New York Federal Jury Again Finds Former Adidas Official and Business Manager Guilty Due to Bribery Roles in “Pay-for-Play” NCAA Scandal
On May 8, 2019, a New York federal jury convicted aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins and former shoe company basketball consultant Merl Code of conspiring to bribe assistant college basketball coaches.
Back in October 2018, another Manhattan federal jury convicted Dawkins and Code – along with former Adidas executive James Gatto – on conspiracy and fraud charges as a result of yet another trial coming out of this high-profile “pay-for-play” NCAA scandal. Following this conviction, Dawkins and Code were sentenced to six months in prison back in March – both are appealing their convictions from that trial.
At the outset of the present trial, Dawkins and Code were accused of facilitating bribes of thousands of dollars to three former assistant coaches: Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, and USC’s Tony Bland. Richardson, Evans, and Bland have all previously pleaded guilty to the federal conspiracy bribery charge.
Along with the convictions, Dawkins was found not guilty on two counts of defrauding Arizona, South Carolina, and Oklahoma State – these charges argued that the bribes had harmed the universities by opening the door for NCAA sanctions. In the end, Dawkins was convicted on two of six counts, while Code was convicted on just one of four counts. Per Dawkins, “[a]ny time you beat the federal government on seven of ten counts, that’s a win.”