On Friday morning, Yahoo Sports dropped the latest in its series of explosive reports on the big-time college basketball dumpsterfire. The report showed a ledger sheet from the sports agency ASM, dated Dec. 31, 2015, showing a list of loans made to student athletes and …
Hey I know that name!
Huh. Well would you look at that.
For months, ever since former Aztecs assistant Tony Bland got rolled up by the Feds, we all wondered if and when SDSU would become directly implicated in this mess. Now we know Malik Pope (not a Bland recruit, for the record) was one of the players allegedly targeted in this scheme to steer NBA prospects to particular sports agencies through illicit payments and loans and such.
Obviously, this is a developing story, and we know nothing other than than this document exists and Pope’s name is on it. Now that we know this, far bigger questions are raised, the answers to which will determine whether this is an unfortunate blip, or a legacy-crushing scandal for SDSU’s program.
Here are a few of them:
What does this mean for the season?
This is the most immediate concern. Pope’s eligibility is now in question, just as SDSU was starting to pick up steam heading into the Mountain West Conference Tournament. It’s also possible that SDSU will now need to vacate wins eventually anyway, so that may be moot.
Speaking of vacating wins …
What does this mean for past seasons?
Will the Aztecs be forced to vacate any or all of its wins post the loan from ASR? Will this require SDSU to take down its NIT Final Four banner? Hopefully! Will our memories of that time the Aztecs scored 100 on Savannah State be forever tainted?
I suppose the silver lining here is that Pope was apparently offered this loan by ASR after his breakout freshman season, which makes sense. Here is a list of all SDSU NCAA Tournament wins after Pope’s freshman season:
Also, the feds are about to blow up the entire history of college hoops at every major school so what even is the history of college basketball?
Did any SDSU coaches or officials know about it?
Hope not, because that would be super, super bad. And pretty dumb! Let’s keep in mind that, at this point, we don’t know if Pope himself even knew about this loan, or accepted it. We just have his name on a sheet, next to a number.
Is this loan all there is?
Remember, this is one of thousands of ASM documents seized by the feds. Let’s hope there are no more loans to Pope — or any other familiar names — on any other ledger sheets.
Noted friend of the blog Zeigs, pulling double-duty from the P.F. Chang’s Olympics, has a pretty level-headed explainer with good context. Go read that. I really need to go to work now.
More updates to follow!
Update 11:40 a.m. Friday: SDSU has “provisionally suspended” Malik Pope and he will not travel with the team to San Jose, per Zeigs.