College basketball corruption scandal: 3 ways agents bribing recruits got busted

The college basketball world woke up to a bombshell report from Yahoo! Sports on Friday, detailing payments made between the sports agency ASM and numerous highly touted basketball recruits. All of these payments are on the record. The FBI has full knowledge of it after raiding the agency at the start of its probe into corruption in college basketball.

Keep in mind the money changing hands in this report is only from the agent side. ASM was keeping score here, giving out payments in exchange for what it hoped was the ability to land future clients. In truth, this is just a small part of the bag man game that’s been fueling big-time college sports for decades.

Regardless of the morality or tangible rule breaking at play here, everyone should be able to agree on one thing: these agents got sloppy in their bribing. Here are three ways ASM goofed up.

ASM missed most of its biggest targets

Whoops! For all of its reconnaissance work in attempting to land future clients, ASM … did not land many future clients.

  • Dennis Smith Jr. reportedly received $73,500 in “loans” from ASM with the “option to recoup the money.” When Smith turned pro out of NC State, he promptly signed with PSE Sports.
  • Markelle Fultz allegedly received $10,000 from ASM. He did not sign with ASM.
  • Bam Adebayo reportedly received between $12,000-$36,000 from the agency. He did not sign with ASM.
  • Isaiah Whitehead reportedly received $37,657. He initially signed with the agency, but quickly left for Roc Nation.

To be fair, this is part of the game — Ole Miss boosters recently gave at least $13,000 to one recruit who signed elsewhere — though you’d still like to see a better conversion rate.

Actually paid a player on Venmo

Former Clemson wing Jaron Blossomgame reportedly received $1,100. His payment was made …. on Venmo.

What emoji do you think they used? Here’s hoping for the money bag + the basketball.

Even if the payment was made on private, this is not hard to track. That money goes straight into a bank account. Guess what: the feds have access to that, too.

“Why would there be a bank account? Yeah, I’m gonna open a checking account with statements someone could subpoena,” one college sports bag man told SB Nation in 2014. Real pros use cash.

Kept meticulous records for the feds to inspect

None of this was above-board, but ASM still kept detailed records anyway. They were essentially keeping score: tracking exactly where this money was going and making note of any player who accepted their bride and still signed with a different agency.

ASM wanted something in return for all these payments. Turns out that detailed record is exactly what led to this entire debacle.

Yahoo! noted the “uncommon amount of detail” in these records.

For example, the expense reports have hundreds of lines like:

Feb. 10, 2016: “Flight for Brian Bowen mom. Flight for Brian Bowen. Flight for Brian Bowen dad.” They totaled more than $1,500.

Feb. 1, 2016: “Advance to Apples Jones (Josh Jackson) $1,700.”

Jan. 13, 2016: “ATM withdrawl: Advance to Fred Van Vleet $483.”

May 3, 2016: “Redwood Lodge. Lunch w/Miles Bridges Parents. $70.05.”

May 3, 2016: “ATM Withdrawl: Miles Bridges mom advance. $400”

ASM wrote it all down, just as The Wire’s Stringer Bell once advised against. Whatever they thought they were getting in return, it certainly wasn’t worth it.