Tosh Lupoi, who is considered to be one of the best recruiters in the entire country, is being investigated for allegedly paying for a recruit’s SAT tutoring and academics. Lupoi’s alleged improper conduct occurred earlier this year while he was a defensive line coach at Washington, and involves recruit Andrew Basham, who failed to qualify academically despite signing a letter of intent to play for the Huskies.
The Los Angeles Times and USC’s compliance department received a tip about Lupoi’s (pictured) alleged improper conduct. The Times published a lengthy report on the matter Wednesday night, while USC is investigating the matter.
As we have been writing here at LBS, Lupoi is one of the main assistant coaches Steve Sarkisian wanted to bring with him to USC. Though he is still considered a Washington assistant, Lupoi supposedly told a recruit he was going to USC.
According to The Times’ report, Lupoi is accused of paying $4,500 over two separate payments to a middleman in an effort to help Basham qualify academically for Washington. Basham is a top defensive end from Lynnwood High School in Washington, nearby the UW campus. He also won the state title in the shotput. The middleman is said to be Mike Davis, a throwing coach who helped Basham in the shotput.
Lupoi is accused of giving Davis $3,000 in February to pay for private SAT tutoring for Basham. That payment exchange allegedly took place inside a restaurant at a mall in Washington. The second payment allegedly was for $1,500 to pay back the Basham family, who paid for online courses through Laurel Springs School intended to boost their son’s GPA. That transaction allegedly took place inside the Washington football facility in May.
One of the funny/interesting tidbits from the story is that one cash transaction was in a brown paper bag tucked into a booth, and the other was in a coffee cup. Just the type of back-alley type stuff you envisioned.
The NCAA is investigating the issue, and Lupoi likely will not be able to coach at USC or Washington as a result. He has denied wrongdoing.
Another issue is whether Sarkisian could face sanctions or punishment because this happened while Lupoi was on his staff. Bylaw Blog says Sark could face punishment based on the rules, but USC’s compliance department is not worried.
“We don’t have concerns about Steve’s involvement,” USC VP of compliance David Roberts told The Times.
What’s bad news for Lupoi is that Davis has bank statements to support his story, so there is a damning paper trail.
Part of the motivation for the story being tipped to USC and The Times could be that Davis and the Bashams seemed upset that Lupoi ignored them after Basham failed to qualify. This would certainly be a big way to get him back.Google+