College sports has never been a stranger to scandal. Even by college sports scandal standards, though, the one that was revealed on Tuesday is major.
Federal authorities indicted four power-conference assistant basketball coaches in an alleged fraud and corruption scheme that also includes financial advisers, business managers, and sportswear company representatives. After an extensive FBI probe, authorities say that these coaches accepted bribes in exchange for pressuring top recruits to sign with specific college programs and then pushing them to certain apparel brands and representation if those players made it to the NBA. The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York explained the findings in a press conference on Tuesday, and presented two charts that laid out how authorities believe the schemes operated:
Better pictures of the flowcharts presented by the US Attorney's Office Southern District of NY pic.twitter.com/HAqC62WvT3— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) September 26, 2017
Ten people have been charged. These include the four assistant coaches: Auburn’s Chuck Person, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, USC’s Tony Bland, and Arizona’s Emanuel Richardson. Adidas Hoops director of global sports marketing Jim Gatto was also charged and arrested. The FBI says that Gatto paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to funnel prized prospects to Adidas-sponsored colleges—which receive federal funding—through brokers.
“The defendants exploited college athletes across the country,” acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said at the press conference. “Fraud, abuse, and corruption of the type alleged in the charges brought today has no place in college sports.”
Gatto is accused of funneling, through a broker, about $100,000 to the family of an All-American high school basketball player, widely thought to be Class of 2017 five-star prospect Brian Bowen, to get him to commit to Louisville. In June, Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino bragged about getting Bowen to commit for nothing:
Rick Pitino literally bragged about having to spend zero dollars to get Brian Bowen when he actually paid 100K behind the scenes. pic.twitter.com/Zn4z6MxuuQ— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) September 26, 2017
NBA agent Chris Dawkins was also named in connection to this investigation. He’s one of the three managers and advisers being charged; the other two are Munish Sood and Jonathan Brad Augustine, the latter of whom runs an Adidas-sponsored AAU team.
Documents note that the FBI conducted its probe by using a “cooperating witness,” who allowed the FBI to get “an undercover agent into hotel rooms, meetings, and deals.” The documents also allege that in one case the amount of money given to the family of a recruit was $150,000.
“Our investigation is ongoing,” said Kim, who also noted that the NCAA was not aware of the charges before Tuesday. “We’ll see how pervasive it is.”