Blockbuster news for the college sports world, the FBI today (September 26, 2017) announced the arrest of 10 people on charges of fraud and corruption in college basketball. The arrests came as part of an investigation into kickback schemes and bribery at top U.S. college basketball programs where coaches at the schools were alleged to receive payments from outside parties in exchange for pushing their players to associate with the company’s products.
Acccording to Business Insider, the Department of Justice announced that college basketball coaches at University of Arizona, Auburn, University of Southern California, and Oklahoma State University had been arrested, as well as managers, financial advisors, and representatives of a major international sportswear company.
Coaches include Auburn coach Chuck Person, Oklahoma State coach Lamont Evans, USC assistant coach Tony Bland and Book Richardson from the University of Arizona.
Jim Gatto, director of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas, was also named as a defendant. Gatto has been charged with “making and concealing bribe payments” to high school student athletes and/or their families. Gatto is alleged to have bribed one player and his family $100,000 in an effort to steer him to a school of Gatto’s choice.
Additional defendants include Jonathan Brad Augustine, president of nonprofit The League Initiative, Merl Code, the head of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League as of 2013, and Christian Dawkins, a former sports agent fired in May for charging $42,000 in Uber rides on an NBA player’s credit card.