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FBI Bribery Investigation And Arrests Rock College Hoops

The college basketball world was rocked this morning with the arrest of 10 people by the FBI on charges of fraud and corruption. 

Coaches at some major programs have been taken into custody, as well as managers, financial advisors, and representatives of a major international sportswear company, the Department of Justice announced today. 

Jim Gatto, director of global sports marketing for basketball at adidas, is also named a defendant. According to the complaint, Gatto allegedly conspired with coaches to pay high school athletes to play at universities sponsored by Adidas (referred to as “Company 1” in the case). 

The arrests were part of a “wide-ranging” investigation focused on financial advisors, agents, and apparel companies paying coaches in exchange for pressuring players to associate with certain entities, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

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In one instance, Gatto and the other defendants reportedly funneled $100,000 to the family of a high school basketball player to convince the player to sign with a “public research university” in Kentucky. 

In another case, Gatto and other defendants allegedly agreed to make payments up to $150,000 from Adidas to convince the player to join another team sponsored by the apparel company, a private university in Florida, according to filings. The university is not named, but based on information provided is likely University of Miami, which entered into a 12-year partnership with adidas in 2015.

The coaches named as defendants in the cases include Anthony Tony Bland, associate head coach at University of Southern California and former assistant coach at San Diego State; Chuck Person, associate head coach at Auburn University; Lamont Evans, associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Oklahoma State Universitys and a former assistant at South Carolina; and Emmanuel Richardson, an assistant coach for University of Arizona.

The investigation, which was been in progress since 2015, has been led by the FBI and the US Attorneys office for the Southern District of New York. Three separate complaints have been filed.

Gatto and four other defendants have been charged with “making and concealing bribe payments” to high school student athletes and/or their families.

This story is about to be huge. Stay tuned.

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