Massive Bribery and Corruption Basketball Scandal Unveiled by FBI

Wow, wow, wow, wow. This morning was much more interesting than expected.

At around 9:20 AM this morning, Tom Winter of NBC announced that 10 people were arrested for corruption and bribery charges, including four assistant basketball coaches. The investigation was conducted by the FBI, and had been going since 2015. The NCAA was not made aware of what was going on until this morning.

The four coaches arrested were Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State, Chuck Person of Auburn, Tony Bland of USC, and Emmanuel “Book” Richardson of Arizona. The other big names arrested were Jim Gatto, the Global Marketing Director for Adidas, Christian Dawkins, an agent, and Munish Sood, the founder of Princeton Advisory Group. Dawkins was fired from ASM Sports in May 2017 for using an NBA player’s credit card to charge $42,000 in Uber rides.

The general gist of the scandal is in two parts. The first part is that Adidas bribed recruits to commit to Adidas schools. The second part is that an agent bribed coaches to steer their players toward him. Both are things that has been rumbling below the surface for a long time in college basketball but is finally out on the forefront with details, and the details are not pretty.

Jim Gatto is charged with, along with three others, conspiring to send $100,000 to a public research university in Kentucky with 22,640 students. This description matches up with the University of Louisville. The $100k was sent in May 2017 to persuade a 2017 High School American to commit to Louisville at the last second. This description matches Brian Bowen, a five star forward who was the last 2017 McDonald’s All-American to commit to a school.

Gatto is also charged with sending $150,000 to a 2018 recruit so that he would commit to a private university in Florida with 16,000 students. This description matches with the University of Miami, but no 2018 recruit has committed yet to the U, so it is unclear who the prospect is.

The allegations around Lamont Evans are that he was bribed at least $22,000 to persuade players at the school he was coaching to sign with Dawkins and Sood as their agents. This began in 2015, when Evans was an assistant for the University of South Carolina, and continued after Evans became an assistant at Oklahoma State University.

Chuck Person is charged with accepting a bribe from Rashan Michel, a former referee at both the collegiate and professional level, and the owner of his own clothing line. He wanted to create a relationship with one of Auburn’s best players who was a highly ranked recruit who joined midseason. This description matches with Austin Wiley, a Top 10 recruit in the class of 2017 who joined Auburn a semester early.

Both Book Richardson and Tony Bland are charged with receiving bribes to steer players toward Dawkins. The report says that on June 20, 2017, Richardson tried to coax money for a recruit that was visiting that upcoming weekend. On June 24-26, Jahvon Quinerly, a fie star point guard, visited. He committed to Arizona in August.

The other name involved in the Richardson and Bland charges is Munish Sood, the founder of Princeton Advisory Group. Sood is charged with facilitating the money and helping organize meetings between players and agents.

This information was acquired by the FBI through a combination of undercover agents and people involved who spilled the details. They also wire tapped into phones to record certain conversations.

It is unclear what the repercussions will be for the schools per the NCAA, but this will almost certainly be an ugly, ugly mess.

The links to the specific charges are below:

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/press-release/file/998756/download

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/press-release/file/998746/download

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/press-release/file/998751/download

 

This is just the beginning in our eyes. These charges are serious and the threat of extended jail time could open the mouths of people in the know. Nothing like this has ever happened before with the FBI involved. This is the beginning of a long legal process with many moving parts.

Mark Stouffer
Senior at Purdue studying Statistics. Also a life long Duke fan.