News of an alleged college basketball bribery scandal broke this morning. Ten arrests have been made including four college coaches. The coaches arrested are Southern Cal’s Tony Bland, Arizona’s Book Richardson, Auburn’s Chuck Person, and Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans. The federal investigation has gone on since 2015.
Allegedly, it appears that an Adidas executive paid athletes thousands of dollars to attend universities sponsored by the athletic brand. Additionally, pressure was put on high school athletes and/or their families to hire certain financial advisers and business planners. According to the Department of Justice, these coaches are accused of “soliciting and accepting cash bribes”. Cash amounts are estimated to be up to $100,000.
Jim Gatto, the director of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas, is one of the named defendants.
We will take some live notes from a press conference on a breaking college basketball scandal involving two Pac-12 programs.
Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York blew this shadowy world open in ways that have never before been seen, indicting 10 men, including active assistant basketball coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC, plus an executive for adidas, in a widespread case that is sure to rock college basketball to its core. . . .
Among the named defendants include former NBA star Chuck Person, an assistant at Auburn, as well as assistants Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State, Emmanuel “Book” Richardson of Arizona and Tony Bland of USC. Adidas executive Jim Gatto is also named, as well as agents and financial planners.
Some notes from the US Department of Justice press conference.
- Four coaches charged. All been in and around the game for a long time. Coaches took advantage of the kids. Violated duties owed to school for bribes of $13,000 to over $100,000.
- Coaches abused the trust placed on them by student athletes and their families.
- Southern Cal Assistant Coach Anthony Bland was quoted as saying, “I can definitely mold the players and put them in the lap of you guys”.
- One of the financial advisors pushed on families by these coaches had already been accused of securities fraud (which could have been found by a simple Google search).
- Coaches violated NCAA rules and committed serious federal crimes.
- Coaches funneled bribes to families and pushed them to financial advisors.
- Three Adidas employees have been accused of funnelling money to the nation’s top high school players to get them to attend school at two universities that use Adidas and also use the services of the preferred financial advisors.
- Payments were made in coordination with the coaches at those two universities.
- A cooperating witness and two undercover agents helped break the story.
- Arrests were made last night and this morning.
- Defendants exploited the hoop dreams of recruits.
- USDOJ will be working and cooperating with the NCAA, who was unaware of the situation until this morning.
More updates coming later. But one thing is certain. At this point, the Southern Cal and Arizona programs are in big trouble. This could prove to be even more problematic for Southern Cal because of their previous NCAA probation issues.