Saturday, April 17, 2021

Judge Denies NCAA Access to Evidence in College Basketball Corruption Trial


Senior United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled against the NCAA on Tuesday, blocking the organizing body’s access to evidence uncovered in the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports:

A number of college assistant coaches, an aspiring sports agent, and an Adidas executive and consultant were implicated and charged in the wide-ranging investigation.

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Emanuel “Book” Richardson, a former assistant coach at Arizona, was sentenced to three months in prison and two years of “supervised release” on bribery charges after he pleaded guilty to accepting $20,000 in bribes in exchange for funneling Wildcats players toward agent Christian Dawkins, per Adam Zagoria of the New York Times (h/t Alaa Abdeldaiem of Sports Illustrated).

Former USC assistant coach Tony Bland, meanwhile, was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and two years probation after pleading guilty to felony conspiracy to commit bribery, according to Emily Caron of SI. Bland admitting to taking $4,100 in bribes in exchange for directing Trojans players to Dawkins.

Former Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans was sentenced to three months in prison, 100 hours of community service and forced by the court to forfeit $22,000, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). That amount was equivalent to the bribes Evans admitted to receiving between 2016 and 2017.

And former Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person was sentenced to probation after receiving $91,500 in bribes from financial adviser Marty Blazer, though he was given a lighter sentence without jail time after Judge Loretta Preska gave him credit for his history of charity, including making donations to high schools and setting up a scholarship fund.

“These crimes came about because of Mr. Person’s random acts of charity that happened all of the time,” Preska said during his sentencing, per Stephen Rex Brown of the New York Post. “He is charitable, literally, to a fault.”

Related: 3 convicted in NCAA pay-for-play trial file appeal
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Dawkins, meanwhile, was found guilty of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery in May, while former Adidas consultant Merl Code was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery, according to Jeff Borzello and Mark Schlabach of ESPN. In an earlier trial, former Adidas executive James Gatto received nine months in prison on conspiracy and fraud charges; Dawkins and Code were also sentenced to six months in that trial.

The NCAA has been seeking more information and evidence from the FBI’s probe into corruption and fraud to aid its own investigation into the matter, though to this point has been denied those details.

“They have not agreed to provide us with all of the information we’re asking for,” the NCAA executive vice president for regulatory affairs, Stan Wilcox, told Dana O’Neil of The Athletic in May. “There are some wiretaps that were not presented in court, that may have been listened to in judge’s chambers and such, that we would love to get our hands on. But that hasn’t been offered to us at this point.”


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