Four college basketball assistants among those facing corruption charges in federal probe

Published 2:04 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Four college basketball coaches, including an SEC assistant, were among 10 people arrested on federal corruption charges Tuesday for allegedly accepting bribes to steer top players toward agents and financial advisors, according to multiple reports.

And authorities said an investigation into NCAA corruption that began in 2015 isn’t over.

Arizona assistant Emanuel Richardson, Southern Cal assistant Tony Bland, Oklahoma State’s Lamond Evans and Auburn’s Chuck Person were named in court documents as those who had been taken into custody. Others arrested were managers, financial advisors and James Gatto, global marketing director for adidas.

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The coaches involved are accused of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to steer certain players to specific financial advisors and agents. Gatto is among those accused of giving at least $100,000 to a high school player on more than one occasion in exchange for the player’s commitment to an adidas-sponsored school and to sign with adidas once he turned pro.

“For the 10 charged men, the madness of college basketball went well beyond the Big Dance in March,” said acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim, according to the Associated Press. “Month after month, the defendants exploited the hoop dreams of student-athletes around the country, allegedly treating them as little more than opportunities to enrich themselves through bribery and fraud schemes.”

Bill Sweeney, the FBI’s assistant director in charge, said during a press conference Tuesday the investigation is ongoing with more interviews being conducted.

Adidas released a statement saying it was unaware of any misconduct by an employee and vowed to cooperate with authorities. Auburn President Steven Leath announced on his Twitter account that Person has been suspended without pay.