REGGIE HAYES: My name is Joe College Basketball Fan and it’s always the other guys you can’t trust

Arizona head coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against UCLA on Feb. 8, 2018, in Tucson, Ariz. (Photo by the Associated Press)

I’m Joe College Basketball Fan and I’m here to rationalize.

This big cheating scandal spinning out of control? Well, I’m not surprised because I knew my school’s rival was never on the up-and-up and was as dirty as the driven snow in downtown Chicago.

It’s no wonder my school’s rival was in cahoots with agents and shoe companies and AAU “coaches” who direct all the best one-and-done players their way. I knew they couldn’t win the honest way, like my school does.

Wait. This latest Yahoo! Sports story includes an assistant coach who has or once had connections to my school? I know what that probably means. There’s no way to avoid all these questionable characters if your school is a Top 25 team over the course of time. Just because this coach has connections to my school and talked to the ASM Sports agency associate Christian Dawkins doesn’t mean my school’s coach did anything wrong. Talking doesn’t prove anything.

Just because Dawkins wrote something about a potential “deal” with my school doesn’t mean it’s true. It doesn’t even mean any such “deal” was even discussed for a minute. That guy could write anything he wanted to implicate anyone he wanted. Hey, maybe my school’s rival suggested he mention my school just for cover if it was ever discovered.

I’m sure all the big name coaches, especially my school’s, are innocent and just as surprised by these stories as I am.

I heard Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim weighed in with their dismay this weekend. Those guys have been around enough to know what’s going on and, like me with my school, they can’t believe their eyes.

Assistant coaches are involved with these agents? My school’s rival hires guys like that, but my school, Duke, Syracuse and places like that would never do it. Yeah, I know Duke is mentioned in the recent reports, but I’m sure that’s a peripheral misunderstanding.

“The thing that ruins everything for me is when coaches get involved in this,” Boeheim said. “There’s just no understanding of that.”

Coach K can’t believe this sort of deceit goes on, either.

“Somebody can say you’re supposed to know everything,” Coach K said. “You can’t know everything. You can know as much as possible while they’re here, but it’s impossible for you to know what went on before they got here. It’s impossible. That’s the area that we have to change – before they come to an NCAA school.”

See, that’s the sleazy agents and AAU coaches and family greed kind of things my school would never intentionally get involved with. You can’t control these players and their families when they’re in high school, just like Coach K says.

It makes me so mad that my school’s name gets thrown into this, especially when the coach mentioned has already moved on. You can’t police everyone. I’m 100 percent confident no one on our staff now would ever even bend an NCAA rule, let alone make promises of money to players or agents.

Let’s suppose, just to play devil’s advocate, that my school’s former – keyword: former – assistant coach was out there making “deals” with recruits and their unofficial agents. First of all, everybody makes mistakes. Second of all, it could have been a misunderstanding. Third of all, it’s in the past so why worry about it now?

Did you see where Arizona coach Sean Miller was apparently caught on FBI wiretaps discussing a $100,000 payment to Deandre Ayton? Now that’s cheating. My school would never do that.

Yes, I know the schools identified by Yahoo! as being implicated in the possible NCAA violations includes Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, Kentucky, Texas, Kansas and USC. I’m not surprised by some of those. I knew they were cheaters. The others? I like their coaches and Dick Vitale likes their coaches and I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation.

Coach K talked this weekend. He wouldn’t say anything if he was guilty now, would he?

From my seat as Joe College Basketball Fan, this looks like something to stir up some media attention before March Madness, which is the best and purest sports tournament and I can’t wait to get in my work bracket contest and see if I can’t finally win the pot. It was, like, $125 last year.

I know my school will come out of this thing with its reputation intact. Any association with the crooked side is surely incidental and accidental. My school wouldn’t bend the rules to land a recruit. My school’s rival? Hey, if the shoe deal fits.

Get this: Someone suggested this weekend maybe I should switch my primary basketball interest to the NBA.

Now why would I do that? Those guys are only in it for the money.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Reggie Hayes at