Tim Miles

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles hopes the NCAA does something about the recent revelations that schools are paying for recruits. 

LINCOLN — Tim Miles has been a head coach for two decades, so he knows when the recruitment of a player starts to feel sketchy.

“You know when you’re dancing with the devil,” Miles said Monday. “You might suspect it like, eh, this one is a little funky here. Like, why is this kid interested in us, and whatever it may be. And then pretty soon somebody asks for something and we’re like, ‘No, sorry, we don’t play that game.’ ”

Other schools, though, appear to be playing that game. College basketball has been rocked since an FBI investigation completed last year alleged that shoe companies help fund commitments of high-profile recruits. Adidas executive Jim Gatto, former Adidas consultant Merl Code and aspiring agent Christian Dawkins were found guilty last week of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The verdict meant schools associated with those men, primarily Adidas schools Louisville, Kansas and North Carolina State, were the victims of fraud. The prosecution concluded that “if the universities had known about the defendants’ secret payments, they would have never issued scholarships.” Other schools named in court included Creighton, Duke, North Carolina, Iowa State, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, LSU, Maryland, Xavier, Wichita State, Clemson, Notre Dame and Virginia, among others.

Miles said the verdict wasn’t surprising. It was disappointing.

“Honestly it’s very distressing, it’s sad, it’s upsetting to me to see the layers of things that have gone on illegally,” Miles said. “This isn’t as much amateurism as it is about, just, ‘Let’s do the right thing.’ And you look at the layers of this thing, runners and agents and financial guys, this is well beyond just a shoe company saying these schools are going to be our schools, let’s take care of them. It’s everything. And so it’s just sad.”

Miles said dirty recruiting has been going on forever. And it’s time now, with these more recent cases coming to light by the FBI, to do something about it. He wants the NCAA to set a precedent and punish schools that have been caught.

“Get the cheaters out of the game,” Miles said. “There’s an institutionalism of some of that stuff as we’ve seen. This shoe company is going to take care of these certain schools, and that’s just the way it is. And that’s even disappointing and they think that’s fine. The shoe companies, everybody, but it’s not fine, obviously.”

Creighton is knee-deep in this situation. The Jays recruited Brian Bowen for two years and were named in the FBI investigation for allegedly offering the Bowen family $100,000 and a job for Bowen’s father. Creighton is in the middle of an internal investigation on the matter, and coach Greg McDermott has said in a statement that he’s never purposely violated NCAA rules and would never allow a staff member to do so.

But on Sunday, ESPN reported that Dawkins was in regular communication with McDermott, Creighton assistant Preston Murphy and former Creighton star Justin Patton from May 2017 to July 2017.

Creighton issued this statement to ESPN: “The university is working jointly with the NCAA to evaluate the matter and will continue to work within the association’s processes. We will have no further comment until that process is completed.”

Miles, without being asked about Creighton, said what is going on there is “their business.”

“We don’t operate that way,” Miles said. “It’s just sad and I think, again, like I look at anything, it’s a contraction to expand and flourish to be even better, I hope.”

Miles said what makes him most upset is the idea that families and coaches are taking the joy out of a kid’s recruitment. Bowen, Miles said, wanted to go to Michigan State or Arizona. He ended up at Louisville, in an alleged pay-for-play deal with the Cardinals.

“Where’s the joy in going to Louisville? You’ve robbed that kid of that decision,” Miles said. “We all have certain rules and guidelines you have to live by. And hopefully the NCAA comes out strong.”

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