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Tad Boyle’s Media Day press conference sounded more like an FBI interrogation

The Buffaloes head coach faced questions about the black market, a task force and handlers

Pittsburgh v Colorado Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Pac-12 basketball season kicked off in San Francisco with coaches answering questions during media day. In his portion of the day interviews Tad Boyle wasn’t asked a single question about his team. Rather the focus was shifted on the recent arrests of ten people, including four college basketball assistants by the FBI.

Here’s the full transcript of Tad’s press conference, courtesy of the Pac-12.

TAD BOYLE: I'm excited about this year's version of the Colorado Buffaloes, I can tell you that. It starts with these two young men in the back, George and Tory. But Dom Collier is another senior that we have, as well as Josh Repine. We have four seniors, but we have seven freshmen, five true freshmen, and two redshirt kids. So I'm excited about this year's team. It's going to be a whole new look from what you've seen in years past. We're going from a very senior-laden veteran team to a very young, inexperienced team, but a very talented team and a team that I really enjoy coaching. I look forward to going to practice every day.

REPORTER: What was your immediate reaction to the FBI story that came out?

TAD BOYLE: My immediate reaction was shock. I don't know if surprised. I think, again, for years, you sense things are going on in recruiting that aren't right, but you don't know for sure. So certainly you -- maybe I wouldn't be as shocked or surprised if the NCAA came out with those kind of allegations or information. But when the FBI is involved, I think that got everybody's eyes opened up.

REPORTER: When you say you sensed something was amiss, what kind of gave you that impression?

TAD BOYLE: Look, you're in the trenches recruiting all the time. So you know. There are programs and coaches that do things right, and there are programs and coaches that don't. You have a sense of that. You don't always know for sure. So obviously some light has been shown on some programs that weren't.

REPORTER: If you were to speak in front of the Pac-12 Task Force or the NCAA commission for the scandal things here, would you have any sort of advice for them? Like what would your thoughts on that be?

TAD BOYLE: My thoughts on that are just find out the truth. Find out what's happening, and we know a little bit of that right now. We learn more as time goes on, maybe we will, maybe we won't. We don't know that. But we know right now there are some things going on that shouldn't be going on. But let's get to the bottom of it. Let's find out what it is, and now let's address it. Let's figure out how do we deal with it that's in the best interest of the game and for everybody involved. Because, look, there are a lot of programs out there that are doing things by the letter of the law, so to speak. So are you going to eliminate the schools that don't, no, but you might limit it and you might make people pause before they break those rules in the future.

REPORTER: Do you have any specific pieces of change that you would like to see enacted or you would advocate?

TAD BOYLE: I don't know. Again, I think you've got to get it all out on the table and here are the problems. We know some of them. Now what are you going to do to deal with them? How are we going to attack this thing? There are so many different angles from agents to shoe companies to summer recruiting. There is just so much stuff that goes on that you've got to get to the bottom of it and deal with it the best you can. The task force is going to have a lot of different constituents that they're going to listen to and try to address the problem. I think it's a good thing. I just hope it's effective. Because if it's not effective, it's a waste of a lot of people's time, energy, and effort.

REPORTER: You had some comments where I thought you said in some cases you back off a guy when you start to see there is something going on like that.

TAD BOYLE: Absolutely, yeah.

REPORTER: Have you noticed a trend as far as where that might be originating from? Is it players, handlers, AAU guys where you see maybe the most concern?

TAD BOYLE: All of the above. Whenever you identify a prospect and say, okay, he's got what we think it takes to be a Colorado Buffalo, you start digging. You start finding out information. You find out who are they close to, who are they listening to, who is running the recruitment, so to speak. It might be mom or dad, an AAU coach, a high school coach. It might be a hander, a workout guy. Everybody has a workout guy now. But you identify that. Then you have to make a determination, hey, is that going to work with what we're dealing with. If the answer's no, you better cut bait and go on; otherwise, you're wasting a lot of time, energy, and money chasing the wrong guys.

REPORTER: What percentage of the time is that happening?

