Blog Entry

The Salinas story gets more salacious

Posted on: July 19, 2011 8:51 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 10:38 pm
By Matt Norlander

A report by Sports Illustrated's Pablo S. Torre from Tuesday afternoon adds not only context but real gravity to the severity of the David Salinas situation.

On Sunday night, Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman broke the news that Salinas, a man from Houston who funded the Houston Select AAU basketball team and was also a booster to Houston, Wichita State and Rice universities, was found dead. It was believed to be a suicide. Many coaches were financially involved with Salinas, who was and still is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Torre's report uncovered the known losses tied to Salinas to be a staggering $7.8 million among dozens of coaches, primarily from college basketball. His case has also now caught the attention of the FBI, according to Torre. That's because many more millions are missing from folks outside the athletic arena.

Among the coaches identified in SI's story -- many of whom were confirmed from the initial report -- were Billy Gillispie, Mark Few, Scott Drew and Lute Olson (pictured), who has been out of the game for a few years. 

Gillispie has reportedly lost more than anyone in Salinas' Ponzi scheme, with Olson also flushing more than a million away.
According to documents reviewed by, the value of Gillispie's investment alone was purported to be $2.3 million; Olson's, $1.17 million; Drew's, $621,000; Few's, $353,000. ... has identified Few and former Rice, Wichita State and Cornell basketball coach Scott Thompson (investment most recently valued at $65,000) as the latest names to be added to an initial list of nine basketball coaches first reported by Those nine included: Gillispie; Olson; Drew; Nebraska coach Doc Sadler ($38,000); Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (and former Rice) coach Willis Wilson ($642,000); Gonzaga assistant (and former Utah head coach) Ray Giacoletti ($1.2 million); United States Merchant Marine Academy (and former Nebraska) coach Danny Nee ($23,000); Augustana College coach Grey Giovanine ($533,000); and former Houston and Nevada coach Pat Foster. Save for Foster, was able to independently confirm each of those individuals as clients of Salinas.

Salinas' tentacles reached beyond the college hoops world, though. The SI story states that football coaches from Texas, Baylor and Houston were duped, as well as Rudy Davalos, who was once the athletic director at New Mexico as well as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs. Beyond that, plenty of other folks not involved in sports have lost money, and the expected total of assets lost could clear into the tens of millions of dollars, if not hundreds.

It seems we've only just begun with this saga. There are more names to come out, surely, and more money to be discovered as lost. Then ... the NCAA. What will it do about this? Nothing for a while, rest assured. The federal authorities will sift through this monstrosity of a catastrophe before the NCAA can even step through the threshold.

But the evidence will hang in the air until the NCAA gets its chance to speak. You have a man, now dead, who was tied into an AAU program. Myriad coaches were investing money with him for personal interest in inflating their assets. And that's supposed to not influence where players may have gone to college? This is an entirely new scenario, one without precedent for the NCAA to try and get its thick fingers around.

The fallout's only just begun. Will there be a paper trail? Will we see retroactive retribution from the NCAA if it can uncover any wrongdoing on behalf of the coaches? The coaches who trusted Salinas so much with their money, why wouldn't they trust him to help steer a player to this program or that one?

We've never seen it all. There's always another skeleton waiting to be unearthed.

The really interesting aspect about this situation is you've got all these coaches who've lost all this money, right? And few things make people as angry and chatty as losing significant portions of their wealth. Significant portions. But now they're going to be caught in a quandary. Bad enough that this is a public embarrassment for them, they can't talk too much on the subject, lest they risk implicating themselves. Only so much anger and dispersal of disappointment can be distributed before traceable illicit behavior on the recruiting trail surfaces as well.

Be mad and confused and angry as hell at Salinas over this mess but don't talk out of turn. Seems there could be a domino waiting to get the line clicking with one flick from a coach's mouth.

Welcome to the newest rabbit hole of intercollegiate sports.

Photo: AP

Category: NCAAB

Since: Jul 20, 2011
Posted on: July 20, 2011 6:18 pm

The Salinas story gets more salacious

I think you need to do some more investigating AGAIN.  I never used the term "big boys" as you are claiming I have.  I would never, ever even consider that term. 

