Joon H Kim, the acting US Attorney, announced charges against 10 people, including four college basketball coaches and a senior executive at Adidas, with bribery and fraud.
In a first step, the US Attorneys office has a announced the indictment of four college assistant coaches and a senior executive at Adidas that will be facing federal bribery, fraud and corruption charges in a probe investigating “the criminal influence of money on coaches and student-athletes who participate in intercollegiate basketball governed by the NCAA”, prosecutors announced on Tuesday.
“Coaches at some of the nation’s top programs soliciting and accepting cash bribes, managers and financial advisors circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes and employees of one of the world’s largest sportswear companies secretly funneling money to the families of high school recruits,” Joon H Kim, acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, said at a news conference in downtown Manhattan on Tuesday. “The picture painted by the charges brought today is not a pretty one.”
According to the indictment there have been numerous bribes “ranging from $13,000 to almost $100,000 each” paid to basketball coaches to exert influence over student-athletes, including steering high-school prospects to particular universities and the retention of college players’ services after they entered the NBA.
The coaches, employed in official positions with federally funded universities, were identified in three separate indictments as Chuck Person of Auburn University, Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State University, Emanuel “Book” Richardson of the University of Arizona and Tony Bland of the University of Southern California. Their arrests were executed on Monday night and Tuesday morning, Kim announced at the press conference.
The German sportswear company said in a statement: “Today, we became aware that federal investigators arrested an Adidas employee. We are learning more about the situation. We’re unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with authorities to understand more.”
Gatto, is alleged to have facilitated payments of as much as $150,000 to a high school player so that he would attend a university that has an apparel contract with Adidas.
“For the defendants charged today, the madness of college basketball went well beyond the Big Dance in March,” Kim said. “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.”
This investigation is on-going and according to the court documents there may be other, as yet un-named schools and defendants that may surface in the near future. So stay tuned, this one isn’t final as we write this, and may see more indictments as the investigation continues.