On Tuesday, September, 26, 2017, the NCAA basketball got hit with a devastating blow as major greed and corruption was unveiled. After a two-year undercover operation, the FBI unearthed an array of infractions from fraud to bribery within NCAA Basketball leading to at least 10 arrests so far. Adidas, or a representative from Adidas, paid the families of potential collegiate player to commit to select schools. The coaches of these schools were paid to funnel these kids to specific agents via cash or sponsorships.
Of those arrested, four were assistant coaches: Tony Bland (USC), Lamont Evans (OSU), Chuck Person (AU), and Emanuel Richardson (ASU). They were arrested for taking bribes for pushing students toward certain agents. The FBI is going after the schools themselves as well, particularly Louisville and South Carolina. While none of the head coaches athletic directors were arrested, the Louisville head coach and athletic director were let go. More coaches may end up arrested and/or let go in the near future as more information is revealed. School staff are not the only people to be arrested from this investigation.
Among the ten people brought in, Jim Gatto, the director of global sports marketing for Adidas was also arrested last Tuesday for bribery. Adidas released a statement claiming they were, “unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with the authorities to understand more.” This is interesting considering there were pay outs of as much as $100,000 to the families of some players who committed to specific schools. Either way, Jim Gatto is the largest connection between Adidas and the schools under investigation.
Though he and Adidas are the biggest commonality between the colleges, Mr. Gatto is not the only person being charged with bribery in this scandal. Johnathan Brad Augustine who was the program director of the AAU team, which is sponsored by Adidas, was arrested. Further, Merl Code (former Clemson player who is now with Adidas), Christian Dawkins (former ASM sports agent), Rashan Michel (Thompson Bespoke Clothing), and Munish Sood (Founder of Princeton Capital) were all arrested and are being charged for bribery.
This could spell doom for NCAA basketball as more and more people get arrested or looked into for behavior unbecoming of anyone who should be allowed to work with kids or young adults. Athletes have a special relationship with their coaches. They trust them in a way they do not trust other adults and to not just use that connection for personal gain but to abuse that trust and risk a student’s future for a kickback and fraud, that is a special brand of disgusting.