Also, you said that MSU ALMOST NEVER has five-star recruits and I pointed out that you are wrong/lying.  Your counter to that is something like "oh yeah, well he doesn't get more than one each year" which is a totally different and not even relevant argument.  Very few schools ever get more than 1 five-star recruit per recruiting class because their are only typically something like 20-25 in total.  You said he ALMOST NEVER got them when the fact is he USUALLY has one.

You also said that NEARLY all of his recruits were from MICHIGAN which the facts don't also support.  About 1/2 of his recruits are from Michigan and the other half are from mostly the mid-west.  AND, 2/3rd of his 5-star recruits are NOT from Michigan.  Somehow you spun that around to "yeah but Ohio and Indiana is in the normal recruiting pipeline so they count as Michigan"!

Keep in mind, both of my "" of you aren't really quotes but my paraphrasing and mocking the logic of your response. 

Finally...I didn't realize that Teres Minor had insulted MSU by calling it a "second-rate" university.  I don't support that and don't think it was called for.  That being said, my response was only to call out your silly hyperbole/made up facts. 

Since: Feb 5, 2009
Posted on: July 20, 2011 2:50 pm

The Salinas story gets more salacious

Furthermore Tom has never had more than 1 five star recruit in a single class in the same time period you reference.

Since: Feb 5, 2009
Posted on: July 20, 2011 2:46 pm

The Salinas story gets more salacious

When you compare his recruits to those of the "big boys" as you so put'll see it doesn't even compare. Also yes he has had some recruits from outside the state, but almost entirely from ohio or indiana, which is well within the normal recruiting pipeline for the state of Michigan

Since: Jul 20, 2011
Posted on: July 20, 2011 12:17 pm

The Salinas story gets more salacious

I'm not accusing anyone of anything but I did feel compelled to finally finish my registration on this site to respond to this. 

You wrote "He almost never has five start recruits, and nearly off of his recruits are in-state prospects".  

Well...I went to and I found that over the last ten years he has had a five star recruit in six of them 6/10.  Of those six five-star recruits only two were from the state of Michigan.  If this is your idea of "almost never" I'd sure like to see your idea of "always" or "mostly" or even "half". 

Anyway, I just wanted to point out the irony in you telling someone else to do some investigation before running their mouths while either not doing investigating yourself or intentionally writing a misleading statement. 

Since: Feb 5, 2009
Posted on: July 20, 2011 8:31 am

The Salinas story gets more salacious

Teres Minor,

I don't know much about the recruiting profiles of universities outside of the ones I care about, but to question Tom Izzo is such a ridiculous statement it makes me very angry. Tom never gets the high profile athletes. He almost never has five star recruits, and nearly all of his recruits are in-state prospects. That doesn't sound suspicious to me.

While it appears more and more every day that the whole of college sports (basketball and football anyway) is crooked, let's not get out of hand and start throwing out accusations at anyone who wins. At least do some investigation before running your mouth. 

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: July 20, 2011 2:47 am

Much ado about nothing

If the coaches involved were cheating, they would have been a lot more successful.  Since the NCAA always preys on weaker programs while leaving strong programs alone, I can see where this could become an NCAA dog and pony show.  Meanwhile, Jim Calhoun runs his own fiefdom in Storrs, THE Ohio State University wins the Big Ten almost every year with one or two "rentals" on the way to the NBA, and nobody thinks anything of it.  
I would love to see the NCAA investigate some of the "big boys."   Let's see UConn get more than a wrist slap.  Let's see TOSU get what they deserve.  Let's see if Duke and UNC put those great teams together while playing within the rules or if their kind of "southern hospitality" goes a little off the Bell Curve.  Let's see what's underneath all of the golly, gee, and corn in Kansas.  And while we're at it, lets see how Tom Izzo is able to build a world-class basketball team at a second-rate university.

Nah: it's easier to just pick on the little guys.  They can't fight back. 

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:12 pm

The Salinas story gets more salacious

Hey Rudy Davalos; we all knew what a jerk you were in Albuquerque, but the revelation of you being fleeced by this con-artist just makes you look more foolish than we all already knew. You drove a once proud basketball program into the ground with your hires of that fraud Fran Fraschilla and the hapless Rithchie McKay. You treated Lobo fans and folks in general with utter disdain and I hope you lost big time in this debacle.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or