Ten people have been charged with fraud and corruption in an investigation into NCAA basketball (National Collegiate Athletic Association). Four of them are assistant basketball coaches at major top tier basketball programs. How pervasive is the corruption? These arrests may be just the tip of the iceberg, even reaching into the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union).
Three complaints were unsealed on Tuesday: Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person, Southern California assistant Tony Bland, Arizona assistant Emanuel Richardson and Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans; Jim Gatto, Global Director for Adidas as well as Merl Code, Jonathan Augustine also employees of that company; and NBA Agents Christian Dawkins, Munish Sood, Rashan Michel are charged in the case. Dawkins, Sood, and Michel are scheduled to appear today.
All are charged with various offenses, including wire fraud, conspiracy, bribery, and the Travel Act – which is a federal law against moving from state to state or internationally for the purposes of illegal activity.
“Circling Blue Chip prospects like coyotes”
The investigation was not made public until the arrests on Tuesday morning. Even the NCAA was unaware of the DOJ’s actions, according to Acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim.
“The picture of college basketball painted by the charges is not a pretty one – coaches at some of the nation’s top programs taking cash bribes, managers and advisors circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes, and employees of a global sportswear company funneling cash to families of high school recruits. For the ten charged men, the madness of college basketball went well beyond the Big Dance in March. Month after month, the defendants allegedly exploited the hoop dreams of student-athletes around the country, treating them as little more than opportunities to enrich themselves through bribery and fraud schemes. The defendants’ alleged criminal conduct not only sullied the spirit of amateur athletics, but showed contempt for the thousands of players and coaches who follow the rules, and play the game the right way.” Joon Kim
Bribes, false certifications
“Coaches have a significant influence over these players. They chose to throw away that responsibility to enrich themselves… We are conducting more investigations and interviews as we speak.” William F. Sweeney, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
NCAA rules require college athletes to be amateurs – UNPAID. But the people involved in this situation used bribe money to pressure certain players to go to specific schools that were sponsored by major companies. An they worked to hide their actions because they were fully aware that it was illegal.
Among other things, Person is accused of accepting payments from an agent who was trying to development a business relationship with Auburn’s Austin Wiley and his family. The sophomore center was a top-40 prospect coming out of high school. Richardson, Evans and Bland are accused of similar crimes.
Jim Gatto, director of global sports marketing at Adidas, was among those arrested. He’s accused of helping funnel approximately $100,000 to the family of an “All-American high school basketball player” to secure the prospect’s commitment to a school Adidas sponsors. According to documents, the prospect committed in June.
The criminal complaints were 100 pages long.
Press Conference video. Actual press conference starts at 20 minutes in.