TAD BOYLE: I don't know percentage. Every kid, every situation, they're all unique to themselves. There is only one George King. There is only one Tory Miller. Everyone, their stories are all unique and different. So it's hard to say percentage-wise, you know. I couldn't put a number on it.

REPORTER: Have you ever had a representative for a player flat out ask for money?

TAD BOYLE: No, I have not. It's not gotten to that point. Again, I've been involved with recruiting situations where I'm wondering. But, again, it hasn't come up with me.

REPORTER: Larry K. said something like at some point somebody will ask something like: Is there anything else?

TAD BOYLE: Right. Yeah, you get that. You get that. But you don't get the, hey, I need this. That's not to say somebody else hasn't, but you have to read between the lines as you make those determinations.

REPORTER: It's mainly been assistant coaches that have been wrapped in at least legally at this point. How much responsibility do head coaches have in overseeing their assistants?

TAD BOYLE: The NCAA has made it clear to me over the last two or three years that the head coach's responsibility is paramount. If we hire somebody in our summer camps -- I think Tom Izzo got suspended some games because they hired somebody at their summer camps that they weren't allowed to hire. My guess is Tom Izzo's not in charge of hiring camp coaches at Michigan State. Maybe he is. He's responsible for it. He's the one that paid the price for that mistake. That's just one example of a head coach's responsibility. They really made an effort in the last two or three years to make that very clear to us. So I'm in charge of hiring my guys, and they represent us.

REPORTER: Is it to the point where if you're recruiting somebody and you're getting to know them or making sure that you're hitting that requirement, do you actually literally check with your assistants every week about the recruit, that everybody's on the up and up here, and you keep going? And how do you document it? Or that you're monitoring? You know what I mean?

TAD BOYLE: Well, look, we have recruiting meetings literally every day in our office when we're all there. If we don't, we're speaking with them on the phone. So there is daily interaction, at least on our staff. I can't speak to anybody else's staff other than ours. But I have daily meetings about recruiting. It might last five minutes. It might last two hours. It might last 30 seconds. You're talking with them. But I'm not around 24/7. Look, today I'm in San Francisco. They're in Boulder. Who are they talking to? I don't know. What are they saying? What are they talking about? I don't know. I have to hire guys that I trust, that have high degree of character and they're going to work hard.

REPORTER: We're working on something on Christian Dawkins (indiscernible) the FBI investigation. Just kind of a general question. What's it say about the state of college basketball that a 24-years-old with no college education could put so many jobs and lives in peril?

TAD BOYLE: Yeah, it just -- look, it's shown some light on the underbelly of our sport. I think that's a good thing. I don't think it's a bad thing. Lot of people think it's a bad thing, but I think it's a good thing. It's a problem that's gone on for years and years. Now, because the F.B.I. uncovered this, we're having to deal with it. And I think that can be good for our game in the long run. It's maybe not fun to talk about. Right now we should be talking about this. We should be talking about the season and our teams, but we're talking about this. Look, it probably needs to be talked about. In the long run, if we can identify the problems and the issues, if we can cleanse the game to some degree, it's a good thing. Look, there are a lot of coaches and a lot of programs that are doing things the right way, and I feel like Colorado's one of those programs. So from that standpoint, there is a lot of satisfaction that comes from this. I just hope everybody gets exposed that deserves to be exposed.

REPORTER: If the FBI approached you and asked for your input on the investigation, kind of the state of college basketball, do you think you'd have valuable information for him?

TAD BOYLE: I would have opinions, but information -- look, a lot of people say, well, why don't coaches -- everybody thinks there's like this coaches won't rat out other coaches. That's not true. That's not true at all. I don't have any proof. I suspect things. I think things are happening. I've got a pretty good idea, but I can't prove it. So from that standpoint, I'm not much use to the F.B.I. In terms of what are the issues, how does this work? I could point them in the right direction, but I don't have any proof. So from that standpoint, I'm not sure how much help I'd be. But I do think that it's good that we're talking about it, and hopefully we can purge the system of what needs to be purged. But the reality is, look, everybody that's not doing things the right way is probably not going to get caught in this thing. There might be some people that slip through, so to speak. But I hope, if anything else, especially for younger coaches, they can take pause before they exhibit this kind of behavior in the future.

