PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — A Pittsburgh man is reportedly a key figure in the massive federal corruption case involving big-time college basketball.
A top Adidas executive and four assistant coaches are among 10 men charged with using hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence star athletes’ choice of schools, shoe sponsors and agents.
According to multiple reports, former financial adviser Louis Martin Blazer III was an undercover informant for federal investigators.
Bloomberg News reports Blazer attended several meetings where business and financial advisers tried to arrange bribe payments to coaches to secure the eventual services of their student-athletes.
CBSSports.com reports Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person, one of the four coaches charged in the case, accepted $91,500 from Blazer.
In addition to Person, coaches at Oklahoma State, Arizona and the University of Southern California are charged.
The Arizona assistant coach facing charges is Emanuel Richardson, a 1998 graduate of Pitt-Johnstown.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller is a former basketball standout at Blackhawk High School who helped lead Pitt to three NCAA Tournament appearances between 1987-1992. Miller has not faced any allegations in the corruption case.
In court papers, prosecutors said the FBI has since 2015 been investigating the criminal influence of money on charges and student-athletes who participate in intercollegiate basketball governed by the NCAA.
They said the probe has revealed numerous instances of bribes paid by athlete advisers, including financial advisers and associate basketball coaches, to assistant and associate basketball coaches to exert influence over student athletes.
Some of the most explosive allegations appear to involve the University of Louisville , which already is on NCAA probation over a sex scandal. Court papers contain enough details to identify Louisville.
Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino said he’s shocked by the corruption allegations. Pitino said he agrees with prosecutors that third-party schemes initiated by a few bad actors “operated to commit a fraud” on universities and their basketball programs. He said fans and supporters deserve better.
The initial charges could be just the tip of the iceberg. More programs and coaches could be entangled as the FBI digs deeper, and schools where the arrested coaches previously worked could face scrutiny.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)