College Sports

Big 12 assistant among 10 people charged in college basketball fraud and corruption case

The United States Department of Justice announced Tuesday that federal criminal charges of fraud and corruption in college basketball have been brought against 10 people in three separate cases.

That includes four college basketball coaches, as well as managers, financial advisors and representatives of a major international sportswear company.

Court documents show that the coaches are Oklahoma State associate head coach Lamont Evans, Emanuel Richardson of Arizona, Southern California’s Tony Bland and Auburn’s Chuck Person. The Associated Press reported that they are in custody and expected to make a court appearance on Tuesday.

Evans was hired by Oklahoma State prior to the 2016-17 season as assistant coach/recruiting coordinator. He had that same job at South Carolina for the previous four seasons under head coach Frank Martin. Evans was at Kansas State for four seasons before joining the Gamecocks.

The court documents show that Evans has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and solicitation of bribes and gratuities by an agent of a federally funded organization.

That complaint says: “As relevant here, the investigation has revealed numerous instances of bribes paid by athlete advisors — including financial advisers and business managers, among others — to assistant and associate basketball coaches employed by NCAA Division I universities, and sometimes directly to the student-athletes at NCAA Division I universities as facilitated by the coaches, in exchange for those coaches exerting their influence over student-athletes under their control to retain their services of the bribe-payors once the athletes enter the National Basketball Association.”

Jim Gatto, Adidas’ Director of Global Sports Marketing for Basketball, also is named in a case.

ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that the Department of Justice alleges Person agreed to a $50,000 deal to send a player to an agent, who was former NBA official/ custom clothier Rishan Michel.

The FBI has been looking into the criminal influence of money on coaches and student-athletes who participate in intercollegiate basketball governed by the NCAA since 2015.

Court documents say in part: “As the investigation has revealed, by virtue of their official position with federally-funded universities, NCAA Division I men’s basketball coaches have the ability to provide sports agents, financial advisors, business managers and others with access to the student-athletes whom they coach. Moreover, many such coaches have enormous influence over the student-athletes who play for them, in particular with respect to guiding those student-athletes through the process of selecting agents and other advisors when they prepare to leave college and enter the NBA.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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