NEW YORK (AP) – Federal prosecutors have announced charges of fraud and corruption in college basketball, including against four coaches.
The coaches are identified in court papers as Chuck Person of Auburn University, Emanuel Richardson of the University of Arizona, Tony Bland of the University of Southern California and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State, who up until April of 2016, was with the University of South Carolina .
They were among 10 people charged in New York City federal court. Others included managers, financial advisers and representatives of a major international sportswear company.
In court papers, prosecutors said the FBI has since 2015 been investigating the criminal influence of money on charges and student-athletes who participate in intercollegiate basketball governed by the NCAA.
They said the probe has revealed numerous instances of bribes paid by athlete advisers, including financial advisers and associate basketball coaches, to assistant and associate basketball coaches to exert influence over student athletes.
The director of global sports marketing for Adidas is among those charged in a bribe-paying scheme that federal authorities say was designed to match agents and advisers to players before they became NBA stars. Merl Code Jr., former Clemson basketball player and Seneca native, was also arrested. Code won a championship with Southside High School in 1992, and then went on to play 4 years with Clemson, before a brief stint in the NBA. For several years, Code was in charge of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball Program, before recently taking a job with Adidas.
In criminal complaints, authorities said agents and financial advisers paid bribes to assistant coaches to get them to introduce them to star college players and their parents before the students turned professional.
Authorities said the coaches received thousands of dollars in bribes, enabling the agents and others to get a slice of the millions of dollars the athletes could eventually make in the NBA.