Federal prosecutors have charged 10 people, including four NCAA Division I basketball coaches coaches, for bribery and fraud surrounding the recruitment of college athletes. A lot of people who earn their living from sports sure seem hell bent on ruining sports.
U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday charged 10 people including four college basketball coaches and financial advisers with bribery and fraud in connection with college recruiting.
Those charged include Chuck Person, associate head coach at Auburn University; Anthony Bland, associate head coach at the University of Southern California; Lamont Evans, assistant coach at Oklahoma State University; and Emanuel Richardson, assistant coach at the University of Arizona, according to documents filed in federal court in Manhattan.
Others charged include James Gatto, director for global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas and Rashan Michel, founder and operator of a clothing company in Atlanta.
Representatives of the universities and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which regulates college basketball, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The lure of big money and fame coupled with a “win no matter what the cost” culture has historically been a dangerous combination for many involved in NCAA sports. Rules are in place to maintain the “amateur” facade to college revenue sports which in many ways have simply become an athletic farm system for professional leagues like the NFL and the NBA. It’s not uncommon to hear about NCAA rules violations but in this case it appears federal laws were actually broken.
The corrupt schemes included bribes paid to high school athletes to secure their commitment to play for a particular university, prosecutors said. The charges include bribery, wire fraud and conspiracy.
Person is the best-known defendant, having been a two-time All-American at Auburn and its all-time scoring leader. He later played 13 years in the National Basketball Association, mostly with the Indiana Pacers.
Prosecutors said Person accepted $91,500 of bribes over 10 months to steer Auburn basketball players he thought capable of joining the NBA to buy suits from Michel and hire an unnamed cooperating witness to provide financial services. They said he kicked back $18,500 to the families of two of the players.
It’s not hard to empathize with players trying to make the most of their athletic abilities before they fade with age or succumb to injury, but it’s difficult to excuse the coaches and other figures who prey upon kids with big dreams.
It’s all enough to sour one on sports altogether. We’ve seen college athletes graduate and succeed as professionals only to find out they never learned to read. We have ESPN and others in sports broadcasting polluting their sports analysis with partisan politics. Criminality and domestic abuse are overlooked if the perpetrator is valuable enough to the franchise. And there’s obviously the politicization of the NFL with the #TakeTheKnee mess.
Human beings ruin everything.