REPORTER: Are you encouraged by the NCAA committee and the Pac-12 Task Force, or do you kind of wonder if all of the people on those committees are necessarily plugged in enough to the current model of the game?

TAD BOYLE: Yeah, I don't know. Look, from my understanding is the task force is going to talk to a lot of -- if they're not plugged in, at least they're going to talk to the people that are plugged in, okay? And, again, that's the whole idea. You have to have people that are forthright and will tell you what the issues really are. How is this really happening, then how do you deal with it and what is the best way to deal with it. Bottom line is this: There is a black market that's been exposed. That black market's not going away. You've just got to learn how to deal with it.

REPORTER: Do you believe taking a look at amateurism in general could help to alleviate that black market?

TAD BOYLE: No. I mean, would getting rid of amateurism take care of the black market? Yeah, it would. But it would create a whole new set of issues that I don't think the NCAA -- it's a non-starter. In terms of that, I don't think anybody's going to go away from the amateurism model. I would like to say maybe some sort of a happy medium there. We've seen that with cost of attendance. I think that's been good for student-athletes. It's been good for everybody. It's added a lot of cost to the system as well. So I don't have all the answers, okay. I don't pretend to have all the answers. But I do think hopefully what this task force can do, both the NCAA's and the Pac-12's, is learn what the issues are, try to deal with the issues as best we can. It's going to be a process that's not going to happen as quickly as we want to. The questions, I think, that a lot of people have are what's going to happen with what's already been exposed. We don't have the answer to that either. There are a lot more questions right now than there are answers.

REPORTER: There was one thought that maybe reforming a summer league might help. Right now you have EYBL and (indiscernible) or whatever, Under Armour. How do you do that? Who is going to pay? Do you think that would help?

TAD BOYLE: No, because the black market's the same. It's still going to be there. It's not going away. It's not going away. It's how do we best deal with it. Again, I think that's something that we've got to get our arms around. It's not going to happen overnight. It's going to take some time and some thought and some discussion and come up with hopefully -- I don't know if it will be a solution, but how do we best deal with it.

REPORTER: Do you believe it would be worthwhile to investigate at least players making money by a sponsorship or by other means?

TAD BOYLE: Again, I think that's a non-starter when it comes to presidents and ADs.

REPORTER: But for you, though?

TAD BOYLE: Everybody has an opinion on that.


TAD BOYLE: And really the opinions don't matter. What matters is what's in place. I don't see it going that way. I don't see it going that way. But there's a lot of people that believe that's the case. I think, look, the one thing that would really help is if the NBA allowed kids to go to the NBA out of high school. Then you can -- it's going to -- it's not going to eliminate the problems, but it will alleviate a lot of this stuff. You've got these kids coming out of high school. I mean, the way they're being looked at on the black market is they're $100 million assets. Not all of them, but that's what some of them are going to earn over the course of their career. When you have those kind of assets, people are going to want to attach themselves to those assets, and that's what's happening.

REPORTER: I think it was sort of along the lines of the same. There was a thought maybe, too, that you could have representation, allow representation similar to the baseball model, and guys could have some advice or they could hire an agent but defer the money, whatever.

TAD BOYLE: Yeah, I don't know that model, but I do think that that is something that would be helpful to look at. I don't know. Again, I'm not sure of how baseball is structured and what the rules are. But, again, I do think that, look, kids right now can talk to agents. They can have a relationship with agents. They just can't take anything from them and they can't choose one. They can't, okay. I mean, look, that's the black market that we're talking about. So, to me, if there is a crux of the issue, I think that's it. How do we deal with that issue, the agent. I think the shoe companies can be worked with. I think those relationships are already in place between schools and shoe companies. That can be handled. It's that agent player or family relationship that I think needs to be really looked at, because I think that's where a lot of these issues arise.