College Basketball Recruiting Cheating may be the 2nd oldest profession; but it doesn’t trail prostitution by much for #1.
This quite lengthy interview with one of the slimiest of the slimeballs details “how it was done” in the 70-80s. The psychology of hunter and prey hasn’t changed even if technology has.
OF COURSE “stuff like this” never went on at “your school”….. because……… ???
YORK, Pa. – Looking back, Al Hmiel can see that he was a “slimeball.” A liar. A cheat. A University of Cincinnati basketball coach committed to landing recruits and keeping them eligible through any available means.
He looks back with loathing.
“I questioned my integrity, where my life was going, ’cause I was living a lie,” Hmiel said. “I felt like I was a pimp or prostitute myself, selling myself for the University of Cincinnati to bring players in, and looking at moms and dads and flat-out lying. And lying to kids. And lying to their coaches, to their girlfriends or whoever was their key adviser, saying the right things that they wanted to hear.
“The truth sometimes hurts, so you didn’t tell the truth as a recruiter. You lied. ‘Trust me, I’m lying,’ was almost my motto.”
For most of his life, and in some cases for 40 years, Hmiel carried a guilty conscience and a stash of secrets arguably more damning than the infractions that earned Cincinnati a two-year NCAA probation in 1978. He admits to….
taking tests for prized players to keep them eligible,
to steering players who were no longer wanted to hard classes in the hope they’d flunk out,
to plying high school recruits with alcohol and cash,
to faking Julius Erving’s signature on recruiting correspondence,
to placing late-night collect calls to recruits in the name of rival coaches,
to behaving, by his own admission, like a “slimeball,” a “low-life crumb,” “a snake in the grass.”
How low did he go? Once, while teaching a basketball class at Cincinnati, Hmiel says he assigned an athlete in another sport a D grade for B-quality work to accommodate a coach eager to free up a scholarship. Another time, as the basketball team’s academic adviser, Hmiel deliberately overscheduled a player until he became academically ineligible and transferred.
Now 63, Hmiel says he was finally moved to admit his many ethical lapses out of empathy for Andre McGee, the former University of Louisville director of basketball operations, and from the concern that McGee may be scapegoated in the U of L sex scandal being investigated by the NCAA. Recently retired after nearly 30 years at Procter & Gamble and far removed from college basketball, Hmiel says he has never met McGee, but he is intimately familiar with the plight of a young coach on the bottom rung of the career ladder.
Yet former Cincinnati players confirmed salient parts of Hmiel’s story and volunteered additional details consistent with the former coach’s depiction of a basketball program with little regard for NCAA rules or academic integrity. Greg Johnson, the player whom Hmiel says Catlett eventually instructed him to “flunk out,” says Dally paid him a $10,000 signing bonus…., plus $500 a month in cash…, provided him with new suits monthly from a private tailor and…. arranged for a free Chevrolet Malibu Classic for his grandparents’ use.
Even so, Hmiel says, the Bearcats were often outbid.