An FBI investigation into alleged corruption has led to the arrest of four assistant coaches in college basketball.
Court documents show the assistant coaches charged in the corruption scheme are Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, Auburn’s Chuck Person, Arizona’s Emanuel Richardson and USC’s Tony Bland. Among the six others charged were managers, financial advisers and the director of global sports marketing at Adidas.
“The picture of college basketball painted by the charges is not a pretty one,” said acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim at a news conference. “Coaches at some of the nation’s top programs taking cash bribes, managers and advisers circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes, and employees of a global sportswear company funneling cash to families of high school recruits.
A total of 10 people are facing charges. The four coaches and six representatives from a “major international sportswear company.” Jim Gatto, the head of sports marketing at Adidas is one of the representatives facing charges.
Adidas said it was unaware of any misconduct by an employee and vowed to fully cooperate with authorities. Kim also added that the NCAA was not aware of the investigation before Tuesday morning.
According to court documents, Gatto and others allegedly made payments to high school athletes and their families at least three times in 2017 for a commitment by the players to play basketball for two universities. The schools were not named in the complaint.
Kim said the amount of bribery payments ranged from $13,000 to $100,000.
In one instance, the complaint said, Gatto and others funneled $100,000 to the family of a high school basketball player to gain his commitment to play at a Division I school whose athletic programs are sponsored by Adidas and to sign with Adidas once he became a professional. It said they paid another high school athlete $150,000 for a similar commitment.
No students were identified in court papers by name.
“For the 10 charged men, 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…