FBI Indicts Four NCAA Coaches And An Adidas Executive – Charged With Federal Crimes For Bribery (Video)

FBI Indicts Four NCAA Coaches And An Adidas Executive – Charged With Federal Crimes For Bribery (Video)

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Bribery, corruption, and exploitation aren’t exactly what people think of when they think basketball. A good mob movie, or even President Donald Trump these days, but not basketball. That changed today when the FBI indicted and arrested coaches, assistants, and managers connected to major universities, as well as an Adidas executive, all of whom are charged with multiple federal crimes in a wide-reaching bribery scheme.

The two-year-long investigation started in 2015, is based almost solely on a cooperating eyewitness’ testimony, according to the Manhattan prosecutors. Although some undercover agents also helped to lock in the charges, the cooperating witness laid out an array of bribes paid to the coaches on numerous occasions.

Allegedly, each separate bribe ranging in price from $13,000 to just under $100,000 per coach, and per incident of influence over a prospective player.

The coaches caught taking bribes and indicted today include:

  • Auburn University’s Chuck Person;
  • Oklahoma State University’s Lamont Evans;
  • University of Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson, and
  • University of Southern California’s Tony Bland.

Each coach held official positions at these schools, all of which were federally funded.

According to Joon H Kim, acting U.S. attorney covering New York’s southern district:

“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. … The picture painted by the chagres brought today is not a pretty one. [sic]”

Not pretty indeed. Also rounded up in the indictments and arrests were a half dozen coaching assistants, financial advisors, managers, and even a major executive of Adidas, Jim Gatto. Gatto, according to the Guardian is:

“…Identified as the head of global sports marketing for basketball for ‘Company-1’ in the filings. A LinkedIn profile for Gatto lists him as working for Adidas in that role.”

Those caught up in the scam are facing numerous federal charges ranging from bribery to corruption, according to the indictments. Just what did they do to warrant such high-priced bribes and harsh charges?

Each was allegedly paid such high amounts to “exert influence over student-athletes.” This included not just guiding particular basketball playing students from high-school into specific colleges for the sport, but retaining those student-turned-NBA players’ services after being signed to a contract.

The coaches involved in the scam started getting cocky. Person, from Auburn, was so sure of his skills at influencing one particular student, he said, “He listens to one person. That is me.”

During another such alleged Las Vegas meeting on July 29 between Bland, an (unknown at the time) undercover FBI agent, and Christian Dawkins, a former sports agent, Bland assured Dawkins and the agent that “I can definitely mold the players and put them in the lap of you guys.” Bland allegedly received 13,000 for that assurance.

What’s sad is that these coaches aren’t interested in the players. Not really. But they’re salivating over the corporate sponsors that follow those players throughout their careers. A single basketball player can make or break a school’s budget. Lose a good player, lose the sponsors’ money.

All the more reason colleges and universities need to ban money from sports.

Check out this video for more information about the indictments:

Featured Image Via YouTube Video.