Dana and David Pump -- known collectively as the "Pump Brothers," which might be the greatest name for two shady college basketball power brokers of all time -- haven't had the best offseason.
The Pumps are a new-age college hoops influence octopus whose tentacles have at one point or another touched nearly every aspect of the game. They run elite AAU teams. They advise colleges on coaching searches. They have ties to ticket scalping operations, including an alleged link to Kansas' recent ticket scandal. They run a large charitable foundation in their father's name, which has drawn scrutiny for its ties to coaches and college programs in the past. They are everywhere.
But the NCAA is doing its best to crack down on "individuals associated with prospects," and the Pumps, thanks to their traveling summer hoops teams, have been designated as such. Which means the Pumps' relationship to college basketball is due for a few changes.
The first was the NCAA's decree that coaches and programs weren't allowed to contribute or associate with the Pumps' charitable foundation. The latest bit of news, via Yahoo!'s Charles Robinson and Jason King, is the NCAA's decision to cut off coaching search firms that are associated with prospects, which means the Pumps are officially out of the coaching search business. Needless to say, the Pumps are less than pleased about this development:
“What are Dana and I supposed to do?” David Pump said. “They just changed these rules. You should ask the NCAA because I don’t know. Of course I’m very disappointed. Dana and I work our whole life to build our business, and people are doing things like this. Don’t you think they’re being a little unfair?”
“I never knew Dana and David Pump were big fish. All we want to do is help people, have a good time, and that’s it.”
Aww. The big mean NCAA is cracking down on the little old Pumps, whose only goal in life is to help people. Touching, right?
Thing is, much as they'd publicly pretend otherwise, the Pumps are big fish, a duo at the bleeding edge of the seedier side of college hoops. The NCAA's new rules on associations with prospects won't completely rid the sport of Pump-esque influence; you can bet agents and AAU runners are finding the next exploitable NCAA loophole even as we speak. The Pumps themselves, however, are going to have to seriously rethink their business model. This is a good thing.