FBI Makes Arrests in College Basketball Corruption Scandal

Breaking news out of the college basketball world today. As ten people including four college basketball assistant coaches have been arrested by the FBI stemming from an ongoing corruption and bribery investigation.

Those arrested include:

  • James Gatto – Director of Global Sports Marketing at Adidas
  • Merl Code – Adidas executive
  • Christian Dawkins – NBA Agent
  • Jonathan Brad Augustine – President of The League Initiative (Adidas sponsored AAU program)
  • Munish Sood – Financial Advisor
  • Rashan Michel – Former NBA Official and founder of Thompson Bespoke Clothing (Custom apparel brand for athletes)
  • Chuck Person – Assistant coach at Auburn
  • Lamont Evans – Assistant coach and lead recruiter at Oklahoma State
  • Emanuel Richardson – Assistant coach at Arizona
  • Tony Bland – Assistant coach at USC

The coaches were reportedly turned in by a former financial advisor that was working undercover for the FBI. In the press conference, the FBI stated a simple Google search would have revealed the past of this financial advisor, and

The FBI report also refers to a university located in Kentucky, but if you read between the lines it’s clearly talking about Louisville. They mention the enrollment of approx. 22,640 which was the exact number of Louisville’s this past year, Louisville is also the only division one program in Kentucky that is sponsored by Adidas.

The recruitment in question involves Indiana high school guard Brian Bowen. Who coach Rick Pitino didn’t recruit until he was passed a message by a AAU director (presumably Augustin). Pitino said this about Bowen’s recruitment on an AM radio show earlier this year,

“We got lucky on this one. I had an AAU director call me and ask me if I’d be interested in a player. I saw him against another great player from Indiana. I said ‘Yeah, I’d be really interested.’ They had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotel, pay for their meals. We spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I saw him play. In my 40 years of coaching, this is the luckiest I’ve been.”

The FBI report says that an Adidas executive funneled $100,000 through the AAU director and into the player, which one would assume would explain how Bowen and his family was able to pay for the visit. In turn he committed to Louisville and is expected to start for the team this fall.

This is a game-changer not only because it could eventually lead to the dismissal of Rick Pitino and sanctions for several schools across the country, but because the FBI got involved instead of the NCAA. The NCAA will say that they don’t have the power or the resources to make this sort of investigation, but many will draw the conclusion that they were once again ignorant to the factors at play here, and lacked their own institutional control.

All schools and officials were of course shocked to learn of these arrests and this investigation. More information to come.

Follow me on Twitter @thomas_mooney1, @AFewGoodMics

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