Former coach believes Izzo lost recruits because he wouldn’t cheat

Hat tip to the Detroit Free Press for bringing this story to our attention.

On the heels of the recent suspension of Syracuse head basketball coach Jim Boeheim, former ESPN analyst and long-time college basketball coach Fran Fraschilla had some sharp words for those who’ve opted over the years to play the recruiting game less than straight. [pullquote]”He has lost some guys, at times, to schools that he wasn’t willing to break rules for.” – Fran Fraschilla[/pullquote]

Fraschilla’s comments came while co-hosting “College Sports Today” on SiriusXM radio. While addressing Boeheim’s suspension, he dictated why he felt such infractions (in this case academic misconduct, extra benefits, failure to follow the drug-testing policy and impermissible booster activity) were not victimless crimes:

“When a coach gets caught cheating, they ought to throw the book at him,” Fraschilla said. “Because there are a whole lot of other coaches out there, and I’ll give you one example: The reason Tom Izzo doesn’t have a great team right now is because he has not, quite frankly, he has lost some guys, at times, to schools that he wasn’t willing to break rules for. And coaches who don’t cheat will get fired if they don’t win, and that’s part of the problem I have with the NCAA. They ought to throw the book at all these guys that cheat.”

Izzo has lost out on a handful of big-time recruits in recent years, including Cliff Alexander (Kansas), Jabari Parker (Duke), and Jahlil Okafor (Duke). When speaking on recruiting out of Chicago (Parker and Okafor’s stomping grounds), Izzo cryptically stated, “Good players, a lot of coaches, a lot of coaches and good players. There’s a lot of middlemen.”

Izzo’s Spartans currently stand at 21-10 heading into the Big Ten Tournament. They’ll take on the winner of Ohio State and Rutgers/Minnesota Friday night at 9 p.m.

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