Ten people, including four NCAA college basketball coaches, were reportedly arrested by the FBI and charged with fraud and corruption following an investigation that stems back to 2015. In addition to the coaches, those arrested reportedly include managers, financial advisers, and representatives for a major sportswear company.
According to court documents, the four coaches who were arrested are all assistants at their respective schools. They include former NBA player Chuck Person of Auburn University, Emanuel Richardson of the University of Arizona, Tony Bland of the University of Southern California, and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State. They stand accused of accepting bribes in exchange for exerting their influence over certain players and steering them in the direction of managers, agents, and others.
The other six men identified in court documents are: James Gatto, director of global sports marketing at Adidas; Merl Code, also an adidas employee; NBA agent Christian Dawkins; The League Initiative president Jonathan Brad Augustine; financial adviser Munish Sood; and former NBA official Rashan Michel, who is the founder of a custom clothier for athletes called Thompson Bespoke Clothing. Gatto, in particular, has reportedly been accused of funneling $100,000 to a prized recruit to help a school believed to be Louisville to secure his college commitment.
The FBI has been investigating the coaches and others since 2015. The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York issued this description of the investigation:
"Since 2015, the FBI and USAO have been investigating the criminal influence of money on coaches and student-athletes who participate in intercollegiate basketball governed by the NCAA. As relevant here, the investigation has revealed numerous instances of bribes paid by athletic advisors, including financial advisors and business managers, among others, to assistant and associate basketball coaches employed by NCAA Division I universities as facilitated by the coaches, in exchange for those coaches exerting influence over student-athletes under their control to retain the services of the bribe-payers once the athletes enter the National Basketball Association."
All 10 people who were arrested were formally charged in a Manhattan federal court. The FBI held a press conference in New York City at 12 p.m. ET on Tuesday to discuss the charges.
"The picture painted by the charges brought today is not a pretty one,'' Joon H. Kim, acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said during that press conference. "Coaches at some of the nation's top programs soliciting and accepting cash bribes. Managers and financial advisers circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes. And employees of one of the world's largest sportswear companies secretly funneling cash to the families of high school recruits. For the 10 charged men, the madness of college basketball went well beyond the Big Dance in March. 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."
The NCAA refused to offer up a comment regarding the arrests and allegations on Tuesday.