If you want to get a good idea of where the FBI’s investigation of corruption in college basketball currently stands, let’s take a look at Brad Augustine.
In November, in a profile published by Yahoo Sports, Augustine — the former director of the 1-Family AAU program in Florida — was referred to as the “most dangerous man in college basketball.” In February, the charges against Augustine were dropped, and there was speculation at the time that the sport’s most dangerous man had decided that he would be capitalizing what he knew and turning state’s witness.
The charges against him were dropped because Augustine, according to a report from the Washington Post, told investigators that he was never going to give any of the money to the players, and that he was instead just running his own scheme on Adidas while trying to line his own pockets.
Let me explain.
Augustine was initially charged with wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy and threatened with up to 80 years in prison after he was alleged, in a criminal complaint, to have accepted a $12,700 payment from an undercover FBI agent meant for a player’s mother in a sting in a Las Vegas hotel room and was caught on an FBI wiretap discussing how to funnel $150,000 from Adidas to the family of another player to get that player to go to Miami.
But Augustine told the court that he never gave any of the $12,700 to that player’s family, and that he never intended to funnel any of the $150,000 to the other player; his goal was to defraud Adidas executive Jim Gatto out of the money and keep it all for himself.
Think about that for a second.
When Augustine was trying to give shoe company money to players — something that in literally any other walk of life would be called “a sponsorship deal” — he was committing fraud by knowingly making these players ineligible in the eyes of the NCAA’s amateurism rules.
But by admitting that he had no intention of actually paying the players, by telling the legal system that he just wanted to defraud a shoe company out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by exaggerating the influence that he had over the decisions of 16- and 17-year old athletes, he was allowed to walk free.
THIS IS REAL LIFE!!!
This actually happened.
But there’s nothing wrong with the system we have in place.
Nothing at all.