SAN FRANCISCO — The FBI probe into college basketball hovered over Pac-12 media day once again Thursday.
Last year, Arizona coach Sean Miller and USC’s Andy Enfield were in the spotlight after each had an assistant coach arrested during the investigation into schools offering money to recruits.
Oregon entered the story earlier this month when an attorney stated in U.S. District Court that the Ducks offered an “astronomical” amount of money to get Brian Bowen to sign with the Ducks. His father, Brian Bowen Sr., said he did not recall such an offer.
In testimony this week, Bowen Sr. was asked if Oregon assistant Tony Stubblefield offered him $3,000 and once again he stated that he did not remember that happening.
Last week, Oregon coach Dana Altman called the allegations against his program “all false.” He reiterated that message when discussing the case for the first time since Stubblefield’s name became public in testimony.
“I have faith in my staff,” Altman said during a lunch break at media day.
Altman faced more questions about the issue during his press conference in the afternoon. He was asked for his reaction when he heard the report that Oregon offered an “astronomical” sum of money to Bowen’s family.
“I didn’t have any response,” said the coach, who recalled Bowen visiting Oregon on his way home following a prep All-Star Game in Los Angeles. “I knew it wasn’t true so there wasn’t any response.”
Altman confirmed that Oregon’s compliance department did a review of recruiting for men’s basketball one year ago and then interviewed the coaching staff again last week.
“They ask a lot of questions,” he said.
Altman said the federal trial has not been a topic around his team.
“We haven’t talked about it that much,” he said. “Obviously they saw it, but it hasn’t been a distraction.”
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said the conference would let the NCAA handle any possible sanctions if schools are found to have violated any rules in recruiting.
“Very concerned about the trial, the testimony, some of the allegations, and we treat it with a real seriousness,” Scott said. “We’re monitoring it very carefully, as are our schools, and we are in touch with our schools about it. Like any process, there are allegations and there’s a process to prove or disprove them. So I think we’ll certainly hold any judgement until the process goes through and we see what comes of it.”
King on the mend
Five-star freshman Louis King has yet to practice with the Ducks and Altman indicated that he will miss at least the first month of the season.
“He’s making progress,” Altman said. “I would anticipate maybe sometime around Dec. 1, whenever the doctors release him. I think we’ll be conservative with it because he’s got a tremendous future, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Altman added that King will take a while to get up to speed on the court.
“I doubt he’ll be full strength by Dec. 1,” he said. “I think whenever the doctors do clear him, it will be a slow process.”
King has been out since suffering a torn meniscus during his senior year of high school in January.
“He’s doing some dry stuff and some shooting,” Altman said. “It is kind of hard when you are not able to get out there to stay engaged for a couple of hours, but we need him to because as soon as he gets clearance, we’d like to get him on the floor a bit.”
Oregon has 10 scholarship players with King out.
“You just hope for the best,” Altman said. “Work with the guys you got and hope like heck that he comes along.”