Federal prosecutors in New York today revealed the results of a two-year investigation into bribery in college basketball. The Associated Press first reported on the case, which was revealed at at press conference in Manhattan and streamed live on Facebook.
Joon Kim, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York unsealed charges against 10 men, including James Gatto, a senior Adidas executive and Merl Code, who formerly served as director of elite youth basketball for Nike.
Also charged were a number of assistant coaches at Division I basketball programs and financial advisors. The most prominent of the coaches is Chuck Person, an assistant at Auburn, his alma mater, and a 13-year NBA veteran. Person is accused of accepting bribes to steer players toward agents and advisors who stood to profit if the players made the NBA.
The feds allege that Gatto, the Adidas exec and Code, who played at Clemson and overseas before working at Nike, conspired with a business manager named Christian Dawkins and a financial advisor named Munish Sood to bribe players—paying them as much as $i50,000—to attend certain universities and then to be represented afterwards by Dawkins and Sood.
In addition to Person, other coaches charged include Tony Bland of USC, Emanuel Richardson at Arizona and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State.
Assistant coaches are typically heavily involved in recruiting, which gives them the inside track and influence over high school players.
Dawkins explained to Sood why assistant coaches were the key to success, according transcripts of taped phone calls quoted in charging documents.
"Good thing about fucking with a college coach," Dawkins explained, is that there would be "good players every year."
Dawkins further explained that assistant coaches were the best avenue for exploitation because…"the head coach ain't willing to [take bribes] 'cause they're making too much money. And it's too risky."