Why Does The Justice Department Care More About College Basketball Than Harvey Weinstein?

Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for TIME

Jena Greene Reporter
Font Size:

The Justice Department seems to be way more interested in investigating college basketball than sexual predators lurking in movie trailers and hotel suites.

A couple of weeks ago, the FBI announced it would be looking into multiple universities for bribery, wire fraud, and broad corruption. Four coaches were named in the investigation: USC’s Tony Bland, Auburn’s Chuck Person, Emanuel “Book” Richardson of Arizona, and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State.

Also named were several Adidas brand ambassadors and front office execs, including Merl Code, a former Clemson athlete who now works to boost Adidas’ brand, and James Gatto, Adidas’ global sports marketing director.

The announcement of the investigation caused waves beyond the sports world. The House Energy and Commerce Committee even requested to be a part of the investigation.

Yet, no head coach was named and no player seemed to be harmed in the matter. It’s curious that we’re getting daily updates on the investigation. Sure, it involves some high profile basketball programs but I can hardly imagine that a majority of the country cares much. It definitely doesn’t ruin my viewing experience if a few college athletes get paid to play.

And if the FBI is suddenly in the business of taking up buzz worthy cases, why on Earth aren’t they hotter on the Harvey Weinstein path?

It quickly became national news last week that the Hollywood mogul was accused of horrific sexual harassment and rape. Dozens of women have come forward with stories about Weinstein’s unwanted sexual advances on them. Yet up until late last night, the Harvey was not under any sort of formal investigation. It took over a week for the FBI to allegedly announce they would take up a case on the star.

Not only did it take a week, but reports show the DOJ actually had to order them to open the investigation. I shudder to imagine what would’ve happened if that didn’t happen. He’d probably be on a plane to Europe.

It goes beyond the FBI dragging their feet in this week’s case. In 2015, NYPD was ready to arrest Weinstein on the grounds that he had sexually harassed a 22 year old model. They brought the case to the Manhattan District Attorney with evidence that was “considerably stronger than is routinely needed to convict less illustrious gropers in the subway.”

The case was mysteriously dropped by the DA. Weeks later, his office accepted $10,000 from Weinstein.

It’s suspicious to say the least.

The FBI’s first priority should be the pursuit of justice. Its second should be to instill public trust. As it stands now, both priorities are shaky at best. The Bureau is coming off of an incredibly rocky relationship with both 2016 presidential candidates and its top cop was just very publicly fired by Trump in May.

If the FBI wants to regain any sort of public confidence, it should focus a lot less on college basketball and a lot more on sexual predators with a bloated sense of elitism.

Follow David on Twitter