Christian Dawkins, a former runner for NBA super agent Andy Miller, Adidas employee James Gatto and former Adidas consultant Merl Code were all found guilty following a three-week criminal trial in New York federal court in the NCAA’s pay-for-play scandal.
Dawkins, Code and Gatto were fighting felony charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. It was alleged that they sent Adidas’ money to the families of recruits to secure the players would commit to big name Adidas-sponsored schools such as NC State, Maryland, Louisville and Kansas. The players were then expected to reimburse the sneaker company and certain financial planners and agents once they turned pro.
The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for more than a dozen hours over three days before reaching a guilty verdict. They found Gatto guilty on all three of his counts as Code and Dawkins were found guilty on two counts. Sentencing will happen for all three men on March 5th and they will remain out on bond until then. Attorneys in the case suggested the defendants could face two to four years in federal prison but wire fraud and conspiracy convictions each hold a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.
An initial claim involving top prospect Brian Bowen allegedly being paid $100,000 to attend Louisville first brought the FBI investigation to light. But the trial revealed the long-rumored corruption across college basketball. Brian Bowen Sr. testified that he was also offered money and benefits from top schools in Arizona, Texas, Oregon, Oklahoma State, and Creighton.
On top of Bowen, there were other big name college prospects that had their recruitment brought into question. Chief among them was the claim that Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self knew about the illegal recruitment of Silvio De Sousa, Arizona allegedly paid Deandre Ayton and the recruiting of Zion Williamson was also brought to questioning in court.
According to Mark Schlabach of ESPN, there’s still more trials to come in this huge investigation.
Two more federal criminal cases involving college basketball corruption are scheduled for trial at U.S. District Court in Manhattan next year. Former Auburn assistant Chuck Person and former NBA referee Rashan Michel are scheduled for trial in February. Person is accused of accepting $91,500 in bribes from a federal cooperating witness to influence Auburn players to sign with certain financial advisers and agents.
Three former assistant coaches — Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans and USC’s Tony Bland — are scheduled for trial in April. They are accused of accepting bribes from Code and Dawkins, who are also defendants in that case.