College Basketball coaches involved in Adidas bribery charge

College Basketball

College Basketball is embroiled in a scandal. Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday that four NCAA coaches, one ex-NBA referee, and a leading businessman linked with sports giant Adidas are among those charged with creating a bribery scheme.

In an announcement, prosecutors said the scandal will expose “fraud and corruption in college Basketball”.

In total, 10 managers, coaches, and Adidas representatives were charged. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s (U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim) office issued a statement on Tuesday that more details will emerge about the case and who was involved during the week.

Speaking to NEWSWEEK, one source close to the matter said the bribery scandal involved the sportswear manufacturer paying money to coaches and players. “The end result is that the players who are big prospects sign with these big agents and financial companies,” the source claims.

Among the indicted are Auburn head coach Chuck Person and former NBA referee Rashan Michel.

“Person agreed to accept approximately $50,000 in bribe payments from [the cooperating witness] in exchange for using his official position at [Auburn] to steer student-athletes on [Auburn’s] NCAA Division I basketball team to retain the services of [the cooperating witness] and Michel,” the indictment states.

Others named in the case are Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, Emanuel Richardson of Arizona, and Tony Bland of USC. One Adidas representative named is Jim Gatto, who is a director of global sports marketing for the German company.

“The investigation has revealed multiple instances of bribes paid by athlete advisors, including financial advisors and business managers, as well as high-level apparel company employees, and facilitated by coaches employed by NCAA Division 1 Universities, to student-athletes playing at or bound for NCAA Division 1 universities, and the families of such athletes, in exchange for a commitment by those athletes to matriculate at a specific university and a promise to ultimately sign agreements to be represented by the bribe-payors once the athletes enter the National Basketball Association,” states the Gatto indictment.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office makes it clear that the investigation is developing, which could mean more individuals in the sport could be forthcoming. Interestingly, the NCAA was informed of the investigation along with everybody else, on Tuesday. While bribery flaunts federal laws, it also goes against the rules of the NCAA.

It is expected the governing body will now start an investigation of its own. NCAA could hand its own penalties and sanctions to people and programs involved.

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