With the latest report from CBS Sports reporter Gary Parrish, it appears that the Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson impermissible benefits case could just be getting started.
Prepare for a potentially long and bumpy ride Georgia Tech basketball fans, with the latest report by Garry Parrish surrounding the Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson scandal, it appears that it may all just be getting started.
The newest report by Gary Parrish sheds light on a few important subjects regarding the impermissible benefits given to Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson. The first important piece of information was identifying who in fact supplied the impermissible benefits to Jackson and Okogie. That person would be a former longtime friend of Josh Pastner, Ron Bell.
Bell’s relationship with Pastner has been known for some time causing some to speculate Bell was the culprit since the original announcement of the impermissible benefits.
That being said, the most important pieces was the information regarding impermissible benefits Bell supplied for athletes under Pastner at both Tech and Memphis, Pastner’s last stop.
In Georgia Tech’s initial self-reported infractions, the school implied that the benefits supplied totaled was less than $1,275. However, according to Bell, the benefits were well more than the reported. With the numbers supplied in the article by Parrish, the benefits at the least came out to just under $2,000.
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Bell also in the article stated that Pastner had provided envelopes with money ranging from $200 to $500 during his times at both Memphis and Georgia Tech. He also said that Pastner told him that the money was for the players.
While Bell didn’t come forward with any indication of recruiting violations regarding high school players, he did discuss an attempt to recruit Memphis transfer, Markel Crawford. While benefits never were actually supplied to Crawford, Bell had bought two plane tickets for Crawford and his brother to fly them out to his home in Arizona. Bell was going to attempt to recruit Crawford to Georgia Tech but Crawford committed to the Ole Miss Rebels before he had the chance.
If true, Bell’s accusations carry a potential heavy impact on Pastner’s career. If investigated by the NCAA and found to be true, Pastner’s career in the immediate future could be in jeopardy.
With all this coming out, there are chances there could be more information regarding impermissible benefits supplied to players under Pastner’s supervision.
One of the more interesting pieces of Parrish’s article was Bell’s overall connections to the program
One of the reasons that Bell felt the need to come forward was how he felt “disrespected” by Tech saying the benefits were supplied by someone not connected to the program. Bell disputes that greatly, saying ” I had credentials to be anywhere I wanted to be.”
Bell told Parrish and CBS that he was at practices, team meetings, games and much more. It appears anything associated with the program, Bell was most likely there. Bell’s connections were well known even inside the Georgia Tech athletic department according to the report as well.
This means that Bell had almost unlimited access to the athletes with the ability to provide benefits at almost any time.
According to the report, associate athletic director Marvin Lewis (lead of finance & administration) exchanged text messages with Bell throughout Pastner’s first year at Tech. That being said, there was no indication that Lewis knew about any potential NCAA violations.
When considering Bell’s reasons for coming forward that included the recent FBI bombshell case from last month, it’s hard to think he’s coming forward with false allegations.
That being said, presuming that all the information supplied in the article was true, this will begin a very long case for the NCAA and Georgia Tech. While Okogie and Jackson may return this season, the ultimate long-lasting impact will be the impact on Josh Pastner’s coaching career.
It also means that this case could just be getting started and could take quite some time to play out.