Gonzaga’s Mark Few has been added to a growing list of college basketball coaches who invested money with David Salinas, a Houston-area investment adviser who founded the Houston Select AAU program, SI.com reported.
GU assistant coach Ray Giacoletti on Monday acknowledged a 22-year friendship with Salinas, who committed suicide Sunday, days after Salinas was interviewed by federal officials probing a possible Ponzi scheme.
“This is a tragic event that impacts the family and friends of David Salinas,” Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth said in a school release. “The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the matter as it is not a basketball matter. We sympathize with all of those whose lives have been affected by this shocking event.”
Former Gonzaga guard Demetri Goodson played for Houston Select. Goodson transferred from Gonzaga in May to play football at Baylor, whose coach, Art Briles, was among Salinas’ clients.
SI.com reported that there is no existing NCAA bylaw prohibiting university representatives from investing in what they believe to be legitimate securities, but a conflict of interest seemingly arises when the head of an AAU program is also the person managing (and profiting from) those investments.
Later Monday, ESPN.com reported that the NCAA isn’t planning a formal probe into the matter. A high-ranking source told ESPN.com that the coaches invested money in the alleged scheme, but that it isn’t an NCAA issue and concluded no rules violations occurred.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Salinas asked former Houston coach Tom Penders for a “significant sum of money” to invest in exchange for steering players from his AAU program.
“He hinted he could steer players my way,” Penders told the Chronicle. “I never got involved with him, period.”
Salinas has been portrayed in several media reports as a respected money manager whose “heart was in the right place” regarding his involvement in AAU basketball.
Few invested $353,000 and Giacoletti $1.2 million with Salinas, according to SI.com. Eleven current and former college basketball coaches have been identified, including Texas Tech’s Billy Gillispie ($2.3 million) and ex-Arizona coach Lute Olson ($1.17 million). At least two college football coaches and a former athletic director also invested with Salinas.
Few didn’t return a phone message.