Alabama Basketball: Will Collin Sexton sit against Arkansas or worse?


Will the FBI probe into college basketball impact Alabama basketball again? Collin Sexton faces eligibility concerns over impermissible benefits.

Alabama basketball fans who have not followed the FBI probe since Auburn’s Chuck Person was arrested have a lot of catching up to do. Recent reports are that 20 or more top college basketball programs may have player eligibility issues.

Alabama basketball could lose Collin Sexton to an additional school-imposed suspension. The University of Alabama suspended Sexton early in the season for a minor violation uncovered by the FBI probe. Arranged through then Alabama basketball staff member, Kobie Baker, Sexton’s father met with a financial advisor about a future representation of Collin once he turns professional. No money changed hands but the meal for Collin’s father was paid by the prospective agent. The cost of the meal was reimbursed by the Sexton family and there seemed to be no future eligibility implication.

At least 20 Div. 1 schools and more than 25 players

Early Friday morning, Yahoo Sports reported a large number of potential violations were discovered by the FBI while investigating “former NBA agent Andy Miller, his former associate Christian Dawkins.” According to Yahoo, at least 20 schools and more than 25 players may have received impermissible benefits.

The worst of the allegations involve loans to players’ families, some reported to be as high as $73,500 dollars. The Sexton family is not one of the players reported to have received any money in loans. The Sexton family was on a shorter list of those having had meals with Dawkins. It is presumed Dawkins paid for the meals.

The University of Alabama has not issued a statement in response to this information. It appears the best case scenario for Sexton would be repayment of the cost of the meal and another one-game suspension for Collin.

What about the NCAA response

The scope of the FBI probe is so broad, the NCAA so far can only struggle to keep up with the avalanche of information. Due to the ongoing criminal prosecutions, not all information is public. It is presumed the FBI is sharing information with the NCAA. The Yahoo story commented on the NCAA,

"No one is certain how the NCAA enforcement office would potentially handle the cases. The NCAA has been in constant contact with the feds but so far has had minimal direct involvement with the case, as it has been careful to respect the boundaries of the criminal investigations. The likely scenario, according to Brown (Atlanta lawyer with NCAA experience), would be for the schools to assess the credibility of what’s in the documents and the severity of the potential violations."

The criminal prosecutions will drag on for the next couple of years. Any future NCAA action will take at least as long. The biggest problem for college basketball is, of course, a damaged reputation. It is fair to project several coaches will lose jobs. Wins will be eventually vacated, including upcoming wins in this season’s NCAA Tournament.

NCAA will struggle to respond

The terrain is a quagmire for the NCAA. It does not have the staff resources to investigate so many potential violations in a timely matter. Some are suggesting how the NCAA responds will impact the future credibility of the organization. The NCAA Tournament is a ‘cash cow’ for the NCAA and this year’s winner might end up having to vacate its title.

For Alabama basketball fans, we can hope the worst for Tide basketball is the cost of some meals. If that is the extent of the problem, Collin Sexton should have only a short suspension.

Next: Crimson Tide looks toward Hawaii again

With or without Collin Sexton, Alabama basketball must win at least one of its next three games or two of the next five games (counting the SEC Tournament) to make the NCAA field. That will be tough with Collin Sexton and tougher if he has to miss one or more games.