Four NCAA Division I basketball coaches stand accused in connection with a corruption scandal that has rocked college sports.
Indictments were handed down for the first two defendants. Former NBA star Chuck “The Rifleman” Connors Person, suspended assistant head coach of Auburn University; and Rashan Michel, the owner of a clothing company and a former NCAA referee.
The indictments mirror the charges brought against the men in September after an FBI investigation caught multiple NCAA basketball programs in what is now being called one of the biggest corruption scandals to hit college sports. U.S. attorney Joon Kim called the corruption scheme the “dark underbelly of college basketball.”
The allegations revolve around bribes from major athletic brands and financial advisers. The top-division NCAA men’s coaches received kickbacks from agents, financial advisers, and execs in exchange for introducing their players to them.
As one example, Person is accused of accepting $91,500 from investment adviser Louis Martin Blazer III, who is a cooperating witness. Person, in turn, guided Auburn players to use his services.
Person and Michel were indicted by a Manhattan federal grand jury on six counts, including conspiracy and solicitation of bribes. They face up to 80 years in prison.
Person’s legal team says he did not commit a crime and they are “confident he will be vindicated at trial,” according to lawyer Theresa Trzaskoma.
The two men are among 10 charged in September by federal prosecutors. The FBI’s wide-ranging probe implicated coaches, managers, financial advisers and representatives of sportswear companies. Other coaches implicated in the scandal include Emanuel “Book” Richardson, an assistant coach at Arizona; Tony Bland, a USC assistant coach; and Lamont Evans, an assistant coach at Oklahoma State University.
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