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The Adidas Trial Turns Emotional

As Brian Bowen’s father loses it on the stand

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Sydney Kings v Los Angeles Clippers
HONOLULU, HI - SEPTEMBER 30: Brian Bowen II #20 of the Sydney Kings drives the baseline around Lou Williams #23 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the third quarter at the Stan Sheriff Center on September 30, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

A human element was injected into the first Adidas trial on Thursday as Brian Bowens father, Brian Sr., testified under immunity about the family’s experiences with young Brian’s development and recruitment.

Oklahoma State came up, not for the first time of course, but it is the first time we can recall anyone mentioning Texas, which Bowen alleged offered housing. We think Creighton has come up previously (it’s getting hard to keep up) and allegedly offered upwards of $100,000 and find him a good job.

Bowen Sr. discussed several times when either grassroots sources or college coaches (all assistants unless we missed something) made offers and to us, that’s significant.

Our presumption up to this point has been that any head coach would have been aware if an assistant was spending tons of money for recruits and furthermore, where would the money come from? Surely they’re not spending their own money.

We wondered out loud specifically about Louisville where assistant Andre McGee spent thousands on escorts.

Now that we see how things work, that’s an easy question to answer: it’s the equivalent of walking around money in politics. Adidas, we presume, gave assistants money to get the job done.

And because the head coaches aren’t necessarily in charge of that money, and in fact could plausibly have no idea about it, we’ve changed our minds somewhat about Rick Pitino: it now does seem plausible that the stripper scandal and the Bowen scandal might have happened without his knowledge.

Adidas may well have done an end around Pitino and, conceivably, Bill Self, Sean Miller, Dana Altman and others.

And And 1 may have done the same with Maryland’s Mark Turgeon. Who knows who else?

Of course it’s equally possible that our original theory was correct and the head coaches always know.

We’ll be very interested to see what the feds have learned about assistant coaches. The key here, as it is in almost any case involving money, is to follow it and we’re sure that financial records from Adidas and multiple coaching staffs has been thoroughly reviewed.

On a sadder note, Bowen Sr. was asked about his son who is now playing in the Australian Basketball League and he broke down, weeping inconsolably.

We can’t know what is in his heart but it seems safe to assume that he misses his son and feels horrible for putting him in this situation.

It was a stupid thing to do and his son is paying the price, but there’s no point in piling onto him now. Clearly he’s devastated and it’s hard to imagine that he could pay a heavier price.

Finally, it’s only a few days in and it’s clear that the money in basketball is at every level. There is no rational way that the NCAA, at this late date, can maintain its traditional structure. The United States learned this lesson the hard way during the Prohibition era, and again during the War on Drugs. You can disrupt markets, you can suppress them, but you cannot control them and you cannot end them. You can only come to terms with them and it’s time for the NCAA to do so.

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