The FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball hasn’t ended even though the season has.
A superseding indictment was announced against three of the men — Adidas executives James Gatto and Merl Code, and aspiring agent Christian Dawkins — arrested in September when the initial charges were made, and two new schools, Kansas and N.C. State, are now tied to this investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The new indictment expands the charges from wire fraud conspiracy to also include alleged payments to the families of six players to steer them to four schools: Louisville, Miami, Kansas, and N.C. State, all of whom are sponsored by Adidas.
Miami and Louisville were named in the initial charges — assistant coaches from Arizona, Oklahoma State, USC and Auburn were all arrested — which partly led to the dismissal of Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino from Louisville. Miami has stood by its coach, Jim Larranaga. Both Pitino and Larranaga have denied any wrongdoing.
According to the indictment, Gatto funneled $40,000 to the parent of the top recruit in the state of North Carolina, believed to be NBA rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr., so he would attend N.C. State. In the documents, it is alleged a series of payments adding up to $90,000 was made to the mother of an elite-level prospect so he would commit to Kansas. The report refers to a player who committed “in or around October 2016” to Kansas. Five-star prospect Billy Preston, who didn’t play for the Jayhawks this season while he was investigated for extra benefits he may have received that wasn’t linked to the FBI probe, committed to Kansas on Nov. 6.
Also, the documents allege payments were agreed to be paid to the guardian of another top recruit. Current freshman Silvio De Sousa committed to Kansas on Aug. 31, the same day the documents say in a “surprise decision,” the player passed on a school sponsored by a rival apparel company. De Sousa signed with Kansas on Nov. 13, the same day the documents say the prospect signed financial aid paperwork with the Big 12 powerhouse.
The FBI’s investigation paints a dirty picture of the sport: College coaches working with agents, sneaker company executives from Adidas and financial advisers to steer players to their schools in exchange for large sums of cash, and accepting handouts to push those players back to the professional moneymakers when turning pro.
NBA super agent Andy Miller’s office was raided by the FBI. In late February, Yahoo Sports released a bombshell report tying extra benefits to several current and former college athletes coming from an expense report belonging to Dawkins, who worked for Miller. Smith was alleged to have received $73,500 from Dawkins.
In the wake of the initial allegations, the NCAA formed a 14-member committee dubbed the Commission on College Basketball. The commission, headed by Condoleezza Rice, is expected to release its recommendations to the NCAA board of directors April 25. It now has more information to study.