When it comes to college basketball and the federal government these days, it’s all about the investigation into corruption in the sport that has laready led to multiple arrests and convictions out of the Southern District of New York.
There’s an even stranger story between the two institutions colliding in Florida.
Former Penn coach Jerome Allen pleaded guilty last October for accepting $18,000 from the father of a recruit who was trying to get his son admitted into the Ivy League school, but it turns out that was just scratching the surface of this sordid tale.
Allen, in testimony in federal court Friday, admitted to receiving approximately $300,000 from the aforementioned father of a recruit which came to light with that man, Philip Esformes, was accused of falsely filing about $450 million of false Medicare and Medicaid claims in Florida, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
That would be the former Penn coach getting caught up – albeit tangentially – in a federal probe of nearly HALF A BILLION DOLLARS in fraudulent claims because the guy the government was after was paying Allen to get his son on the Quakers’ basketball team, according to Allen’s testimony.
More than that, Allen testified that former Penn assistant, Ira Bowman, was aware of the situation after James was fired by Penn in 2015.
“We were extremely disappointed to learn that Jerome Allen, former head men’s basketball coach at Penn, accepted payments to recruit a potential student-athlete to Penn and concealed that conduct from the Athletic Department and University administration,” Penn said in a statement released to the Philadelphia Inquirer. ““Until Jerome’s testimony last week, we also were unaware that former assistant men’s basketball coach Ira Bowman had any relevant knowledge of the matter. The University has been cooperating fully with the government and the NCAA so that the matter is appropriately redressed.”
Allen, now an assistant with the Boston Celtics said he received plastic bags with about $10,000 in cash and eventually started receiving wire transfers, ultimately receiving about $300,000, he said.
Usually, it’s coaches – or their intermediaries – that pay players to get them into a school. This is a new one. Given the power of an Ivy League diploma, maybe it makes some sense. But, wow, is it a wild tale.