USC's hiring of Eric Mobley opens up the floodgates for ethical criticism

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It’s important to note that some team was always going to hire Eric Mobley, just as some program was always going to employ Michael Porter Sr. The reveal that Mobley’s new position will be at USC only sharpens the knives for those who want to lambast NCAA basketball as a corrupt sideshow for influence dealing and favors.

The hiring of Mobley, a longtime AAU coach, is rife for critical commentary because he is the father of two of America’s most prized upcoming recruits, Isaiah Mobley, a junior, and Evan Mobley, a sophomore. Mobley was hired as USC’s assistant coach, permanently filling a position that was opened when former assistant coach Tony Bland was dismissed for his part in the FBI’s investigation into amateur basketball.

According to ESPN, the man who served as USC’s assistant coach during the 2017-18 season, Martin Bahar, is being pushed to the side as Director of Scouting to make room for Mobley.

If you find it ironic that Bland was pushed out for a sense of ethical toxicity only to be replaced by a man whose appointment is considered ethically questionable (if completely within the realm of NCAA regulations), well, there’s something to that.

Yet, just as with the hiring of Michael Porter Sr. at Washington and Missouri before, USC is not doing anything directly wrong by hiring Mobley. Even the shunting over of an internally promoted candidate to make room for a man without experience beyond AAU basketball is within the rules and regulations of college basketball.

Of course, the idea that a school would replace a man accused of illegal recruiting tactics by the FBI with an AAU-backed father of two recruits is unseemly. Whether it’s ever shown to be something more than that remains to be seen.

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