College Basketball Coaches Arrested For Taking Bribes To Steer Players

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(Photo: Getty Images)

Assistant coaches for the basketball teams at the University of Southern California, the University of Auburn, Oklahoma State University, and the University Arizona have been arrested by the FBI, accused of accepting thousands in bribes to steer players toward certain advisers.

Six other individuals, including Jim Gatto, the director of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas, were arrested on charges relating to bribery and corruption in college basketball.

Gatto is accused of supplying college coaches with money to pay high school athletes and/or their families in an effort to draw high-level recruits to college programs sponsored by Adidas.

The assistant coaches who have been arrested: Former NBA Rookie of the Year Chuck Person of Auburn, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, USC’s Tony Bland, and Arizona’s Emanuel Richardson

Other schools are implicated in the investigation.

Based on the information in the charges, the University of Louisville and the University of Miami (Florida) are involved as well.

Defendants are accused of paying a high school athlete $100,000 to attend Louisville. That athlete is likely incoming five-star recruit Brian Bowen, which makes these comments about Bowen from head coach Rick Pitino in June extra hilarious:

We got lucky on this one. I had an AAU director call me and ask me if I’d be interested in a player (Bowen). I saw him against another great player from Indiana. I said “Yeah, I’d be really interested.” They had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotel, pay for their meals. We spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I say him play. In my 40 years of coaching this is the luckiest I’ve been.

Adidas isn’t the only sports apparel company implicated. Merl Code, the head of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, was arrested as well. All the schools listed in this piece save for Auburn are sponsored by Adidas; Auburn teams wear Under Armour gear.

The investigation was opened in 2015.

Perhaps this will finally end the debate surrounding over-the-table payment of college athletes. Even though the payment of athletes outside of scholarships is illegal, it’s apparently happening readily across the country.

While it’s become increasingly clear the NCAA is unwilling to cede a cent to college players, someone, according to this investigation, is willing: sportswear companies.

Why not make that legal?

Everyone gets what they want: Companies get to draw players to their schools; the greedy NCAA gets to keep all the money the athletes make them; and players finally get to see something of the profits they’re making for so many others.

Check out the full charges here and here.