The relationship with major college basketball programs and sneaker companies is about to come under more scrutiny. The feds have arrested four assistant coaches and an adidas exec, among 10 people, on charges the include bribery and fraud.
“Coaches at some of the nation’s top programs soliciting and accepting cash bribes,” said Joon H. Kim, the acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, at a press conference on Tuesday. “Managers and financial advisers circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes. And employees of one of the world’s largest sportswear companies secretly funneling cash to the families of high school recruits.”
The four coaches hail from the Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and Southern California basketball programs. According to ESPN, they are Auburn’s Chuck Person, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson and USC’s Tony Bland.
NBA fans may remember Chuck Person as the sharpshooter whose nickname was The Rifleman. Also, per Auburn, he has been suspended without pay, immediately.
Also charged in the bribery scheme is James “Jim” Gatto, global marketing director for basketball for adidas.
The FBI held a press conference, bruh.
How did they get this intel? They have an informant.
Louis Martin “Marty” Blazer III, a former Pittsburgh financial adviser who was accused last year of swindling $2.35 million from five clients by the Securities and Exchange Commission, was the cooperating witness who helped the FBI in its investigation of the basketball coaches and other defendants, according to U.S. Department of Justice documents obtained by ESPN.
Blazer, who founded Blazer Capital Management, was accused of investing money into movies and entertainment ventures without his clients’ knowledge between 2010 and 2012. As part of his plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office, Blazer agreed to plead guilty to securities fraud, aggravated identity theft, false statements and documents, and two counts of wire fraud, according to the Sept. 19 cooperation agreement.
This guy is their witness?
Anyway, the indictment cites numerous examples of the accused being paid to steer top players to schools as well as agents and financial advisors in exchange for cash.
For example, in the complaint, a shoe company (adidas) allegedly paid a recruit’s family $100,000 to make sure he signed with an unnamed school in Kentucky, confirmed to be the University of Louisville.
This is only going to get uglier and uglier. But will the NCAA get hit with charges, too, or are they going to act like they had no idea any of this was happening?