A senior executive at Adidas and four coaches from major college basketball programs are currently facing federal charges of fraud, bribery and corruption. A probe is currently underway to investigate an incident of money being used to criminally influence student-athletes and coaches partaking in intercollegiate basketball.
The coaches involved in this scandal are accused of soliciting and accepting cash bribes. Joon H Kim who is the acting US attorney for New York’s southern district stated that, “The picture painted by the charges brought today is not a pretty one.”
It was in 2015 that the investigation that led to these charges were originally initiated. It involved a cooperating witness who detailed various instances of bribes within the amounts of $13,000 and $100,000 being paid to basketball coaches in order to convince them to influence student-athletes. The influence purchased from these coaches also included swaying high-school prospects to instead opt for certain universities.
The coaches who are the subjects of the investigation all held official employment at federally funded universities which included Auburn University, Oklahoma State University, University of Arizona, and the University of Southern California. Arrests of the coaches named Chuck Person, Lamont Evans, Emanuel Richardson and Tony Bland of the respective aforementioned universities were carried out between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Managers, representatives, and financial advisors of an international sportswear company were also arrested. Court documents show the name of the sports apparel executive to be Jim Gatto whose LinkedIn profile states he works for Adidas.
A different but related scheme is also charging advisers, managers, and affiliations of Adidas with colluding to transfer money to the country’s top high school recruits’ families in exchange to get them to have the players commit to playing for certain schools that enjoy sponsorship from the company.
Hopefully, this development will clear up much of the bad air that currently hovers over the recruitment process of college athletes in the US.