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Nassar Scandal, College Basketball Corruption Top U.S. 2018 Sports Stories

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Former Louisville coach Rick Pitino shouts instructions to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 85-80. Photo: AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

By Evan Weiner |

It’s time to say goodbye to 2018. But before anyone goes, it probably is worth looking at the top “politics of sports business” stories of the year.

The Associated Press had the arrest and conviction of the USA Gymnastics physician, Larry Nassar, at the top of that organization’s list of important sports stories. The AP got it right. There are questions that will go into 2019 and probably beyond. How did USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee and Michigan State University ignore what apparently was not a secret. Nassar was preying on young gymnasts while attending to their injuries. USA Gymnastics is struggling to stay in business, Michigan State University has made some cosmetic changes but still has not answered the real question of how a major university looked the other way when there were complaints about Nassar and USOC officials are going to have to go to Washington and explain why the governing body of Olympics sports took no action against Nassar. It was a reporter with the Indianapolis Star that looked into the Nassar allegations that ultimately took Nassar down.

Meanwhile, in the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” world, college basketball continues with very little, if any, public backlash that corruption is a major part of that world. Sure Rick Pitino was exiled from the University of Louisville, and yes there have been multiple arrests of people within that world from assistant coaches to sneaker company employees but all of the corruption charges have had little impact in the business. Politicians in various cities went after and landed the NCAA Men’s College Basketball event, paying the NCAA millions upon millions of dollars for the games and advertisers have stuck by the NCAA knowing that law enforcement investigations found enough evidence of corruption to bring cases to courtrooms.

Medals and money come before integrity.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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