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…
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NCAA Head Coaches Sean Miller and Will Wade Likely Won’t Testify in Upcoming Federal Basketball Corruption Trial

On April 19, 2019, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that two high profile NCAA men’s basketball coaches, accused of corrupt recruiting practices, are not likely to testify in an upcoming federal corruption trial. As we have previously reported, in February 2019, reports began circulating that Sean Miller, head coach at the University of Arizona, and Will Wade, head coach at Louisiana State University, were subpoenaed to testify in an upcoming trail. The trial focuses on alleged bribes paid to assistant coaches at Arizona,…
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Former Athletes Say NCAA “Hiding the Ball” and Engaging in “Trial by Ambush”

On April 4, 2018 the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider discussed an ongoing lawsuit that was brought by a class of former college athletes seeking to lift the cap on student athlete compensation under NCAA rules. The case is being tried by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, who previously ruled in favor of student athletes on antitrust claims against the NCAA in O’Bannon. In March 2018, Judge Wilken denied the NCAA’s motion for summary judgment and sent the current case to trial. With trial…
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Kawhi Leonard’s Former Agent Sues Former Employer

Brian Elfus, a veteran sports agent, represented college basketball standout Kawhi Leonard as he transitioned from San Diego State to the NBA. Elfus is now suing his former boss Mitchell Frankel and his former employer Impact Sports Basketball, Impact, JS Sports Funding LLC, and J&J Sports Agency MM LLC (defendants), for wrongful deprivation of agent fees, which included the agent fees derived from Leonard as well as other professional basketball players and coaches. According to the complaint, “Elfus generated over [$5 million] in commissions…
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Rick Pitino Shoots Back at Adidas’ Motion to Dismiss Emotional Distress Suit

Dribbling around the allegations connecting him to a bribery scandal, former University of Louisville men’s basketball coach, Rick Pitino, fought back against Adidas’ arguments to toss his claim alleging emotional distress. Adidas filed a motion at the end of November to either dismiss the case for failure to state a claim or stay it in favor of mandatory arbitration because of a provision in a contract between Pitino and Adidas. Pitino, in response, argued the product endorsement contract with Adidas does not apply to…
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Eight People Indicted in NCAA Bribery Scandal

A series of indictments unsealed on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 reveal more of the iceberg of the dark underbelly of college basketball. The scandal was publicized in September when ten individuals were arrested. The new indictments named Adidas executive Jim Gatto, sports agent Christian Dawkins, Auburn University associate head coach Chuck Person, Oklahoma State University assistant coach Lamont Evans, University of Arizona assistant coach Emanuel Richardson, University of Southern California assistant coach Anthony Bland, former Adidas adviser Merl Code and former NCAA referee Rashan Michel.…
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Bribery Scandal Rocks the NCAA

Federal investigators in New York arrested ten individuals and then publicized three complaints on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 that depict a thriving black market for teenage athletes and “the dark underbelly of college basketball.” The covert probe began in 2015, when a fallen financial adviser agreed to wear a wire for the FBI. Calls and meetings were wiretapped, and coaches unknowingly talked to undercover agents posing as financial advisors. One scheme involved four NCAA assistant basketball coaches at schools in the “Power 5” conferences of…
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UNC Attempts to Block NCAA’s Latest Allegations Over “Sham” Classes

On Friday, May 26, 2017, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill made public their response to the NCAA’s third, and latest, NCAA notice of allegation of sham course for athletes. Their response included that the classes in question were available to all students and any irregularities were academic in nature and not subject to NCAA enforcement. The NCAA’s latest notice of allegations were filed at the close of 2016, and accused UNC of providing improper extra benefits to student-athletes so that they could remain eligible…
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As March Madness Looms, NCAA Opens Another Violation Investigation into UNC Academic Practices

Just when the University of North Carolina thought it was past the rounds of sanctions centering on academic integrity issues, the NCAA filed a third “Notice of Allegations” as 2016 came to a close. In the most recent notice, the NCAA alleged that the university provided improper extra benefits to student-athletes so that they could remain eligible for athletic competition. The notice goes on to allege that members of the men’s basketball and football programs received improper benefits, restoring a reference to the university’s premier…
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Are March Madness Office Pools Legal?

Brace yourselves, employers: March Madness is upon us. Thursday, March 20, is the first full day of the 2014 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Division I Basketball Championship Tournament games, and the tourney does not conclude until the Championship Game on Monday, April 7, in Arlington, Texas. During the tournament’s three weeks, the United States economy will lose an estimated $1.2 billion in productivity as employees watch early round games, participate in office pools, and discuss the outcomes with co-workers. (Fantasy sports activity in…
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