San Antonio — Turner Sports/CBS analyst Charles Barkley blasted the FBI’s ongoing investigation into college basketball’s illegal recruiting world Friday at the Final Four, saying the nation’s federal law enforcement agency should be focusing on more important matters in the country.
The FBI went public with an investigation in the fall, indicting several universities’ basketball programs and leading to the dismissal of former Louisville coach Rick Pitino. In February, a Yahoo Sports report detailed a number of allegations involving former and current NCAA players, while ESPN reported shortly thereafter that Arizona coach Sean Miller was caught on a federal wiretap discussing a payment for future NBA lottery pick Deandre Ayton to play for the Wildcats.
“I’m still trying to figure out why the FBI is involved,” Barkley said. “Listen, I went to college in 1981. We cheated back then. We’re cheating now. They’re always cheating. The toothpaste is out of the tube. They said they gave that kid at Arizona (Ayton) $100,000. He was underpaid. There must’ve been closed bidding because I would’ve gave his (expletive) more.
“I didn't realize the FBI needed to be paying attention to college basketball. Maybe if they were paying more attention (to other matters) they wouldn't have screwed up our (presidential election).”
Barkley has previously expressed disdain for the 2016 presidential election and President Donald Trump. On Friday, he said politicians have their priorities seriously mixed up.
“These (political) parties suck. Plain and simple,” Barkley said. “The Democrats have been taking my votes and black people’s votes for granted for 100 years. Republicans do what they do — they’re gonna take care of rich people. We as democrats have to start calling our party out more.
“If you look at neighborhoods, if you look at our schools, they suck. We’re getting left behind. The gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider. We have to start holding our politicians (more) accountable. …These (politicians) are sitting here worrying about Russia and Stormy Daniels. Nobody cares about that.”