Former Indiana University head basketball coach Bob Knight criticized UCLA legend John Wooden for his lack of control over Bruins booster Sam Gilbert when it came to recruiting.
"I have a lot of respect for Wooden as a coach, how he coached. He was a good coach," he said. "But from then on, and I don't mind saying it, I don't respect Wooden, because he allowed Sam Gilbert to do whatever it took to recruit kids. And one time he told me, he said, 'I just didn't know how to deal with Sam Gilbert.' And I'm saying to myself, 'I damn sure could have dealt with him.'"
In 2010, Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times reported an investigation by the outlet into Gilbert revealed him as "a one-man clearing house who has enabled players and their families to receive goods and services usually at big discounts and sometimes at no cost."
The probe found the prominent booster helped recruits and their families get everything from cars and clothes to game tickets, and he "allegedly even arranged abortions for players' girlfriends."
Although the NCAA eventually punished UCLA in 1981 for Gilbert's role during Larry Brown's time leading the program, the investigation found he also carried plenty of weight during the Wooden years, and Dufresne noted the legendary coach "generally turned a blind eye."
"Maybe I had tunnel vision," Wooden said before his 2010 death. "I still don't think he's had any great impact on the basketball program."
Wooden became UCLA's head coach in 1948 after two years at Indiana State and remained in that capacity through 1975. The Bruins won 10 national championships, including seven straight, starting with the 1966-67 season, and compiled a 620-147 record during his tenure.
"Personally, I liked John, as a person, but it isn't just John; it's a whole UCLA approach to recruiting," Knight told Buck. "I think John was called in and told he didn't have to worry about recruiting, that they had people that would take care of that for him."
Knight won three NCAA titles during his 29-year run at Indiana, which began in 1971 and included the 1976 championship in the first year after Wooden's retirement.