Former Penn coach Jerome Allen pleads guilty in bribery case involving former recruit

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Former Penn head coach Jerome Allen has pled guilty to bribery charges in connection with him accepting a payment of $18,000 from the father of a high school recruit who was trying to get his son admitted into the school.

Allen announced the guilty plea in a statement through his attorney late this week as the current Boston Celtics assistant coach will likely face a multi-week suspension, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.

“In 2014, before I joined the Celtics organization, and while I served as the Head Basketball Coach of the University of Pennsylvania, I accepted $18,000, as referenced in the Information, from the father of a prospective student for the purpose of using my position as coach to help his son get admitted to the school as a “listed” recruit. My plea agreement with the Government requires me to repay the $18,000 plus a $200,000 fine,” the statement read in-part.

“I am heartbroken that my players – current and former – will know that I broke the law. But, I do hope that some good may come out of this. I wish to model to my young players how one accepts responsibility for wrongdoing, including the consequences that come from unlawful behavior.”

The case was handled in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida as Allen was involved with Miami businessman Philip Esformes and his son, Morris. In July, Bloomberg reported that Philip Esformes was accused of health-care fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and bribery, as the government uncovered more than $74,000 in gifts that Esformes allegedly gave to Allen in 2013 and 2014.

Allen was identified as “Coach-2” in the indictment, as he allegedly took multiple cash payments to help Morris Esformes enroll at Penn. Philip Esformes was hoping to get Morris into Penn as a “recruited basketball player” — increasing his son’s odds to get into the prestigious Ivy League school. Morris Esformes eventually was admitted, and enrolled, at Penn, but he never suited up for the basketball team since Allen was fired before he made it to campus.

While the NCAA hasn’t been involved in this issue, their potential involvement will be something worth monitoring going forward.