College basketball scandal: Here are the latest developments at the University of Louisville
The University of Louisville is caught up in a major FBI investigation revealed Sept. 26 that has rattled the college basketball world. Here are some key points:
What are the basics?
In a stunning criminal complaint, at least 10 people, including four assistant men’s college basketball coaches and apparel company senior executives, are facing federal bribery, fraud and other corruption charges related to paying the families of NCAA recruits to attend specific schools.
University of Louisville interim President Greg Postel confirmed Sept. 26 that the school is part of the investigation. Basketball coach Rick Pitino has been put on leave and athletics director Tom Jurich has been put on paid leave, Postel announced on Sept. 27.
Both Pitino and Jurich have denied any wrongdoing.
Assistant coaches Kenny Johnson and Jordan Fair were put on leave Oct. 6. Neither coach has commented publicly. Lawyers for both men have declined to comment.
More coverage on the U of L scandal
Who are the coaches and the apparel company officials?
The people named across the three separate complaints are Chuck Person, an assistant coach at Auburn; Lamont Evans, an assistant at Oklahoma State; Emanuel Richardson, an assistant at Arizona; and Tony Bland, an assistant at the University of Southern California.
It also names James Gatto, who is only identified as the head of global sports marketing with a sports company. Gatto works for Adidas, according to his professional profile pages.
Auburn has suspended Person, who played for the Indiana Pacers, without pay and effective immediately. And Arizona announced Richardson was also immediately suspended, "and relieved of all duties."
Gatto has been placed on leave, according to Adidas spokeswoman Maria Culp. She said, "We became aware today of the allegations and intend to cooperate with the relevant authorities."
What about Coach Rick Pitino?
Attorney Steve Pence, who is representing Pitino, told the Courier-Journal that the Hall of Fame coach was "effectively fired" when he was placed on leave, and the coach said that he expects to be vindicated.
"Right now it's in the lawyers' hands," Pitino said.
The coach said he is in Miami and will sell his home in Louisville, which went on the market on Oct. 12. "I'm not doing anything but laying low," he told the Courier-Journal.
Pitino’s contract calls for him to be given 10 days' notice if he is to be fired for cause and to be given a chance to respond.
The University of Louisville Athletic Association voted Oct. 2 to proceed with Pitino's termination. In an Oct. 3 letter, Postel admonished Pitino on several matters, including the coach's failure to notify university officials that Christian Dawkins — a sports agent who was arrested as part of a college basketball fraud case — visited the school's campus in late May.
Postel also ripped Pitino for other dramas that have overshadowed the men's basketball program.
"Your involvement in these recent scandals cannot be considered isolated events. Instead, they are illustrative of a pattern and practice of inappropriate behavior," Postel said. "The charges will be considered in the context of your full employment history with the University of Louisville Athletic Association."
The University of Louisville Athletic Association fired Pitino at its meeting on Oct. 16.
What about athletic director Tom Jurich?
The guru of Louisville sports met with Postel briefly on Sept. 27, and Postel later announced that Jurich was being placed on paid administrative leave.
Jurich's supporters include major U of L donors, and some have launched a change.org petition to block his firing. They insist he had "nothing to do with anything" related to the college basketball scandal.
Who is running the U of L athletics department now?
That would be Vince Tyra, a 51-year-old Louisville businessman. He is also a former University of Kentucky baseball player and current member of the University of Louisville Foundation's board.
Tyra works as the operating partner of Southfield Capital, a Connecticut-based private equity firm, according to his LinkedIn page. He is also part owner of Louisville City FC, the city's professional soccer team.
Who is coaching the team?
Assistant coach David Padgett was named interim head coach on Oct. 7, two days before the start of preseason practice. He played for Pitino from 2005 to 2008 and played professionally overseas before entering coaching.
Padgett has assured fans that he is not targeted in the FBI probe. Padgett said his reason for accepting this role had to do with Louisville's players.
Of the decision, Pitino said, "I love David Padgett like a son."
Postel has told the media that Padgett is not implicated in the FBI investigation.
Who is Player 10?
