You may have read in the Cincinnati Enquirer yesterday that former Xavier players Edmond Sumner and Semaj Christon were linked to ASM Sports and agent Andy Miller. ASM and Miller are only interesting in that they’re part of a massive federal investigation into corruption in college basketball. Everybody and his mum has been projecting what’s going to come of this investigation, but the general consensus is that it’s going to level some pretty big-time programs.
It remains to be seen what exactly is going to come of the whole thing, but it’s not something you want your favorite program to get caught up in. Fortunately, Xavier doesn’t seem to be.
Let’s talk Edmond Sumner first. At 6’3”, 160 in high school, he was obviously more of a project than and immediate impact guy. ESPN and Scout had him as four-star guys and Rivals had him at three stars; on consensus, he was outside the top 100. He picked up offers from UMass, Toledo, and Kent State. He got some interest from Purdue, but they didn’t offer.
It goes without saying - or at least it should - that he wasn’t the type of prospect people are paying money for. Xavier was far and away his most prominent interest. He signed with X, redshirted a year, and finally took off in his third year on campus.
According to the new Forde/Thamel report, Ed or his father did receive $7,000 while Ed was in school. The upshot, if there is one, is that the investigation didn’t turn up anything involving the program, only that ASM may have paid money to the Sumners after Ed was on campus. There is currently no evidence suggesting Xavier allowed any misconduct in the recruiting process.
EDITED TO ADD: It’s also worth noting that the report shows that the meeting labelled “Edmond Sumner/Josh Jackson meeting” on the ASM spreadsheet occurred in Detroit on 2/24/16, the same day Ed was busy participating in Xavier’s win over Villanova down in Cincinnati. If this meeting actually took place as alleged, it’s fairly clear that Ed wasn’t involved in it.
Coach Mack released this statement regarding the situation: “I have no relationship with Andy Miller or any of his associates. He plays no role in the recruitment of potential student athletes on Xavier’s behalf. Beyond that, our staff has never created a path for him to foster a relationship with any of our student-athletes while enrolled at Xavier. Any suggestion that I or anyone on my staff utilized Andy Miller to provide even the slightest of financial benefits to a Xavier student-athlete is grossly misinformed. We are prepared to cooperate with any and all investigations at any level.”
Based on what we, and Coach Mack, know about the depth of this investigation, it seems safe to assume that there is no serious issue here for Xavier. It’s not beyond the realm of possibilty, but it would take hubris of an immense degree to say you had done nothing wrong when you know someone is already holding the evidence. For now, Xavier’s coach and program remain blameless.
Semaj Christon is a bit of a different case. He was a five-star recruit according to Scout and a solid four-star guy on ESPN and Rivals, landing him solidly in the top 50 by consensus. If something shady was going on, it would be much more likely to be going on around a guy that highly-regarded.
Xavier’s in the clear on this one though. Semaj wasn’t connected with ASM until January of 2017, which you may recognize as nearly three years after he left Xavier. ASM was the third agency to represent him as a pro; there’s simply no connection between the agency that was reportedly trying to sell prospects to colleges and Semaj in his college days.
So, for now, rest easy on this one, Xavier fans. Once again, we can sit back with our feet up and wait for the NCAA hammer to fall (which it probably won’t, if the UNC academics scandal is anything to judge by), content in the knowledge that it shouldn’t land on our beloved Muskies.