The Jerome Allen story: A closer read

Jerome Allen was inducted into Class X of the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017. He’s no longer in the Hall of Fame now, and understandably so, But the good he did for Penn shouldn’t be shunted aside either. (Penn Sports Network video)

It was one year ago today that allegations that Jerome Allen took bribes were first reported by Bloomberg and the Miami Herald.

But the passage of time didn’t make Sports Illustrated’s deep dive last week into how Jerome Allen became guilty of bribery, wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion any easier to digest.

Most Penn basketball supporters will find it an uncomfortable read, but its revelations are simply too many to ignore.

They reconfirm what we already knew – one of Penn basketball’s most admired figures used his head coaching position for personal gain at the expense of the program.

But taken as a whole, the article’s revelations paint a far more holistic portrait than that.

Allen is and will always be more than an implicated figure on a witness stand, and his story as told by SI merits closer examination – as do the institutions and forces that shaped it. As someone who covered Allen and Penn basketball extensively for the Daily Pennsylvanian from 2012 to 2014, I thought I’d do a closer read of SI’s story, portions of which are italicized below.

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Ivy hoops roundup – July 17, 2019

 

  • Ben Baskin of Sports Illustrated published a longform article Thursday on former Penn head coach Jerome Allen and his part in a recruitment scandal that saw the Ivy great accept money from a parent to place an unqualified student-athlete onto the school’s recruited athlete list.  The author wrote his article, which is available online and in the print edition, “with the aid of court transcripts and exhibits, financial records, news reports and interviews with three dozen of his friends, classmates, teachers, coaches, players, mentors and coworkers, many speaking anonymously for fear of personal and professional ramifications.”
    The article provided the following new information: During his playing career, Allen faced a series of civil suits over unpaid debts—$5,000 owed to a car-leasing company, $13,000 to a bank, $6,700 to a landlord.
    – While Allen was coaching Penn, the school sued him for nearly $25,000 for failing to pay off two decades of accrued interest on a loan he had taken out as a student

    Read moreIvy hoops roundup – July 17, 2019

April Fool’s Day: Ivy League Tournament to require the Common App

The Ivy League Tournament had a difficult time selling out the 8,722-seat Palestra in its first two years, so a move to the 2,800-seat John J. Lee Amphitheater seemed to ensure an overflow crowd for 2019.  Unfortunately, the arena was not filled to capacity for its recent edition, and many seats were left empty during the opening Harvard-Penn semifinal.

To ensure sellouts as the tournament goes forward, the Ivy League has looked to its embattled undergraduate admissions departments to help solve the problem.

Read moreApril Fool’s Day: Ivy League Tournament to require the Common App