Fraud. Corruption. Bribery. No matter what you call it, it doesn’t have a place in today’s society. As true as this may be, corruption is impossible to completely eliminate. New allegations against several NCAA men’s basketball coaches have surfaced, and it’s not looking good for the people involved.
The first set of allegations have been leveled against four assistant coaches at the University of Arizona, Auburn University, Oklahoma State University, and USC. An ongoing three-year FBI investigation revealed that these coaches took cash bribes in order to steer elite basketball players toward certain financial advisors and sports agents. Each coach is faced with charges of bribery, conspiracy, solicitation of bribes, honest services fraud conspiracy, honest service fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The U.S. Department of Justice has stated that each coach faces a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison.
In a second set of allegations, authorities say that James Gatto, director of global sports marketing for Adidas, is responsible for funneling six-figure payments to several players on behalf of an unnamed sportswear company. In exchange, these players committed to play for certain college programs that were affiliated with the company.
But the most noticeable of these schools facing these charges is the Louisville men’s basketball program. Rick Pitino, the head coach, is currently on administrative leave at the school he has led to 416 wins over the past 16 seasons. Pitino’s outlook is not great, as he is very likely to be permanently removed from his position as head coach after his contract ends later this year. Federal criminal complaints accuse at least one coach at a public university located in Kentucky, recently confirmed as Louisville, of taking part in the scheme to funnel nearly $100,000 from Adidas to a high school prospect in hope that he would choose to play for them.
These charges have led to the arrests of several of the people involved. Three of the four coaches were arrested Tuesday morning, along with James Gatto. Several other employees for large sporting companies were arrested as well.