Adidas Exec And 4 NCAA Coaches Charged In FBI Bribery Probe – Tha Wire
Today in Tha Wire, the Washington Post reports shocking details of the FBI charging a top Adidas exec and several NCAA coaches with corruption and bribery. Adidas Head of Global Marketing For Basketball, Jim Gatto, and four Division 1 college basketball coaches have been indicted in a HUGE federal sting. Among those charged are: Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans, Auburn's assistant coach Chuck Person, USC's assistant coach Tony Bland, and University of Arizona's Book Richardson.
ESPN's Darren Rovell reported that 10 people in all have been arrested and are facing federal charges of fraud and corruption. Peep the videos below for more info on this story.
ESPN reports that this has been a long-standing FBI investigation. The ongoing probe into illegal activity involving some of the nation's biggest colleges and coaches has supposedly been going on for more than 20 years. TMZ Sports revealed the massive FBI corruption probe has been broken down into three separate criminal cases.
1.) The FBI outlined Gatto's involvement as extensive. He is accused of paying top recruits to sign with Adidas-sponsored schools, then to Adidas once they went pro. Merl Code, another Adidas employee, assisted him in the scheme where the money was brokered by three other individuals - business manager Christian Dawkins, Princeton Capital financial chief exec Munish Sood, and Jonathan Brand Augustine, who operates an Adidas-sponsored AAU basketball team. In addition, Gatto is accused of trying to pay a particular player and his family $100,000 to go to a school of his choice, and bribing another athlete with $150,000 to sign with Adidas when he went to the NBA.
2.) Auburn's Coach Person is accused of collecting some $91,500 in bribe money to steer players to Dawkins and Sood, and a high-end suit-maker, Rashan Michel. He also allegedly used a portion of that money to pay off his families of high-priority recruits.
3.) USC's Coach Bland, Oklahoma State's Coach Evans, and UA's Coach Richardson are accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribe money.
TMZ Sports reports that the FBI has wiretapped evidence to support the fraud and corruption charges. The recordings include multiple phone conversations between Gatto and his conspirators engaging in the illegal activity. The FBI released the following statement regarding the case:
"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 D-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 NBA."
Adidas heads said Tuesday that they had no knowledge of Jim Gatto's alleged bribery and corruption scheme. Per ESPN's Darren Rovell, the sporting giant released the following statement:
"Today, we became aware that federal investigators arrested an Adidas employee. We are learning more about the situation. We're unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with authorities to understand more."
Wow! What an unbelievable story. I'm sure there's much more to follow, so stay tuned. Catch Tha Wire for the daily entertainment news on The People's Station 107 Jamz.