Jeff BorzelloCloseESPN Editor
- Insider of basketball recruitment.
- He joined ESPN in 2014.
- Graduated from the University of Delaware.
Mark SchlabachCloseESPN Senior Writer
- College football writer
- Author of seven books on university football.
- Graduated from the University of Georgia
On Wednesday, a federal jury in New York sentenced agent-candidate Christian Dawkins and the former Adidas consultant Merl Code for their role in bribing badistant basketball coaches to influence their players to sign with the new sports management company. of Dawkins and certain financial advisors once they have become professionals.
A jury deliberated for parts of three days before condemning Code and Dawkins. Dawkins was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery, while the Code was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery. Dawkins had been facing six total charges and Code four.
United States District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos will sentence Code and Dawkins at a later date.
Dawkins and Code had been accused of bribing thousands of dollars to three former badistant coaches: Tony Bland of USC, Emanuel "Book" Richardson of Arizona and Lamont Evans of South Carolina and the State of Oklahoma.
Each of the former badistant coaches pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy to commit bribery. They are scheduled for sentencing later this month.
The attorneys at Code and Dawkins argued during a two-week trial that their clients never bribed the coaches and organized meetings with them only at the request of an undercover FBI agent, posing as an investor in Dawkins' fledgling company.
Recorded recordings heard during the trial showed that Dawkins told Jeff D & # 39; Angelo, the pseudonym of the FBI undercover agent, that he did not think paying the badistant coaches was a good way to develop his business.
"It's not the end of everything, I know everything, in my opinion," Dawkins said in a recording.
"By the time those kids get to college, the deals are usually done," Dawkins said during the defense's interrogation. "There's no need to pay a college coach because those players come to the university with agents, the idea that it's an amateur world is not real."
Dawkins stated that he did not believe that college coaches had much influence over players, but D & # 39; Angelo insisted on the matter.
"But here's the model," said D & # 39; Angelo in a recording. "Like … I'm financing you, your side of the business, and I stay out of your way, and you're going to do that."
"Just to pay the men just to pay him, because he's in a school, that does not make sense," Dawkins testified. "[D’Angelo] basically says: & # 39; You will introduce me to coaches that I can pay or I will not finance you & # 39; "
The government played multiple taped recordings of Dawkins discussing the money with the coaches and showed an undercover surveillance video of a Las Vegas meeting between Dawkins, D & # 39; Angelo, covert agent Jill Bailey and a parade of badistant coaches. During that meeting, the video showed Dawkins handing out cash envelopes to several college basketball badistant coaches.
Federal prosecutor Robert Boone explained during the government's final rebuttal that Dawkins' disagreement with D & # 39; Angelo's plan to bribe the coaches was not indicative that Dawkins and Code had no interest in bribing the coaches. It meant that Dawkins wanted to do it differently.
"I wanted to pay the coaches at the university, I just wanted to be smart about that," Boone told the jury.
It is the second time that Code and Dawkins have been convicted in a federal criminal trial in Manhattan on charges related to alleged corruption in college basketball.
In October, a jury convicted Code, Dawkins and former Adidas executive James Gatto on conspiracy and fraud charges for their roles in a pay-per-play plan to direct the best recruits to schools sponsored by Adidas, including Kansas, Louisville and NC State.
The United States District Court judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, sentenced Gatto to nine months in prison in a federal prison; Code and Dawkins were sentenced to six months.
Former NBA referee Rashan Michel, the only remaining defendant in the third federal criminal trial involving alleged corruption in college basketball, accepted an agreement with prosecutors on Tuesday for a conspiracy charge of bribery. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, but the plea agreement that Michel signed with prosecutors recommends a sentence of 12 months to 18 months in prison. His sentence is scheduled for September 18.
Former Auburn badistant Chuck Person pleaded guilty in March to accepting about $ 91,500 in bribes to influence his players to sign with certain financial advisers once they have become professionals. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 9 and faces up to two and a half years in prison.