UofL confirms it is included in federal investigation regarding recruiting

Published: Sep. 26, 2017 at 10:12 AM EDT
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Federal prosecutors have announced charges of fraud and corruption in college basketball, including against four coaches.

The coaches work at Oklahoma State, Auburn University, Arizona and the University of Southern California.

They were among ten people charged in New York City federal court. Others included managers, financial advisers, and representatives of a major international sportswear company.

In court papers, prosecutors said the FBI has since 2015 been investigating the criminal influence of money on charges and student-athletes who participate in intercollegiate basketball governed by the NCAA.

They said the probe had revealed numerous instances of bribes paid by athlete advisers, including financial advisers and associate basketball coaches, to assistant and associate basketball coaches to exert influence over student-athletes.

The FBI would not name universities, but the University of Louisville released a statement saying it received notice that the university is included in a federal investigation involving criminal activity related to men's basketball recruiting.

Court documents in the case frequently refer to "University 6." The Justice Department identified "University 6" as "a public research university located in Kentucky. With approximately 22,640 students and over 7,000 faculty and staff members."

In the affidavit, it says that James Gatto, the head of global sports marketing for an athletic apparel company, along with others conspired to funnel approximately $100,000 from the company to the family of "Player-10" to assist coaches at "University 6" in securing "Player-10's" commitment.

"Player-10" had indicated a desire to attend a number of schools, but not "University 6." According to court documents, shortly after the alleged scheme occurred, "Player-10" publicly announced his intention to enroll at "University 6."

On July 27, Christian Dawkins, Jonathan Augustine, an undercover agent ("UC-1"), and a coach from "University 6" met to discuss payments from "Company-1" to a high school basketball player. The FBI placed video recorders inside of a hotel room to record the meeting. "UC-1" also recorded the meeting. According to court documents, Dawkins laid out a plan to funnel money to the family of "Player-11," who was a 2019 recruit. Agents say that Dawkins, who works for a sports management company, explained to the group that the mother of the player was questioning about the money. He apparently added they were all working to get "this kid to 'University 6.'"

Noting that "University-6" was already on probation with the NCAA, Dawkins indicated that they would have to be "particularly careful with how they passed money to "Player-11" and his family." Documents state that "Coach-1" agreed, saying "we gotta be very low key."

The FBI managed to keep this investigation under wraps for three years.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office has established a special phone number for information relevant to this NCAA investigation. Anyone who has information can contact the FBI at 212-384-2135.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino issued a statement Tuesday night through his lawyer:

"These allegations come as a complete shock to me," Pitino said. "If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorneys Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville. Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable."

Sept. 26, 2017




Today, the University of Louisville received notice that it is included in a federal investigation involving criminal activity related to men’s basketball recruiting.


While we are just learning about this information, this is a serious concern that goes to the heart of our athletic department and the university. UofL is committed to ethical behavior and adherence to NCAA rules; any violations will not be tolerated.


We will cooperate fully with any law enforcement or NCAA investigation into the matter.




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