Clear skies: Miami AD Blake James, basketball coach Jim Larranaga happy to have corruption trial in the past

University of Miami athletic director Blake James says it's good to have a basketball corruption trial in the past and with no indication of wrongdoing by coach Jim Larranaga's Hurricanes' program.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — University of Miami athletic director Blake James says it’s good to have a basketball corruption trial in the past and with no indication of wrongdoing by coach Jim Larranaga’s Hurricanes‘ program.

A federal jury in New York last week found three men guilty of fraud charges for channeling secret payment to the families of top-tier recruits to influence their choices of schools, apparel companies and agents. The verdicts placed the blame on the men for exposing the universities to NCAA sanctions, essentially portraying the schools as victims.

“It’s good to have it behind us,” James said Thursday at basketball media day. “As I’ve said all along, I have 100 percent confidence in Jim and our coaches doing things the right way.”

The Hurricanes have no true freshmen on their roster, in part because potential recruits were aware of the FBI investigation, which raised questions a year ago about Larranaga’s relationship with apparel company Adidas.

Larranaga has said he did nothing wrong, and all signs point to the Miami program being in the clear in the case. James noted more trials are scheduled next year.

“We’re going to continue to monitor everything,” James said. “I believe we’re in a good spot, but I believed we were going to be in a good spot all along. I believe in what Jim and our staff are doing, and I’m confident they’re doing things the right way. Until someone shows me something else, I’m going to believe we’re operating within the guidelines established by the NCAA and that we’re led by a man with great integrity.”

Larranaga declined to comment beyond what James said.

“He’s my boss, so I agree with him,” said Larranaga, with a grin.