FBI charges Adidas' Jim Gatto and others with bribing college prospects.
Jim Gatto, the Director or Global Marketing for Adidas Basketball allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to steer top prospects to Adidas sponsored colleges. In addition to Gatto, the FBI charged four college basketball coaches including Auburn's assistant coach Chuck Person, Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans, USC assistant coach Tony Bland and Book Richardson from the University of Arizona.
According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, 10 people are facing charges of fraud and corruption.
TMZ Sports obtained court documents which outlined Jim Gatto's involvement which includes trying to pay one player and his family $100,000 to get him to a school of Gatto's choice, and giving another player $150,000 with the expectation that the player would sign with Adidas when he went to the NBA.
The FBI claims, per TMZ Sports,
"The investigation has revealed multiple instances of bribes paid by athlete advisors, including financial advisors and business managers, as well as high-level apparel company employees, and facilitated by coaches employed by NCAA division 1 universities, to student-athletes playing at or bound for NCAA D-1 universities, and the families of such athletes, in exchange for a commitment by those athletes to matriculate at a specific university and a promise to ultimately sign agreements to be represented by the bribe-payors once the athletes enter the NBA."
Additionally, the FBI reportedly has wiretapped phone calls of Gatto and his conspirators in the act.
Adidas says they were unaware of their global head of sports marketing, Jim Gatto allegedly arranged to pay high school players. Adidas released the following statement in the wake of today's news, per ESPN's Darren Rovell,
"Today, we became aware that federal investigators arrested an Adidas employee. We are learning more about the situation. We're unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with authorities to understand more."
The FBI report states that Auburn's Chuck Person, a former NBA player, collected approximately $91,500 in bribes in exchange for funneling Auburn players to a particular financial advisor and a high-end suit maker, Rashan Michel. Person allegedly used a portion of that money to pay off the families of high-priority recruits.
Person reportedly told one player,
"The most important part is that you ... don't say nothing to anybody ... don't share with your sisters, don't share with any of the teammates, that's very important 'cause this is a violation ... of rules. But this is how the NBA players get it done."
"They get early relationships, and they form partnerships, they form trust, you get to know [financial advisor], you get to know Rashan a lot and like Rashan can get you suits and stuff ... you'll start looking like an NBA ball player, that's what you are."
Check out some more of the details below.
Feds allege that Chuck Person agreed to $50K deal to steer player to agent, who was former NBA official & custom clothier Rishan Michel.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 26, 2017
Feds: adidas head of sports marketing Jim Gatto, with others, paid high school players to go to adidas schools, then sign with adidas later.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 26, 2017
Agent said to be involved in kickback scheme, Christian Dawkins, was fired by ASM for running up $42,000 in Uber charges on player's dime.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 26, 2017
Two alleged payments to high school players that FBI details, which included adidas head of sports marketing, totaled as much as $250,000.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 26, 2017
Agent on recruiting scandal: "This has been going on for 30 years. It's not like anyone came up with this. It's a systemic issue."— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 26, 2017
Feds allege Chuck Person received $91,500 for steering a player to a financial firm & clothing company.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 26, 2017
He made $23 million in the NBA pic.twitter.com/NZJIi7JbU0