05 July 2022 - Article
On October 24, 2018, a federal jury in Manhattan found former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christian Dawkins and amateur league director Merl Code guilty of fraud charges stemming from the NCAA Men’s Basketball corruption scandal. The defendants had been accused of taking steps to create false invoices to Adidas, routing funds through various bank accounts and converting it to cash for players’ families. Additionally, the defendants were accused of defrauding universities by tricking them into passing out scholarships to players who should have been ineligible under NCAA rules. The defendants did not deny they sought to make the payments. However; they did argue that the issue was systemic and that their actions were just how the recruitment game was played by Adidas, Nike and other sportswear companies. Not lost in this is how talent-hungry coaching staffs knew of the systemic issues and actively solicited payments to secure players, evidenced by two more college basketball corruption trials set for next year. The defendants in those cases include Chuck Person, a former associate head coach at Auburn and also former assistant coaches Tony Bland of USC, Emanuel Richardson of Arizona and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State.
For more complete analysis of the case happenings see Withers Sports Blog’s previous post on the topics.
This article was written with contributions from Tim Piscatelli.