Michigan State coach Tom Izzo on the ongoing investigation into college basketball by federal authorities. Matt Charboneau
East Lansing – College basketball teams around the nation started practicing on Friday, including at Michigan State.
And while getting on the court was refreshing for the Spartans, the recent announcement of FBI investigations into a recruiting scandal that includes several high-profile coaches and programs has cast a bit of a cloud over the game.
Michigan State isn’t included in any of the investigation or charges, but coach Tom Izzo was hardly feeling good about the situation.
“Disappointment would be the first word I’d use. I’m disappointed because I don’t know if anything is any good when it kind of gives you a black eye for your profession,” Izzo said before practice. “I’m not sure I would ever hope something that negative has to be done to clean it up. But to be honest, I know very little more than you guys. This is a new frontier that I haven’t seen in a long, long time. I wasn’t around with the gambling of many, many years ago when the federal government got involved.
“It’s disappointing from what I’ve read and what I’ve heard, but right now I’m gonna just focus in on our team, what we do in practice and focus in on that football game tomorrow and see where it takes us. … Right now so many things are being thrown around. Some think there’s a lot more to come and some don’t. Sad would be the best word for me right now.”
The FBI investigation has already led to multiple arrests and federal raids. Louisville coach Rick Pitino was placed on administrative leave, and the possibility of more marquee job losses are to come as several assistants have been fired, as well.
Izzo is heavily involved in several coaching boards and said it will lead to more meetings and hopefully to better days for the game.
I don't think anybody has their arms around it yet or the depth of it or what actually is going on,” Izzo said. “It's hard to do anything or accuse anybody of anything until you really know is going on. Some of these things that they print and write that are already etched in stone, those things aren't good. Why are they happening? I've got my own reasons on some things that have happened, they're just getting more and more out of control.
“If this reels us back and makes us relook at some things and figure out what our summers are like and how we can get things better for both the players and coaches and everyone else, then there's a benefit for us. I wouldn't say it's great because of the negative-ness of it, but we all learn from something that's hit home, and this has hit home. We can have those discussions when I get my arms around it, we can have a press conference, and I would be more than happy to answer it, I really would.”