College basketball scandal updates: Auburn’s Person, USC’s Bland indicted

A federal grand jury in New York handed down the first three indictments relating to the college basketball corruption scandal on Tuesday to Chuck Person, the once-suspended (and now fired) associate head coach at Auburn, Rashan Michel, the owner of a clothing company and a former NCAA referee, and Southern California assistant coach Tony Bland.

Both Person and Michel were charged with six counts related to the investigation unveiled in September. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 80 years in federal prison if they are found guilty. Bland is facing four charges, two fewer than in the original complaint, including conspiracy to commit bribery and and honest services wire fraud.

Person, Bland and Michael are three of the 10 individuals who were charged in the corruption and bribery scheme acting U.S. attorney Joon Kim called the “dark underbelly of college basketball” when the initial discovery was brought to light. Two other college basketball assistants, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans and Emanuel “Book” Richardson, were also accused of similar crimes in the federal documents.

Schools impacted

  • Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino was fired by Louisville. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote that Pitino left Louisville with no choice but to fire him after his involvement in a past recruiting scandal, but Pitino plans to fight the charges.
  • Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich was also fired after originall being put on paid leave.
  • After Pitino was put on leave, assistant coach David Padgett, a former Louisville player, was named acting head coach. 
  • Louisville named Vince Tyra, a former University of Kentucky baseball player and Louisville businessman, will be the interim athletic director.
  • The Cardinals fired assistant coach Jordan Fair without cause and the other remaining assistant coach, Kenny Johnson, was placed on paid administrative leave.
  • Louisville hired Trent Johnson, to be an assistant coach.
  • Assistant coach Chuck Person, a former NBA player and Auburn alum, is accused of handling a total of $141,500. Person was suspended without pay.
  • Coach Bruce Pearl, who is no stranger to NCAA trouble, is not named in the report.
  • The program is already being impacted by losing a high-profile recruit and offering to give refunds to season-ticket holders.
  • Person was indicted on Nov. 7 and charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation of bribes and gratuities, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, honest services wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and travel act conspiracy. Following his indictment, Auburn announced Person is longer an employee with the school.
  • Assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson is accused of paying a player identified only as “Player-5” $5,000 in bribe money to sign with the Wildcats. Richardson has been suspended with pay,
  • Arizona coach Sean Miller released a statement on the investigation.
  • Five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly canceled his commitment to Arizona.  
  • USC assistant Tony Bland is charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, soliciting a bribe and wire fraud. Bland has been charged with providing $9,000 cash payments to the families of two current USC players and has been suspended.
  • Bland retained a high-profile attorney who has represented El Chapo and John Gotti Jr.
  • Bland was indicted on Nov. 7 in connection with the ongoing FBI investigation. He is facing four charges, two fewer than in the original complaint, including conspiracy to commit bribery and and honest services wire fraud.
  • Evans, formerly an assistant at Oklahoma State, is also accused of accepting bribe money while an assistant at South Carolina.
  • Athletic director Ray Tanner issued a statement that South Carolina is “not the target” of the FBI probe, but acknowledged that Evans was investigated.  
  • Kobie Baker, a men’s basketball administrator, resigned after athletic director Greg Byrne initiated an internal review of its men’s basketball program in response to the scandal.
  • Alabama announced freshman Collin Sexton has not had his eligibility reinstated by the NCAA on Nov. 6. It is believed that Sexton’s status could be tied to the FBI investigation.

Other individuals impacted

  • Jim Gatto, director of Adidas global sports marketing: Accused of paying families of two high-profile recruits to play for Adidas-affiliated schools. One of those schools is Louisville. Money exchanged with the two families was $100,000 and $150,000, according to the FBI.
  • Merl Code, recently left Nike for Adidas: A right-hand man for Gatto involved in many of these exchanges, according to the complaint.
  • Christian Dawkins, former NBA agent recently fired from ASM Sports: Broker who organized the deals between the assistant coaches and Gatto. He was caught on a wire saying, “If you’re going to fund those kind of guys, I mean we’d be running college basketball.”
  • Jonathan Brad Augustine, president of The League Initiative, director of an Adidas-sponsored program: Helped funnel/hide money through that youth basketball program. Also involved/connected to the recruitment of an unidentified 2018 player who is being courted by a number of high-profile schools.
  • Munish Sood, financial adviser: Along with Dawkins, the U.S. Attorney’s office alleges he was a power broker in helping move approximately $250,000 to families of high school basketball players with the help of Gatto.
  • Rashan Michel, representative of Thompson Bespoke Clothing, former NCAA referee: Involved most intensely in dealing with Person at Auburn.