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NCAA coaches among 10 charged with fraud, corruption

September 26, 2017

Four assistant basketball coaches for major college programs are among those facing federal charges Tuesday after a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said.

The coaches were identified in court papers as Chuck Person of Auburn University, Emanuel Richardson of the University of Arizona, Tony Bland of the University of Southern California and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State University. They are in federal custody and expected to make court appearances later Tuesday.

They were among 10 people charged in Manhattan federal court. Others included managers, financial advisers and James Gatto, the director of global sports marketing at Adidas. The details were to be discussed at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Person was arrested in Alabama; Bland in Tampa, Florida; Evans in Oklahoma; and Richardson in Arizona. It was not immediately clear who will represent them in court. It was also not clear who will represent Gatto.

Person, the associate head coach at Auburn University, was the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft in 1986 and was selected by the Indiana Pacers, where he won Rookie of the Year honors in 1987 and averaged 19 points and 6.3 rebounds over six seasons. He played for five NBA teams over 13 seasons.

Since 2015, the FBI has been investigating the criminal influence of money on coaches and players in the NCAA, federal authorities said.

In criminal complaints, investigators said many coaches have "enormous influence" over their players and how they select their agents and other advisers when they leave college and enter the NBA.

"The investigation has revealed several instances in which coaches have exercised that influence by steering players and their families to retain particular advisers, not because of the merits of those advisers, but because the coaches were being bribed by the advisers to do so," the papers said.

A criminal complaint quoted Evans in several instances bragging about his ability to steer the young athletes toward prospective agents and advisers, promising them that "every guy I recruit and get is my personal kid."

Evans said it was necessary to use his influence over the youngsters early in their college careers because many of them are "one and done," meaning they play one or two years of college ball before joining the NBA, according to court papers.

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