The story posted in yesterday's DTNDD mentioned David Salinas, a financial advisor being investigated by the SEC and started a couple of select AAU teams, committed suicide on Sunday. Why is this posting here? Well, Billy Gillispie was an investor and as we are starting to learn, Gillispie is also not afraid of the AAU scene. The Houston Chronicle reports this morning that Salinas' death was a suicide. There apparently is no comment from the Securities Exchange Commission on whether or not Salinas' firm was involved in an Ponzi scheme, however, it should be noted that a handful of notable coaches invested with Salinas:
Among the coaches who invested with Salinas or offered testimonials to him, according to CBSSports.com, were former Arizona coach Lute Olson, Baylor coach Scott Drew, Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie, Nebraska coach Doc Sadler and former Rice coach Willis Wilson, now the coach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
If you read the story linked above, you have those that think that Salinas was one of the good guys in the AAU business, but then you have coaches commenting off the record stating that Salinas would sometimes steer AAU players to a coach that may have invested with his firm. The Chron's Jerome Solomon gives the details:
The coach said Salinas told him he would direct players from his summer league squad to the coach's university if the coach would invest $100,000 with him.
The coach said he declined the offer but didn't report the incident to the NCAA. Had he done the right thing then, we might not be where we are now.
To be fair, there are coaches and players who considered Salinas to be a father-figure and was helping "impoverished" athletes find scholarships:
A longtime Houston summer basketball league director whose teams competed against Salinas' said there were never even rumors that Salinas used his position to influence players to choose particular schools.
"All I ever heard about him was positives," he said. "I never heard anything negative about him. And believe me, if there was something to this involving recruiting or players being sold to certain schools, people would have been talking about it."
A longtime assistant coach who knew Salinas said he would be shocked if the allegations of recruiting improprieties were true.
"What I know is he has done things to help kids go to school, things he did without getting anything in return," the coach said. "I would be absolutely shocked to find out anything said about him on that front were true. I've never seen evidence of that."
I put "impoverished" in quotes because I never understood how or why a kid that's talented needs help on finding a scholarship. This isn't an original thought and you have people saying the same thing about Will Lyles and this is probably a discussion for another day.
Big XII Hoops Matt Patton had this tweet from a Kentucky Sports Radio's Matt Jones, who listened to a Houston radio host (confused yet?) say that Gillispie was one of the last people to see Salinas and wasn't happy:
Houston radio host says Billy Gillispie one of the last to see Ponzi scheme owner alive and was angry in office last week. Very sad story
This sounds bad all the way around. I don't know how all of this plays out and the only consolation that I have is that Gillispie has been out of coaching for a few years and wasn't bound by any NCAA regulations. The fact that he may be an investor is troubling for him personally and there's no point in speculating the last blockquote.