Las Vegas has been the backdrop for nefarious activities in the past and it acted as a host for three meetings with college basketball coaches accused of bribery and corruption in the biggest scandal to hit the sport since point shaving scandal six decades ago.
The assistants are among 10 people associated with the sport that have been charge with various felonies, including conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation of bribes, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, honest wire services fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and Travel Act conspiracy.
The maximum prison sentences for most of those charged are either 60, 80 or 200 years.
According to the nearly 200-page indictment announced by Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim on Tuesday, various hotel rooms and an unnamed restaurant were utilized in Sin City to discuss getting assistant coaches to work with sports management agents.
Their goal was to get players to sign with them after their collegiate careers were over, as well as working with them and Amateur Athletic Union personnel to give money to the families of youth players to assure they sign with certain universities.
FBI officials said that the information was obtained in March and July through a cooperating witness, two undercover agents posing as financial backers and wiretaps in meetings and phone calls between the managers and coaches.
Details of Meetings
The city hosts several NCAA conference tournaments and according to the report it was during the Pac 12 season-ending competition in March that Arizona assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson allegedly met with financial advisor Munish Sood to talk about funneling players to him in exchange for kickbacks. He was supposedly given $20,000.
In July the NBA Summer League and AAU Tournament descended on the Southern Nevada City and two incidents were detailed. The first involved AAU coach Jonathan Brad Augustine and an unnamed assistant coach at Louisville met in a Las Vegas hotel room to discuss paying a college player to attend the program.
Agent Christian Dawkins and Augustine and the assistant agreed to give money to a youth player’s family in exchange for him signing with the Cardinals and upon leaving the program signing with Dawkins and Adidas, the shoe company that has a sponsorship deal with the college and the AAU team.
“We’re all working to get this kid to (Louisville),” Dawkins said on the wiretap. “Obviously, in turn, the kid will come back to us.”
Fallout Quick, Severe
The four assistant coaches initially named in Tuesday’s press conference have faced swift discipline from their employers. Oklahoma’s Lamont Evans was fired Thursday. University of Arizona has started the process of firing Emanuel Richardson. Auburn’s Chuck Person has been suspended without pay and USC’s Tony Bland was suspended with pay.
The biggest name to surface so far has been Louisville Coach Rick Pitino. The 65-year-old was identified by an anonymous source as being the unnamed coach in the indictment. The school removed the 16-year coach on Wednesday and started the process of finding an interim replacement.
New York FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney said Tuesday the investigation is ongoing and more names could surface.