CHICAGO — Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney said the FBI investigation into dirty recruiting in college basketball is a “storm cloud” hanging over the sport.
“It’s certainly an unsettling and negative narrative,” Delaney said. “There always have been these kinds of issues. They used to involve boosters. Now they involve shoe companies.”
Delaney said this isn’t new. These things have been going on for 30 years.
“There are a lot of men who work in a lot of programs who don’t engage in it, but there are some who do,” he said.
The FBI investigation was a hot topic at media day in general. Most coaches were asked about it, either at the podium or at roundtables. Some shrugged it off, like Maryland coach Mark Turgeon.
“To be honest with you, I think our game is in great shape,” Turgeon said. “I like to think it’s not going to have an impact on our game.”
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo called it a sad time in college basketball.
“It’s sad for college basketball and college sports. It’s the nature of the beast,” Izzo said. “Hopefully something will come of it.”
Tourney mainly in Midwest
Delaney said moving forward, Midwest cities will host the Big Ten tournament 80 percent of the time, with 20 percent of the tournaments held on the East Coast.
Chicago and Indianapolis will be the sites for Big Ten tournaments in the near future, but there will be opportunities for other cities to set up bids to host.
“It will be more open and competitive, and there will be more opportunities for cities to express more interest,” Delaney said.Omaha hosted an NCAA tournament regional last April, which drew rave reviews from the NCAA, fans and media.Nebraska will be heading to Italy next summer, coach Tim Miles confirmed Thursday. The Huskers went to Spain a three years ago, and will head back overseas likely in late July 2019.
“(Italy’s) got very good basketball. We have some players playing over in that area, France, Spain, Italy, so I think that maybe with some of these guys, it’s a preview of what your future could look like,” Miles said. “Also, it’s a way for us to get in front of those clubs and look at our guys and see them for what they are, and so I think all that helps.”
The timing couldn’t be better, too, with how different next year’s team will look with the subtractions of seniors Palmer and Isaac Copeland.
“It’s really good timing. And we’re gonna need it,” Miles said. “We’re gonna need the extra competition the time together. I think it’ll be really important for us.”
Roby focused on season
Don’t expect any news from Isaiah Roby about his NBA status any time soon.
NU coach Tim Miles said he spent 30 minutes talking with Roby over the offseason about the NBA draft and the NBA process.
That made Miles think he was considering leaving.
Then, the next day, Miles was talking with someone about the team’s trip to Italy in 2019, and Roby overheard the news.
“That’ll be awesome,” Roby said.
Right now, Miles said, Roby and the team are focused on this year. And in the spring, if the junior feels like he wants to leave a year early for the NBA, they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it. In other news:
» Roby said he’s feeling better after suffering a few injuries this fall. He still has some heel pain, which he said happens when he tries to slow down. So he can dunk just fine. But it’s the stop-and-start elements of basketball that he’s still easing into.