College Basketball Reels Under Corruption Charges
Cash bribes. Concealed payments. Quid pro quo deals. Sounds like something from a suspense novel, right? But would you believe that these are all allegations related to college basketball recruitment? That’s right, college basketball is currently under the FBI’s microscope, and the University of Miami’s men’s program is one of the schools getting their attention. These are serious charges, and the defendants will require legal help.
What’s Been Going On?
The assertions are stunning: according to court documents, some well-respected coaches who run very competitive programs throughout the country have been bribing high school recruits with cash channeled from sports apparel companies. In some cases, the money went directly to the families of the young athletes. In others, high school coaches took bribes as a quid pro quo for steering players to particular colleges. This, all in the hopes of getting top-notch teens to join their basketball programs, and eventually sign advertising contracts with sportswear companies when they make it to the big leagues.
How Much Money are we Talking about?
In just one case, roughly $150,000 was funneled from Adidas to one high school student whose graduation would be in the spring of 2018. When speaking to an undercover agent, one recruiter claimed that, “You can make millions off one kid.” But that single case is presumably just the tip of the iceberg. Just how many young athletes were targeted is still unknown.
Hidden Wires and Phone Taps
Just how did the FBI get its information? Ten men have already been charged for their exploitation of student athletes, and wiretaps helped authorities get those indictments. Calls intercepted by the FBI capture conversations between coaches and sports marketing executives related to players, cash payouts, and positions on university teams. Additionally, a financial advisor who had lost his position wore a wire during crucial conversations among key players in the scheme. The culture of pay to play was clearer when search warrants allowed agents to comb through at least one sports agency’s offices.
To date, there have been arrests and firings, but the legal consequences could involve hefty fines and years of incarceration.
Bribery may be alleged in all kinds of situations, and it can involve business dealings, public contracting, law enforcement officers, athletic officials, politicians and more. Such charges generally involve large sums of money and quid pro quo arrangements that require extensive investigation in order to verify.
Attorney Deric Zacca is an experienced, board certified criminal defense lawyer that can assist anyone facing accusations of bribery or corruption. Contact him today in Fort Lauderdale for a confidential consultation.