Among the bombshells that have been dropped in federal court in New York this week, where three defendants – including an aspiring agent (and agent runner) Christian Dawkins – are charged with wire fraud and other felonies in the pursuit of high school and college basketball players, the mention of Collin Sexton’s name was probably medium on the explosiveness scale.
Sexton, who played for the University of Alabama last season, earning All-SEC honors before declaring for the NBA Draft, seemed likely to come up at the trials, many of which involve shoe company money from Nike and Adidas. It had come up last fall in connection with a meeting that Sexton’s family had with Rashan Michel, a co-defendant with Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person, who is awaiting trial next February.
The information that was revealed Thursday came from Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, who more or less owns this story and has been in the New York courtroom from the outset. In Wednesday, Wetzel reported this:
“Among revelations in court this afternoon, documents suggesting Christian Dawkins paid $5,000 to Collin Sexton and another calling for $1,500 per month to Sexton, $21,000 for travel for his family and a four-year job for his brother ($35,000 per year, with $5,000 annual raise).”
There was no follow-up regarding Sexton, who was one of several players mentioned. There is no way to review the documents while the trial is ongoing, so the jury will have to decide the veracity of the payment. There was no way to tell if “calling for” the other money meant that any payment was ever made, or if it was just a suggestion in an attempt to woo a player who eventually signed an NBA contract worth $20.2 million over the next four years. If those are good years, who knows what his next contract would be?
There was no direct mention of Alabama, which investigated Sexton prior to last season, in Wetzel’s report. Alabama officials had no comment on the report from Wetzel, which was to be expected at this point. Frankly, few institutions are commenting because no one knows what is true or false in a criminal trial, no one knows what action, if any, the NCAA is going to take if 40 or 50 schools are implicated and, ultimately, no one seems sure whether the actions are in fact criminal.
Could there be NCAA ramifications for Alabama? It’s possible. It’s also possible that there is no connection between Alabama and Dawkins at all. Guessing what the NCAA will do is difficult in routine cases and these trials are of a huge and unprecedented nature. One has to assume that Alabama knew of Sexton’s high profile and was diligent in its compliance efforts during and after his recruitment. If the institution was neglectful, then perhaps there is an issue but there’s no way to know yet.
That’s the same situation — or perhaps a less drastic situation — as a laundry list of schools. Jurors were told that schools that could be mentioned included Arizona, Louisville, NC State, Miami, LSU, Oregon, DePaul, Creighton, Texas, Oklahoma State and USC. Players from Texas A&M (Robert Williams) and Mississippi State (Lamar Peters) were mentioned on Wednesday. That’s just this trial and there are, barring plea deals, more to come.
Sexton is a big name. That draws attention. Will it also draw problems? It’s far too early to tell.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225