Something very strange and secretive is going on in Pocatello. NCAA investigators have swarmed Idaho State's campus to see if a whistleblowing former coach is right, and a booster has been paying off recruits and JuCo coaches to play basketball for the university.
It's important to note just who's making the allegations, and the timing of them. Deane Martin took over a struggling Bengals team in December when the head coach stepped down, and finished out the year as interim coach. After the season, he participated in the interview process to find a new, permanent, coach, but was informed he had not been selected. The very next day Martin sent a letter to athletic director Jeff Tingey. It concerns an unidentified booster, who Martin says told him
"that he wanted to insure that ISU got the best recruit we could, and he offered his support. Specifically (the booster) indicated that if it took a ‘money handshake' from him to a coach or a recruit, to seal the deal, he was happy to do that."
Martin's letter goes on to say that the booster "has personally involved himself with the families of potential recruits, and made similar offers to them. Healso has made those offers to junior college coaches, that it would be in their best financial interest to steer their players to Idaho State University."
Martin closed by saying he was writing the letter because "it is my obligation to report these matters to you. I trust that you will take the appropriate actions and report as required." No word on why Martin didn't feel it was his obligation until the day after he found out he wouldn't be ISU's coach anymore.
To make matters more confusing, there's AD Tingey's curt response to Martin's allegations:
"As these are very strong and potentially slanderous statements, I am going to forward them to our university attorneys for their involvement."
Tingey also told Martin "so that the NCAA does not think we will ‘sweep this under the rug' I will have our compliance office contact them."
It goes without saying that it probably doesn't take much money to sway a player toward Idaho State, or any other smalltime D1 program, and that there's probably a lot of this going on in small towns without a rabid local media doing the NCAA's policing for it. So no one would be shocked if these allegations turn out to have truth to them, even if they are being made by a disgruntled former employee. Not that anyone's going to take notice: we can only devote so much real estate to college scandals, and we're too busy with Ohio State football players peeing in public and some Southern college students smoking too much weed. Priorities, people.
Ex-Coach's letter key in NCAA proble: Martin makes accusations about booster [Idaho State Journal]