Thanks to an open records request made by Eric Crawford over at WDRB, we now know that former Louisville basketball assistants Jordan Fair and Kenny Johnson have both been interviewed by the NCAA in recent months. Fair’s interview occurred on Feb. 21, Johnson’s on April 9.
We now also know that the NCAA has submitted 189 items on its list of exhibits. Some of them are far more interesting than others.
As a whole, most of the items on the list have been reported on or were introduced in open court. Among them are bank records form Johnson, including his checking account withdrawals for August 24, 2017, and his bank records from August of 2017, as well as a number of cell phone and text message records.
Brian Bowen’s father testified that Johnson made a $1,300 cash payment to him at a downtown Louisville gas station in August of 2017, after he asked for help paying the family’s rent at the Galt House Hotel, where the Bowens were living.
The list also includes various bank records, text messages and cell phone records from Fair.
It’s not hard to argue that the most crucial allegation in this entire NCAA case is the allegation that Johnson made a $1,300 cash payment to the father of Brian Bowen while Bowen was enrolled at Louisville, Johnson was a Cardinal assistant, and the program was already on probation.
The elder Bowen testified in federal court last year that Johnson made the payment on Aug. 23, 2017 after Bowen had told him that he needed help paying for a room at the Galt House, where the family was staying. Johnson has previously denied Bowen Sr.’s claim.
With this seeming like a he said-he said deal, Louisville could have been set to argue that Bowen Sr. contradicted himself several times during his federal testimony, and that his word shouldn’t be taken at face value. The NCAA using these specific bank records as evidence seems ... well, not great. It also seems less than ideal that Johnson spoke with the NCAA in early April and was fired by La Salle weeks later.
There’s been some questions over the last couple of days as to why Fair would speak with the NCAA when he’s not currently underneath their employment umbrella. My only guess is that Fair has aspirations to get back into college coaching at some point, saw that the two coaches currently out of college basketball who refused to cooperate with the NCAA were handed double-digit show cause penalties, and decided this was the safe play.
Then again, who knows?
The four words that should end every post involving a situation where the NCAA will ultimately render a verdict and a punishment.