Our focus is obviously on Louisville in the massive college basketball bribery scandal that broke this morning, but it’s worth noting that while the Cards are only hinted at in the documents as “University 6,” assistant coaches from Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and USC have been arrested for their involvement. Chuck Person from Auburn and Emanuel “Book” Richardson from Arizona are named defendants in the case and face federal charges of fraud and corruption, along with Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, who was also being investigated while on the staff at South Carolina.
While it’s just the assistants that are named, the scandal will have a huge impact on Auburn, Arizona, and maybe even South Carolina, so let’s break down what this could mean for one of our SEC brethren and recruiting rivals.
AUBURN: Chuck Person
According to the FBI affidavit, the former NBA star turned Auburn assistant head coach took $91,500 from a cooperating government witness to persuade two unnamed Auburn players to use the financial advising services of the witness and Rashan Michel, a former referee who runs a clothing business in Atlanta. Person would then take part of the bribes and pay off recruits’ families ($11,000 to one, $7,500 to another). Person allegedly told one player:
“The most important part is that you … don’t say nothing to anybody … don’t share with your sisters, don’t share with any of the teammates, that’s very important ’cause this is a violation …. of rules. But this is how the NBA players get it done.”
“They get early relationships, and they form partnerships, they form trust, you get to know [financial advisor], you get to know Rashan a lot and like Rashan can get you suits and stuff … you’ll start looking like an NBA ball player, that’s what you are.”
Per the affidavit, Person met with the witness and Michel in 2016 and accepted $50,000 in bribe money and encouraged the two advisors to “get involved” with the 9th ranked player in the country. Two months later, five-star center Austin Wiley enrolled at Auburn. Person also tried to convince players and their families to use the cooperating witness’ services by claiming Charles Barkley was one a client, which was false.
In today’s press conference, US Attorney Joon Kim used Person’s actions as an example of the “dark underbelly of college basketball world.” Less than an hour ago, Auburn announced that he has been suspended without pay.
ARIZONA: Emanuel “Book” Richardson
Meanwhile, Richardson allegedly took $20,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent, former NBA agent turned business manager Christian Dawkins, and financial advisor Munish Sood and gave some to a top recruit to convince him to come to Arizona (University-4). In return, he agreed to use his influence to pressure the recruit and other players he coached to use Dawkins and Sood’s services.
The recruit is never named in the affidavit, but reading between the lines, it’s clear it is five-star 2018 point guard Jahvon Quinerly. On or around June 20, 2017, Richardson and Dawkins had this discussion about the recruit (language NSFW):
On July 20:
Quiverly is from Jersey City. On August 11:
Quiverly committed to Arizona on August 8, three days prior to that exchange.
Current Arizona players are also mentioned as part of the scheme, although not by name. They’re listed as Player-6 and Player-7. I’m not going to list the roster, but Arizona’s got a few big-name guys this year…
Also of note: Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans was also arrested on similar charges and was being investigated while he was on the staff at South Carolina (University-2), so the Gamecocks are also involved. Again, language NSFW:
While at South Carolina, Evans recruited Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier. Oh boy.