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Scandal dogs US college basketball despite Miami victory

media Feb 27, 2018; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Miami (Fl) Hurricanes players celebrate after guard Ja'Quan Newton (0) hits a last second shot to win the game. The Hurricanes defeated the Tar Heels at Dean E. Smith Center Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Miami upset North Carolina's six-game winning streak on Tuesday, beating them 91-88 with just four seconds left on the buzzer. The news comes as US college basketball faces an FBI investigation into claims it paid students to play.

The winning shot came after North Carolina's Joel Berry hit a three to tie the game at 88-88 with just over four seconds left on the clock.

With no timeout stoppages, the final few seconds in Chapel Hill were a pendulum swing of emotions.

That's when Ja'Quan Newton hit the winner from half court, beating the buzzer in the process, and sending the Hurricanes' fans into a frenzy.

The 91-88 victory all but assures that Miami will make the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament no matter what happens in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) tournament this week.

Bribery investigation

While it may be good to be a Miami fan right now, there is less welcome news for US college basketball.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is currently being investigated by the FBI over claims it bribed players to play.

Documents and bank records obtained during the federal investigation into at least 20 universities, detail in meticulous fashion expense reports and balance sheets that list cash advances, as well as entertainment and travel expenses for high school and college prospects and their families, in the hope that these potential recruits will sign up for NCAA teams.

"The NCAA is corrupt, we know that. Sorry, it’s going to make headlines, but it’s corrupt,” NBA star Le Bron James said Tuesday.

College athletes aren’t supposed to be paid but, with many of them coming from poor backgrounds, paying cash to recruits has long been a covert pratice, known to those in the game but difficult to prove.

The most infamous scandal was in 2013, where the University of Louisville men's basketball team apparently hired strippers and prostitutes to recruit players.

They've now been deprived of their 2013 national title by the NCAA and will have to pay back millions earned in tournament money.

With regards to reforming US college basketball, stars like James have suggested that the NBA could expand its G-League, the closest the NBA has to a minor league system with 26 teams, to "shore up its farm league".

"If kids feel like they don't want to be part of that NCAA thing, the NBA could be something for them to jump back on," he said.

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