The FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball will get another turn in court this week as a U.S. District Court judge in New York will hear arguments about whether the criminal case against three of the 10 men indicted should continue.
According to a report from Mark Schlabach of ESPN, the attorneys representing former Adidas executives James Gatto and Merl Code and former sports agent Christian Dawkins are arguing that their clients didn’t commit a federal crime. All three men face one felony count each of wire fraud for their alleged roles in helping funnel money from Adidas to sports agents and financial planners who could help steer prospects to Adidas-backed schools.
But the real interesting nugget from Schlabach’s story comes from what the NCAA could do to the schools involved in the scandal. Schlabach reported that as many as three dozen Division I programs could be hit with NCAA violations based on information included in wiretap conversations, e-mails and cellphone records seized from former NBA agent Andy Miller. On the same day the FBI arrested the 10 men involved in the corruption scandal, Miller’s office was raided by the FBI.
The sources told ESPN that many of the alleged incidents involve illegal cash payments to prospects and their families, as well as players and their families receiving tens of thousands of dollars from agents while they were still playing in college. In some cases, according to the sources, NCAA head coaches were aware of the payments, while others didn’t have knowledge of the schemes.
“At some point, the NCAA is going to see this stuff,” the source said. “What are they going to do? They can’t sit on their hands. If one kid is getting punished at USC for taking money, then the kid taking money at another school has to be punished, too.”
While the court case for Gatto, Code and Dawkins will be of interest to college basketball fans, the potential fallout from the NCAA is what everyone is really waiting for.
Over the next several months, we’ll see numerous headlines about these federal cases and how they are being handled in court. College basketball fans aren’t going to care that much about those court proceedings until it affects programs at the NCAA level.
We might see charges get dropped against some of the people indicted from the FBI’s probe — like we saw earlier this week when the federal government dropped charges against Jonathan Brad Augustine.
Even if all of the charges get dropped in this case, the NCAA will likely still have the final say in how everything will be handled.