on the Washington campus. Fultz ultimately did not sign with ASM and went with Raymond Brothers of I Am Sports & Entertainment.
The most important thing for Husky fans is that this does not in any way prove that Washington had knowledge of the payment or that they attempted to pay Fultz in order to get him to come to Seattle. That can’t be ruled out but it is unrelated to today’s news at this time.
Payments from agents to players have been a very poorly kept secret where agents would “loan” players money with the hopes that it increases their chances of signing with the agency once the player turns pro. In the case of Fultz it appears that he took the money and ultimately decided to go in a different direction.
The University of Washington released a statement this morning saying they would cooperate with any investigation but did not outright deny any knowledge of the situation. Yahoo says they reached out to the school but did not receive a response prior to publishing the story.
If this information holds true, and there’s no reason to think it won’t, it means that Fultz would not have been eligible during his time at Washington. The typical response from the NCAA in such a situation would be to vacate the wins from the program while the ineligible player participated. However, UW fans would throw a parade if the NCAA takes the stain of a 9-22 season off the record books.
Former Husky Dejounte Murray’s name also appeared in the documents on an expense report for March 2-25, 2016 as having received $500. Murray played his last game for Washington on March 21st and declared for the NBA draft on March 23rd of that year. It is possible that the money was part of an attempt to sign Murray after he had finished his UW career and made up his mind about going pro.
If (and that’s a large if for every program) this is the only thing that comes up tying the Huskies to the FBI investigation then I don’t expect it to have a long-term impact on the program. Given the number of different schools listed in today’s report I’d be shocked if they wipe away the records of everyone named. The bigger problem is for programs with current players. That isn’t a problem for the Huskies with Fultz and Murray already in the NBA.
We’ll keep you up to date as more information comes available in the coming days and months.
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