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The guy who signed Michael Jordan at Nike says he's 'totally shocked' by the NCAA bribery arrests

  • "I'm surprised at the immensity of this thing," sports marketing legend Sonny Vaccaro says.
  • "It's not one school or one rogue somebody, it was organized ... beyond my belief. I'm totally shocked," he says.

Sports marketing legend Sonny Vaccaro told CNBC on Tuesday that he's "totally shocked" after news that several NCAA basketball coaches and other officials are facing federal fraud charges.

"I'm surprised at the immensity of this thing," said Vaccaro, who while working for Nike, signed Michael Jordan. "It's not one school or one rogue somebody, it was organized — you know, organized beyond my belief. I'm totally shocked."

"This is huge and nothing's good about anything this bad. Because it is deceit," Vaccaro added in an interview on "Fast Money Halftime Report."

Prosecutors announced on Tuesday that 10 people have been arrested, including four NCAA basketball coaches and an Adidas manager, in a bribery investigation involving recruitment efforts.

According to court documents, the probe revealed numerous instances of bribes paid to assistants and associate basketball coaches to exert influence over student-athletes.

"I realized something like this could've happened, I sort of predicted a long time ago that it would happen more than not," Vaccaro said.

He said college basketball is a multibillion-dollar industry, which has much success at the expense of its athletes.

Sonny Vaccaro
Getty Images
Sonny Vaccaro

"A multibillion-dollar industry where everyone, including the coaches that you're talking about, and university, all these great universities, that hang their flags on the wall and winning championships ... it's all done at the expense, and I use this ironically, at the expense of the athletes," Vaccaro said.

Athletes are winning championships and "doing this day to day and are hoping to get by tomorrow," he added.

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