Arizona Wildcats assistant coach Book Richardson was one of four college basketball coaches arrested on Tuesday due to charges filed by the FBI in a fraud and bribery investigation surrounding recruiting.
Thanks to our Miami sister site State of the U, there is another huge detail involving Arizona that doesn’t name Richardson or the Wildcat coaching staff.
Arizona appears to have offered a 2018 recruit $150,000 to play in Tucson.
Below is the full section of the involvement of Miami and how Arizona fits in.
For background, Merl Code is a former Clemson player and current Adidas official. James Gatto is the head of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas. Christian Dawkins was a sports agent, and Brad Augustine is the director of an AAU team that is sponsored by Adidas in Orlando, FL.
In addition, “Company-1” is Adidas, “University-4” is Arizona, “University-7” is Miami, and “Player-12” is thought to be 2018 five-star wing Nassir Little. Little was not publicly committed to any school prior to the charges being filed, but mysteriously tweeted out a decommitment (since deleted) on Tuesday.
August 11, 2017: Call 2, part 1 — Code discussed with Gatto the involvement of Dawkins and Augustine in the scheme to facilitate payments to “Player-12” in order to secure “Player-12’s” commitment to attend “University-7”. Code explained that another Division 1 university “University-4” was offering “Player-12” $150,000. Code stated “and we’re trying to keep him from going to one of their (rival apparel company’s) schools”.
Code further went on to tell Gatto that Dawkins and Augustine had asked Code if Gatto “would be able to keep him at “University-7” because they really want the kid.” Gatto confirmed that “Player-12” would be a rising senior in high school, and Code assured Gatto that the payments need not be “all in one lump sum. I can make it work...” Code went on to tell Gatto that the situation was “not one of those where I need an answer today. You know what I’m saying? I just wanted to put it on your plate.”
Call 2, part 2 — Still on call 2, Gatto asked whether “Company-1” would “have to match the “University-4” deal?” Gatto went on to ask if the payments could be pushed to 2018, saying “if I have to pay it out in ‘18, that’s fine”, but “I just don’t know if I, I just don’t know if I can’ do anything in ‘17 that’s what I’m saying”.
Referring back to the “University-6” (Louisville) scheme involving “Player-10” (thought to be Brian Bowen), Gatto told Code that he should “try to get it to, what did we do with “Player-10”, a 100”, which the FBI believes to represent a $100,000 payment to “Player-10”. Code replied that he was not sure “they’ll take that much less if I can take it down at least twenty five” (25 likely representing a $25,000 reduction in payment to “Player-12”), to which Gatto replied “alright, well let’s just see.”
August 12, 2017 — A phone call between Code and Dawkins is recorded by the FBI wiretap. On this call, Code relayed to Dawkins the substance of the August 11th calls between Code and Gatto regarding payments by “Company-1” to “Player-12”, including Gatto’s request that Code negotiate the $150,00 asking price set by “Player-12”. According to Code, however, if “University-4” was willing to pay the full $150,000 “then that’s where the kid is going to go.”
Referring to Gatto’s statement about not having sufficient funds to pay “Player-12” in 2017, Code stated if “Company-1” waited until January 2018 to commit to a payment amount “by that point that number might be 200” indicating $200,000. Code added that “Company-1” “won’t play if it’s. . . at that level, we won’t play.”
Dawkins asked what would be the highest payment that Gatto and “Company-1” would agree to, to which Code replied “I think they do 150 [$150,000] if, if “Coach-3” stayed on it.”
While Nike escaped the first day of this, employees of the company’s EYBL grassroots division along with all documents were subpoenaed by the FBI on Wednesday. The investigation has also led to the firing of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich. Louisville is alleged to have payed Brian Bowen $100,000, who has now been suspended indefinitely.
Arizona is also said to have a current player on the roster that was paid in some form according to the FBI report in addition to this $150,000 allegation.