CRAWFORD | Congressional committee wants hearing with NCAA, shoe companies
A congressional committee wants an update from NCAA and apparel company officials on efforts to curb corruption after a recent federal investigation kicked of a widespread scandal college basketball.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Two members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have asked for a hearing with officials from the NCAA and any companies involved with the federal bribery, fraud and corruption scandal unsealed this week in New York.
Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon and the committee chairman, and Democrat Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, the committee’s ranking member, released a joint announcement on Thursday.
"The federal government's investigation into sports companies and basketball coaches at numerous colleges across the nation is extremely troubling and puts into serious question the NCAA's ability to oversee its own institutions,” the statement reads. “In addition to any criminal activities, these allegations raise concerns about the effects of these predatory schemes on youth athletes and how hidden financial connections between advertisers and endorsers influence young consumers. We are requesting that the NCAA and the involved companies brief the committee on the actions they are taking to ensure that similar schemes are not happening in other sports, and how they intend to prevent it from happening in the future."
The committee in the past has heard coaches like UNLV’s Jerry Tarkanian and LSU’s Dale Brown on the subject of the NCAA’s enforcement of its own rules, and in 2009 an Energy and Commerce subcommittee approved a bill that would have prohibited the NCAA from calling its championship game a “national championship” without a playoff system in place.
Because sports are considered interstate commerce, Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives congress wide jurisdiction in sports matters.
No federal law enforcement groups have been asked to update the committee. Four college basketball coaches and six other men were charged with a variety of fraud and money laundering charges on Tuesday. University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were both placed on administrative leave and are expected to be dismissed from the university after the investigation alleged that coaches from the school were involved in a scheme to lure big-name recruits with money funneled through the shoe company adidas.
Pitino has denied wrongdoing. Jurich was not implicated in the complaint.
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