Two more premier college basketball programs were ensnared in an expanding federal probe into bribery at the sport’s highest level when prosecutors filed additional charges against three men accused of funneling cash to prospects to steer them to top schools.
Former Adidas AG executive James Gatto, consultant Merl Code and agent Christian Dawkins, face new charges of paying families of six student-athletes in exchange for commitments to attend the University of Louisville, the University of Miami, the University of Kansas and North Carolina State University, prosecutors said Tuesday. Kansas and North Carolina State weren’t included in the original indictment.
Joe Monaco, a spokesman for the University of Kansas, said the indictment doesn’t suggest any wrongdoing by the school, its coaches or staff.
“We will cooperate fully with investigators,” Monaco said in an emailed statement.
Assistant coaches, agents and sportswear company representatives were charged last year following a three-year probe into National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball. The investigation cost Louisville head coach Rick Pitino his job and sent shock waves rippling throughout the sport.
According to the superseding indictment, Gatto helped to direct about $40,000 in payments to the father of a player “widely regarded as the top high school recruit in the state of North Carolina” to induce him to play for North Carolina State. While the recruit wasn’t named in the indictment, the description matches that of Dennis Smith Jr., who played for the Wolfpack as a freshman and was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks last year.
The case is U.S. v. Gatto, 17-cr-00686, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.
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