James Gatto, Merl Code and Christian Dawkins found guilty in "pay-for-play" scheme.
Former Adidas employees James Gatto, Merl Code and Christian Dawkins were found guilty today for their involvement in "pay-for-play" schemes to influence star high school basketball recruits to attend Kansas, Louisville and North Carolina State.
According to ESPN, Gatto, Code and Dawkins were accused of felony charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud by paying money from Adidas to the families of recruits to ensure they signed with Adidas-sponsored schools, and then with the sneaker company and certain financial planners and agents once they turned pro.
After a three week trial, the jury found Gatto guilty on all three of his counts, while Code and Dawkins were found guilty on two counts. All three men will be sentenced on March 5. ESPN reports attorneys in the case indicated the defendants might face two to four years in federal prison.
Among the allegations (H/T ESPN):
"The men were accused of conspiring to pay $100,000 from Adidas to Brian "Tugs" Bowen's father to influence him to sign with Louisville in the summer of 2017."
"Gatto, the sneaker company's director of global sports marketing for basketball, also was accused of conspiring with former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola to pay $90,000 to former Kansas prospect Billy Preston's mother and $20,000 to current Jayhawks player Silvio De Sousa's guardian."
"Gassnola testified during the trial that he also gave former NC State assistant Orlando Early $40,000 to secure the commitment of former Wolfpack star Dennis Smith Jr., after Gatto approved the payment."
Gatto's attorneys, Michael Schachter, told the jury that Gatto approved the payments to players' families at the request of coaches, including Kansas head coach Bill Self, and former Louisville coach, Rick Pitino.