Izzo discouraged by FBI probe, wants more information
Tom Izzo hasn’t placed a firm grasp around the alleged college basketball scandal, but he said he is discouraged by the recent reports surrounding the sport.
“Well, disappointment would be the first word I’d use,” Izzo said on Friday as MSU began official practices. “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, whether it be yours or mine. I’m not sure that I would ever hope something that negative has to be done to clean it up.”
The scandal surfaced last Tuesday, as several assistant Division I coaches, athletic apparel executives and financial advisers were arrested by the FBI on a variety of charges.
The University of Louisville, which allegedly paid former MSU target Brian Bowen $100,000 for his commitment to the Cardinals, is also under investigation and has led to Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich being placed on paid leave, while Rick Pitino, head coach of the Cardinals’ basketball team, is on unpaid leave.
“This is a new frontier that I’ve never seen in a long, long time,” Izzo said. “I wasn’t around with the gambling of many, many years ago when the federal government gets involved in something. But it’s just disappointing from what I’ve read and what I’ve heard, but right now I’m going to just focus in on our team."
But that doesn't mean that Izzo will shy away from questions all year.
"Hopefully, when I do know more, I will answer the questions as honestly as I can answer them," said Izzo. "But right now, there’s so many things that have been thrown around, and some think there’s a lot more to come, some don’t. Sad would be the best word for me right now.”
Izzo, who is a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Board of Directors, said the board has not yet met on the scandal, but he said he expects to.
“We haven’t met on it,” he said. “I just came back from my meetings a week before this all broke, and I don’t think anybody knew or saw this coming. But I’m sure we will."
Izzo also said that no one knows exactly what this investigation means and who exactly it is going to effect.
"I don't think anybody's got their arms around it yet. So it’s hard to do anything or accuse anybody of anything until you really know exactly what’s going on.”
No one associated with MSU has been linked to the investigation.
“Some of these things that they print and write that are already etched in stone, those things aren't good,” Izzo said. “Why they’re happening? I've got my own reasons on some things that have happened and some things that are getting more and more out of control. If this reels us back and makes us re-look 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."
Izzo promised that he would talk more about the investigation once he gets more information.
“I wouldn't say it's great because of the negativeness of it, but we all learn from something that's hit home, and this has hit home," said Izzo. "When we have those discussions and when I get my arms around it, we can have a press conference that’s geared more to that, and I would be more than happy to answer everything. I really would.”