Early Tuesday morning on Sept. 26, United States Attorney Joon H. Kim announced charges of fraud and corruption against four National Collegiate Athletic Association assistant basketball coaches. Kim is alleging that assistant coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and University of Southern California took cash bribes in order to persuade basketball players toward specific financial advisers and sports agents.
Each of the coaches are charged with bribery conspiracy, solicitation of bribes, honest service fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and Travel Act conspiracy. A total of 10 people were arrested, the other six being Adidas employees and others associated with the NBA. The coaches charged are Chuck Person of Auburn, Emanuel Richardson of Arizona, Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State University and Tony Bland of USC. The FBI conducted an extravagant undercover operation, starting back in 2015, to understand what was truly going on.
According to the NCAA, any coach found to be taking bribes while employed by an institution receiving federal funds, for example, could be liable to prosecution under federal law. The complaints allege that Evans, Richardson and Bland all received benefits to influence student-athletes to use their services. The NCAA will enforce its own separate penalties in the coming weeks. The institutions involved could be subject to penalties such as scholarship reductions, postseason bans and even show-cause orders for the coaches involved. The NCAA was made aware of the investigation on Tuesday just like the public.
The head coaches of these respected basketball programs should have nothing to worry about. That is, only if they had no knowledge of what was taking place between the players and assistants. There still could be other charges forthcoming against other programs and individuals. The investigation is ongoing. The phone number for a tip line was given out at yesterday’s news conference for anyone to call with more information regarding the situation. More will be known about all parties involved in the coming days and weeks.