Idaho State disassociates itself with troublesome booster

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

A little more than a month ago, we published a post regarding an unusual circumstance.

A small-time school, Idaho State, had a booster problem. Okay, pretty much every school has boosters eager and willing to help the program they love in whatever way possible. Usually, that way is through money, and sometimes that money is passed on via illegal transactions. It's just so rare we see a case with a small-league school getting into trouble over booster payments and proposed deals from money man to player. It's Idaho freaking State.

This story came about because an interim coach, Deane Martin, didn't get the gig full-time when he was up for it at season's end. On his way out, he sent a letter warning the school of a particular booster with questionable ethics. We're now on our way to understanding why the letter was sent, as you'll see below.

The booster's name is Matt Jolley. Over the weekend, the Idaho State Journal reported on a letter Jolley received from Idaho State brass that flatly told him to stay away from the program.

The university also told Jolley an internal investigation determined he had violated NCAA rules, according to the letter dated April 27. The letter was signed by the university's associate general counsel, Darlene Gerry, who didn't return phone calls from the newspaper.

The university's athletic director, Jeff Tingey, declined to comment.

Jolley, who owns an insulation company in Pocatello, issued a statement saying he was deeply saddened by the decision

"For the past 15 years I have passionately followed ISU athletics," Jolley said. "I feel that my disassociation from ISU athletics is both unfair and unwarranted."

As mentioned above, this entire saga came about because Martin, the interim coach, sent a curiously motivated letter to the school the day after he didn't get the Bengals' head-coaching gig. That letter was eventually leaked to the Idaho State Journal.

An investigation was prompted, and now Idaho State has gotten in front of the issue. The interesting angle to this story is the AP's report stating Jolley "was a friend of" Tingey's. Jolley also sat in on the committee asked to find a new coach.

Martin didn't get the job. Did Martin and Jolley not get along, and thus Martin felt he struck out on the opportunity because of Jolley's influence on the search committee?

So there's a few dots connected. Maybe. It's all possible, but not definite. What we do know is that an outgoing coach almost never lights such a warning sign as he leaves the premises. If Martin really felt gypped by being passed over, writing the letter was his only play to get back at Jolley in a way that could affect his standing with the school.

Thus concludes my conspiracy theory on Idaho State men's basketball, a turn of events that's caused me to re-examine my life and cry myself through dinnertime, as the college basketball season is still 99 days from starting.

 
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