Around the Hall: Coaches named in alleged fraud and corruption scandal

  • 09/26/2017 1:47 pm in

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall staff.

The New York Times: N.C.A.A. Coaches and Adidas Executive Face Bribery Charges

Ten people involved at the highest levels of college basketball, including four assistant coaches and a senior executive at Adidas, are facing federal bribery, fraud and other corruption charges, prosecutors in Manhattan announced on Tuesday.

The United States attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a statement that since 2015 the F.B.I. and federal prosecutors have been investigating “the criminal influence of money on coaches and student-athletes who participate in intercollegiate basketball governed by the N.C.A.A.”

The investigation has revealed “numerous instances” of bribes paid by athlete advisers, and others, to assistant coaches and sometimes directly to student-athletes at N.C.A.A. Division I universities, the complaint said. The bribes were designed to get commitments from college stars to work with specific agents and companies after they turned professional, or to convince coveted high schoolers to attend specific universities.

Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com has details on the fraud and corruption charges announced Tuesday by the United States Attorney’s Office:

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced early Tuesday that charges of fraud and corruption have been brought against four current college basketball assistant coaches — Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson, Auburn’s Chuck Person, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans and USC’s Tony Bland. Managers, financial advisers and representatives of a major sportswear company have also been charged with federal crimes in a scandal that has rocked the sport.

“The picture of college basketball painted by the charges is not a pretty one,” Joon H. Kim, the acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. “Coaches at some of the nation’s top programs taking cash bribes, managers and advisers circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes, and employees of a global sportswear company funneling cash to families of high school recruits. … For the 10 charged men, the madness of college basketball went well beyond the Big Dance in March. Month after month, the defendants exploited the hoop dreams of student-athletes around the country, allegedly treating them as little more than opportunities to enrich themselves through bribery and fraud schemes.”

Louisville appears to be tied to the scandal, Marcus Green and Jason Riley of WDRB.com write:

In another case, a coach for a university that matches U of L’s description was caught  on an undercover FBI video negotiating payments in a Las Vegas hotel room for a second recruit, prosecutors claim. The coach, who is not named, acknowledged that his school was on probation at the time and said, ‘we gotta be very low key,” according to court documents.

ESPN.com also details potential involvement by Louisville:

The FBI complaint against Gatto and others also includes a reference to a “public research university located in Kentucky,” and sources told ESPN that it’s the University of Louisville. The complaint says the school has an enrollment of approximately 22,640, which matches Louisville’s during the 2016-17 academic year, and that the school offers approximately 21 varsity sports teams, which is the number the Cardinals offer, according to the athletics department’s website.

The allegations against the unnamed school in Kentucky, which is identified as “University-6” in the complaint, include payments of $100,000 from a sports apparel company to the family of an unnamed player, identified as “Player 10,” to ensure him signing with the school.

In a sworn statement from FBI agent John Vourderis, he wrote: “I have learned that in or around May of 2017, at the request of at least once coach from University-6, Dawkins, James Gatto, a/k/a “Jim,” Merl Code, Munish Sood, the defendants, and other agreed to funnel $100,000 (payable in four installments) from Company-1 to the family of Player-10. Shortly after the agreement with the family of Player-10 was reached in late May or early June, Player-10 publicly committed to University-6.”

Filed to:

  • Tcuomo

    This investigation is far from over. We don’t know who is guilty and who is not. I would be cautious about accusing schools and coaches. The Troy Williams recruitment is looking more and more suspicious as the hours pass by. Stay tuned.

  • VOXAC30

    Possibly but I haven’t heard anything about Nike being involved. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

  • William Stephens

    I understand your frustration. Crooks create corruption, not the NCAA or Adidas or any other legal business. Many things that the NCAA disallow seem to be against the student athlete. Having summer jobs is one. But at some schools athletes were being paid astronomical wages for work never done. Not fair to athletes or students at other schools with less prominent boosters. Boosters are a major problem at all schools, the NCAA struggles, at best, to control them. Rarely do the University Administrators help. Try to understand that amateurism does not mean one was never paid for play. It centers more around IOC regulations and in many communist countries people keep their amateur status even when they are paid to play. Now the IOC allows professional athletes to compete…”The Dream Team”! The NCAA considers a college scholarship within the amateur status if it stays within the regulations. Many schools have found ways to “run an end around”. Kentucky built Joe B. Hall dorm for basketball players only, complete with a private chef. The NCAA required some students must also live within the hall to be legal. A very small number were let in. Same at UL, Billy Minardi Hall was built, if the name rings a bell. Well that is where the stripper parties were held with the prostitutes.

  • Mr. Shep-dizzle

    I just read an article on NBC Sports by Rob Dauster that states “Kenny Johnsons name has been linked with some of the violations committed in the bombshell FBI investigation.”, in regards to potential coaching candidates for UoL. That is my concern for IU, from when he was still here. Not sure how much credibility to give it, but I’d hope the journalist wouldn’t just pull names out of the air and it has some meat to it.

  • Mr. Shep-dizzle

    I can definitely see that happening and making schools pay for all of their equipment / uniforms from their annual budgets. There’s plenty in there, at least at the big schools.

  • Ole Man

    It’s behind the paid fire wall, so it would have been easy to miss.
    So, no problem.

  • Slappy

    As mentioned lower in the comments WLKY in louisville named him yesterday. His name was already out there. Full story on their homepage

  • dwdkc

    How so? Crean had a relationship with Boo Williams, but there was no shoe company involvement and none of the guys were highly ranked. The fact that Troy signed with an agency that is under fire is meaningless–he wasn’t even drafted.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    Yeah, I read that comment too. I just can’t take it seriously. A large part of me wants to think that it was an off-the-cuff complaint without genuine seriousness behind it, but I admit, I do wonder…

  • Tcuomo

    1. Troy was recruited by Kenny Johnson
    2. Boo Williams AAU team is on the EYBL Circuit, which just had there headquarters raided
    3. Troy is signed under ASM, which also had there headquarters raided
    4. IU is contracted with Adidas

    Just because Troy was un-drafted doesn’t mean he wasn’t steered towards a specific agent or agency. Troy still had to hire an agent while going through the draft process.

    How was Creans relationship with Boo Williams established? Was that a product of having KJ on the staff? I don’t know.

    I hope nothing bounces back on IU. Im just saying, from my perspective there seems to be some dots you can connect back to IU. I would be willing to bet the FBI will at least take a look or contact IU just based on the Adidas and KJ connection.

  • I hate purdon’t

    You could very well be right. But head coaches don’t know everything the assistants do! Blahhh. I’m just waiting for the other school in Kentucky to get what they have coming to them.

  • dwdkc

    KJ could be an issue, but generally asst. coaches are affected by the culture of the place they go to. I think Crean was probably pretty frank about what was expected and what wouldn’t be tolerated. When KJ doubled his income to go to Louisville, knowing what we all know about Pitino, the game changed for him. Again I maintain that none of the Boo Williams recruits were likely to be compromised because none of them were extremely in demand, while all were pretty good. There’s just no reason to make any inference because they were on the EYBL circuit; you have to play somewhere. I’m sure that circuit is full of shady dealings as all the AAU circuits were. To steer someone to an agency implies someone on the IU staff was like the guys who were named. I don’t see it. And yes Adidas is corrupt as hell, but do you really think any of the others are any different? You mentioned the Nike EYBL circuit yourself. I think these are all just the loose connections that almost everyone has in this small world of bigtime basketball. The key is still the institution’s and leadership’s culture.