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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.
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: NCAA fraud scandal