An Adidas employee who was charged Tuesday in federal court for bribing college basketball players was not involved with Kansas’ recently announced sponsorship contract with Adidas, according to KU assistant athletic director Jim Marchiony.
Jim Gatto, the director of global sports marketing for Adidas, was one of 10 people named in three separate cases presented by the Department of Justice on Tuesday.
KU, as part of its “Raise the Chant” fundraising announcement, revealed Friday that it had agreed to a 12-year extension with Adidas. The new pact — 14 years in total — will provide $191 million in sponsorship and apparel.
Final paperwork of the contract has not been completed, meaning it is not publicly available. Marchiony said Tuesday, though, that Gatto’s signature does not appear on the contract, as he wasn’t a part of the company’s business side. Marchiony also said KU Athletics has not been contacted by federal authorities.
The last three tweets on Gatto’s Twitter account referenced KU’s new contract with Adidas, leading some fans to wonder whether he was involved with it.
Joon H. Kim, the acting U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, said during a news conference Tuesday that Gatto was “clearly someone who had the authority, as alleged in the complaint, to funnel money upwards of $100,000 and also book it in certain ways that would disguise (it).” Kim said there were no other allegations in Tuesday’s complaint regarding Adidas employees who had higher standing than Gatto.
Four college basketball assistant coaches were charged Tuesday along with Gatto: Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, Arizona’s Emanuel Richardson, Southern California’s Tony Bland and Auburn’s Chuck Person. Individual players and universities were not named in court documents, but based on their descriptions, three players who appear to be referenced in the case are Louisville’s Brian Bowen, Auburn’s Austin Wiley and Arizona commit Jahvon Quinerly.
Recruiting-wise, KU was most involved with Quinerly, Rivals’ 16th-ranked player in 2018 who committed to Arizona over KU on Aug. 8 — more than a month before he was scheduled to take an official visit to Lawrence. KU offered both Bowen and Wiley, according to Rivals, but the two never made campus visits.
The Department of Justice said its investigation is ongoing.
Marchiony said Tuesday KU was “aware of what’s been released this morning, and we’re monitoring it.”