Confirming what a great many expected, Miami head coach Jim Larranaga announced in a prepared statement Monday afternoon that he is “Coach-3" in the FBI’s investigation into the college basketball recruiting system.
Larranaga took questions about whether he’s received any support from friends and colleagues around college basketball but declined to answer any questions about his school’s ties to Adidas and executive Jim Gatto, or the FBI’s investigation. Otherwise, he referred to his statement before discussing Miami’s offseason progress and the upcoming season. You can watch Larranaga read the full statement here via the Palm Beach Post:
“I cannot state more emphatically that I absolutely have no knowledge of any wrongdoing by any member of our staff and I certainly have never engaged in the conduct that some have speculated about. I have tried to live every single one of my 68 years on this earth with integrity, character, and humility.
I have met with FBI agents, answered every question they have, and I have turned over thousands of emails, text messages, and any other materials requested of me. Based on what we know at this time, my legal team believes I am Coach-3.”
Unlike the shitshow at Louisville that resulted in the ouster of both head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich, Miami’s brass appears to be standing behind their basketball coach. When the FBI first announced its investigation in late September, Larranaga and the Miami legal team denied any knowledge of payments that would violate the NCAA’s amateurism rules. In the wake of reports claiming more arrests are forthcoming, Miami’s attorney issued a statement last Friday, writing that the Hurricanes don’t expect “anybody at UM to be indicted or arrested,” per the Miami Herald.
Miami was not named outright in the FBI’s initial release; it did, however, match up with the description of “University-7" in the documents—a “private research university located in Florida” boasting “approximately 16,000 students and over 2,600 faculty members.” One of the school’s coaches (Coach 3, or Larranaga) is alleged to have worked with former Adidas executive Jim Gatto to help pay “player-12" a signing bonus of $150,000 to play for the Hurricanes.
In a phone call recorded Aug. 9, former agent and AAU employee Christian Dawkins told Adidas employee Merl Code that “Coach-3 knows everything.” In a recording from two days later, the same coach requested Gatto use Adidas coffers to pay a player $150,000 to sign with them instead of a Nike school. The FBI also claims to have phone records, but not recordings, of an Aug. 6 phone call between Gatto and Larranaga. The player in question is Nasir Little, who committed to North Carolina on Oct. 5—Little provided the Palm Beach Post with an affidavit that denied he or his father ever discussed such a signing bonus, claiming further that no Adidas or AAU employees ever offered him money.
While Miami appears to have thrown its full legal weight behind Larranaga, one only needs to look to recent cases at Louisville and Ole Miss to know that those niceties only extend as far as the school’s ability to keep profiting and winning; should the FBI come up with any reason to charge Larranaga, don’t expect much more than a handshake and farewell from the Hurricanes.