NCAA picked wrong guy to clean up sport
I’ll admit I was hoping for some big-name former high-major coach who was ready to disclose all their dirty secrets.
Someone like Jerry Tarkanian or Eddie Sutton.
Someone who has the blueprint, who knows the details of exactly how things are done and could give the NCAA inside information to help do the seemingly impossible: Clean up college basketball.
Instead, the NCAA, according to multiple sources, has hired Ken Huber.
“What?” asked one BCS assistant coach.
“Who the hell is that?” asked another.
By all accounts, Huber is an intelligent, highly ethical individual.
Still, there’s a reason he has remained somewhat anonymous in his decade or so in Division I basketball.
Huber’s résumé consists of time spent as an assistant at Gardner-Webb, Florida International, Wright State, North Florida and in the Division II ranks. He was hired by the NCAA from his spot as an assistant on the women’s basketball team at Gardner-Webb.
Huber hasn’t exactly had the experience of dealing with the shadiness that high-major programs have to go through in order to secure players nowadays.
The agents, the runners, the big-time AAU programs.
Huber’s going to be out of his element — starting from scratch.
“Did it surprise me?” asked one coach close to Huber.
“A little bit,” he continued. “It surprised me they plucked someone from a low-major conference. He hasn’t dealt with any of the stuff that the NCAA is worried about.”
“He’ll be all over it,” another high-level assistant said sarcastically of Huber’s hiring.
Huber was one of three hires made by the NCAA’s Basketball Focus Group to double the total membership to six.
LuAnn Humphrey, the Director of Enforcement for the Basketball Focus Group, did not wish to reveal the names of the three hires to FOXSports.com.
However, she did confirm that all three officially start on Tuesday, and FOXSports.com has learned that Jason Singleton and Julie Powers will be joining Huber.
Singleton is a former player at Ohio State who has been the program coordinator for the NCAA’s First Team Program. He’s a Detroit native, but much has changed since he came out of Aquinas High 15 years ago.
Powers was already working for the NCAA in membership services.
I applaud the NCAA for their efforts to go after the problem.
Humphrey spoke last week to a group of men’s basketball coaches in Gainesville about the Basketball Focus Group, which was established in June of 2008 and is an arm of enforcement, being more proactive.
“We want to be one step ahead so we can prevent violations,” Humphrey said.
“We’re going to be more aggressive.”
Humphrey spoke of a new database that has been created to identify trends and patterns and connect the dots for more effective and efficient investigations. She talked about a new outreach program with high school coaches, parents and kids.
“We need people to know we’re paying attention, and we’re hoping it’ll deter them,” she added.
She spoke of the new hires getting the BFG in doors that they haven’t previously been able to get into.
Maybe they just didn’t have a great pool of applicants. Obviously, Sutton and Jerry Tarkanian weren’t viable candidates.
Maybe the position doesn’t pay enough to warrant leaving the profession for good because, frankly, there’s little chance Huber can get back in after working for the NCAA.
But I was hoping for an earth-shattering hire from the coaching ranks.
Not necessarily someone who had participated in the dirty deals that go on with agents and runners, but someone who was fully aware of the issues. Someone who played in the high-stakes game of high-major college hoops.
One of the knocks of the BFG was that all three members were female. Now, Humphrey has added a couple of men to the mix with Huber and Singleton, who was on Ohio State’s Final Four team back in 1999.
Maybe the new additions will allow the group to get new information about the primary issue of concern since the group was created: Funneling of money.
No disrespect to Ken Huber, but I was hoping for more.