The U.S. attorney’s complaint says "Player 10" on or about June 3 committed to "University 6," which has been identified as Louisville.
According to the complaint, “Player 10” came to “University 6” in return for Gatto, his company and others working to funnel $100,000 to the player's family and in return for the player signing with Gatto’s company once he made it to the NBA.
Bowen has been suspended and is barred from the team's practices and workouts. He has hired an attorney in an effort to gain reinstatement.
Who is Player 11?
A second basketball player, identified only as "Player 11" was described as a 2019 recruit for "University 6." His family was to receive monthly payments.
Are any U of L coaches indicted?
The U.S. attorney’s criminal complaint doesn’t name any U of L personnel directly. It does, however, note that “others known and unknown, including basketball coaches employed by University 6” participated in the scheme to defraud, by telephone, email and wire transfers of funds.
It highlights two coaches from “University 6,” identified only as "Coach 1” and “Coach 2.”
The charges say “Coach 1” is on an FBI video recording inside of a Las Vegas hotel room.
According to the complaint, that person, who is identified as an assistant coach, agreed that "University 6" was already on probation with the NCAA. It goes on to say that the assistant coach also agreed that they needed to be particularly careful with how they passed money to "Player 11."
"Coach 1" said, "we gotta be very low key.” According to the complaint, "Coach 1" also describes another University 6 coach as so influential “that all (Coach 2 has to do) is pick up the phone and call somebody, (and say) these are my guys, they're taking care of us."
A spokeswoman with the U.S. attorney's office in New York declined to say whether the apparent Louisville coach will be charged and whether they’ve arrested any of the coaches.
What's the status of the Louisville assistant coaches?
Assistant coaches Kenny Johnson and Jordan Fair were suspended on Oct. 6.
Five days later the school announced it had "parted ways" with Fair citing a clause in his contract that allows the athletic director to fire him without cause. He earned an annual salary of $200,000 along with a $6,000 car allowance plus four men's basketball season tickets. Fair's final day will be Nov. 10.
Johnson remains on suspension.
The University of Louisville revealed on Oct. 12 that it is conducting its own investigation into the role the assistant coaches played in the college basketball scandal.
In the meantime, director of basketball operations Michael Bowden, video coordinator Logan Baumann and graduate assistant RJ Evans were given temporary assistant coaching roles.
In the past two weeks, Padgett hired former LSU coach Trent Johnson and former Duke Point guard and Ohio State assistant coach Greg Paulus as full-time assistant coaches. He also promoted R.J. Evans, a program assistant, to acting assistant coach.
Who is Coach 2?
Pitino is "Coach 2" described in the FBI's investigation of bribery in college basketball, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the matter who requested anonymity because the official was not authorized to comment publicly.
When asked if he is "Coach 2" on Oct. 1, Pitino said it "doesn't matter if I am or not."
The FBI complaint says a defendant — Christian Dawkins, who works at a New Jersey-based sports management company — said he talked to "Coach 2" and told him, "I need you to call Jim Gatto."
An FBI agent said in a sworn affidavit that a review of phone records shows that on May 27, Gatto had two conversations tied to a phone number used by "Coach 2." The complaint says on June 1, Gatto had a third conversation tied to the same number.
Pitino also said he was discussing former Louisville player Terry Rozier's sponsorship deal with Adidas in phone calls with Gatto. Rozier plays for the Boston Celtics.
U of L president, board chair are angry
"The allegations are serious,” Postel said during a press conference the day after the scandal broke. “It is vital for this university to strictly adhere to NCAA rules and, of course, federal law. Doing nothing would be a tacit endorsement of potential criminal and unethical behavior."
Postel said school officials have contacted the NCAA about the investigation and that he believes the FBI has been on campus to interview people.
"When something like this happens it makes me angry that we have more work to do. It's another stumbling block," he said. "So yes, I'm angry about it."
J. David Grissom, who is chairman of the university's board of trustees also described his shock. "I told my wife, you can't make this up," he said. "It's not a happy day for the university."
Reporter Phillip M. Bailey can be reached at 502-582-4475- or email@example.com.