The witness stand: Could the FBI's unnamed Louisville player and coaches be called up?
What's a possible next step for the unnamed Louisville player and coaches in the FBI's criminal complaint detailing wire fraud and money laundering in college basketball recruiting?
It could be taking the witness stand, said Jeff Danik, a retired FBI supervisory agent, in an interview on the CardsHQ podcast.
Danik, who was speaking without direct knowledge of the details in the federal hoops investigation, said people generally go unnamed in federal complaints for privacy purposes prior to a trial.
"These people who aren't named in the complaint, you can bet they'll be called as witnesses if there's a trial," Danik said.
In cases like this one, which was made public on Sept. 26, authorities don't want the names of potential witnesses "out there," Danik said, because of the possible negative connotations that would come with that.
The challenge in this situation, though, is the high public interest in the case.
Rick Pitino, the first major college basketball figure to lose his job in the fallout, is not named in the FBI complaint, but a law enforcement source confirmed to the Courier-Journal one of the unnamed coaches in the document was Pitino.
Pitino told the Courier-Journal on Sunday he is "absolutely not" concerned about potential legal problems related to the FBI case.
Since he isn't specifically named in the complaint, there's a chance Pitino is right. The same could apply to the two unnamed Louisville assistant coaches in the complaint, too, as well as the two unnamed recruits, one of whom is believed to be suspended freshman wing Brian Bowen.
Asked if it's possible for unnamed people in a criminal complaint to turn from witnesses to potential targets of an investigation, Danik said it depends on the situation.
"In this particular incident, is the government going to go after parents and student-athletes because they participated in this and took the money?" Danik said. "It doesn't look like it. It looks like they're after the actual manipulators, the hunters. ... The witnesses will be much more cooperative because they're not going to be charged."
And, Danik added, "Those people will become very good witnesses."
Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel reported arraignments for the eight men charged in the case are scheduled to begin this coming Tuesday in New York.
Danik said the next step in the case would be indictments from a grand jury. There is always the chance of plea bargaining behind the scenes, he said.
The former FBI agent also said the case was unusual because of the small amount of money involved and the intrusive investigative tactics that were used.
"The vast majority (of FBI cases) don't use wiretaps and the vast majority don't use undercover (agents)," Danik said, "so these are unusual circumstances."