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After the trials comes the deluge.

The federal criminal investigation of illegal recruiting in college basketball didn't turn out to be the blockbuster that federal prosecutors suggested it would be.

But the revelations produced by trials involving shoe company executives, assistant college basketball coaches and player agents still provided the NCAA plenty to chew on.

That's why a top NCAA executive recently disclosed that at least six major college basketball programs will be receiving dreaded "letters of inquiry" by the end of summer.

Stan Wilcox, the organization's vice president for regulatory affairs, was surprisingly specific about what the future holds vis a vis the NCAA investigation stemming from the federal criminal probe.

He said two high-profile programs will receive inquiry notices by mid-July and another four will get them by the end of summer.

Plus, he said, "there's even another group of cases we're still working on."

Skeptics have been underwhelmed for years by the NCAA's investigative prowess. But Wilcox promised that "we're moving forward, and you'll see consequences."

After Wilcox's comments, speculation turned immediately to the possible targets, not just the schools but the head coaches who can be held responsible for wrongdoing committed by subordinates.

They include the creme de la creme of college basketball — Kansas, Louisville, Arizona — as well as lesser, but still formidable programs like Auburn, Oklahoma State, the University of Southern California, Florida and Louisiana State.

Each was mentioned prominently in the trial related to the illegal recruiting of top high school basketball talent by top programs affiliated with prominent shoe companies.

The NCAA's advantage in pursuing these alleged violations is that it doesn't have to rely on its own investigators to do the work. In this case, the NCAA can use the information introduced at the public trials of a handful of defendants and the guilty pleas entered by numerous assistant basketball coaches.

The federal investigation, for the most part, did not reveal the kind of unsavory behavior that shocked jaded fans. Everyone paying attention knows there's a dark underbelly to college recruiting that goes back — in one form or another — decades.

What is surprising is how deeply ingrained the corrupt tactics are and the extent to which prominent and otherwise respectable business are in the process.

Given the market value — whether above-ground or underground — of certain high-profile young athletes, it would be the height of naivete to think athletes would not want to cash in. That's why the NCAA is going to have to come up with rules that allow players to share in the vast wealth college sports generate.

Until that happens, however, basketball schools and coaches will have to make choices about how they'll go about recruiting.

As for those programs that already have chosen the direction they would take, the NCAA is threatening to bring the hammer down in a way that has the potential, for at least a while, to shape up the power structure in a big way.