Romeo Langford's Indiana basketball and its hungry fan base.next season was a move that for
In picking the Hoosiers, Langford bypassed the other two finalists on his list: Kansas and Vanderbilt. And in the minutes after Langford's decision at New Albany High School, his father revealed an interesting factor into the decision-making process.
According to Tim Langford, Kansas being connected to the FBI's investigation into college basketball recruiting wound up taking Bill Self's program out of the running. Although Kansas publicly remained one of the three finalists for Langford over the past month-plus, they were in essence out of consideration-- 20 days before Langford's commitment.
This information came via a reporter on the scene at New Albany High School on Monday night:
None of the coaches (or administrators) at Kansas have been named or publicly targeted by the FBI. The university, using the Department of Justice's own language, has labeled itself as a "victim" in this larger pay-for-play scheme. So why is Kansas looped in? It's, and the particulars of his recruitment and apparel company involvement of the recruitment, that have federal investigators particularly curious.
Indiana beating Kansas on a recruit isn't an outrageous notion. They're both bluebloods. But when you bring into play the fact that Vanderbilt was ahead of Kansas because of an ongoing federal investigation? This is a whole new world. Perceptions, true or misguided, have power. The Langford family clearly took that to heart.
Langford's decision here goes to show how toxic it can be to have your school's name attached to one of the biggest off-the-court stories in the sport's history. Sometimes prospects stay within a shoe company's family, other times they don't. The reasons vary. Most coaches will tell you that most top-50 prospects staying loyal to a shoe company from high school to college is way down the list on the reasons why they pick to play at a given school. (If you're wondering: Kansas and Indiana are in business with Adidas; Vanderbilt is sponsored by Nike.)
Of course, it's possible Langford was always going to chose Indiana, regardless of whether an FBI investigation was happening. But it is happening and now we have a parent directly stating that because it's happening, one of the most powerful programs in the sport was removed from consideration for a heralded five-star prospect.
This is the fallout of an unprecedented probe into the sport, and more reverberations could come as the 2018 recruiting period unfolds.