The director of global sports marketing for Adidas is among those charged in a bribe-paying scheme that federal authorities say was designed to match agents and advisers to players before they became NBA stars. James Gatto was arrested Tuesday along with nine others, including four assistant basketball coaches from the University of Arizona, Auburn, the University of Southern California, and Oklahoma State, per the AP. In criminal complaints, authorities said agents and financial advisers paid bribes to assistant coaches to get the coaches to introduce them to star college players and their parents before the students turned professional. Authorities said the coaches received thousands of dollars in bribes, enabling the agents and others to get a slice of the millions of dollars the athletes could eventually make in the NBA.
The four coaches are Auburn assistant Chuck Person, Southern California assistant Tony Bland, Arizona assistant Emanuel Richardson, and Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans, per USA Today. In all, 10 people were charged in federal court in New York City. Adidas, for its part, put out a statement saying it was "unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with authorities to understand more." In one example cited in court documents, a financial adviser to athletes who was actually working with law enforcement paid about $91,500 in bribes over a 10-month period to an assistant coach at Auburn. In return, the coach directed "certain (Auburn) basketball players to retain the services (of the financial adviser) when those student-athletes entered the NBA."