Yesterday news broke via ESPN that former Kentucky player Jarred Vanderbilt and current Cat Ashton Hagans were two of 19 players mentioned in a business plan Christian Dawkins proposed to his partners back in September 2017.
“According to the email, Dawkins planned to give Vanderbilt’s family $30,000 in travel expenses to watch him play for the Wildcats last season, plus his father was going to get a $25,000 signing bonus when his son turned pro.
“Brother Jamal and dad will also be a part of the deal, and receive 25% of our income on all sides,” Dawkins wrote.
Dawkins proposed giving Vanderbilt a $100,000 line of credit and $25,000 advance on his marketing revenue if he was projected as a lottery pick at the end of the 2017-18 season.”
“Dawkins also planned to recruit 2019 point guard prospect Ashton Hagans of Cartersville, Georgia, who reclassified to the 2018 class and is a freshman at Kentucky. According to the email, Dawkins wanted to pay Hagans $2,000 per month from October 2017 to October 2018, then $3,000 monthly through April 2020.”
Hagans’ father told Jerry Tipton that the Hagans family doesn’t know Christian Dawkins and “we never met this fool a day in our life.” Read more about that HERE.
UK head coach John Calipari was asked about the emails on Thursday and here’s what he had to say:
“The best thing about coaching here is you coach basketball. What you’re talking about, our administration and compliance are so thorough, doubly thorough, that I trust everything is fine. They get parents involved. I mean, they go to a point where it’s uncomfortable for me, you shouldn’t be having to do this. But then this.. you say, ‘Hey, I’m glad you guys do that.’”
UK Athletics announced that at this time that the eligibility hasn’t changed for any current or former students at this time.
I spoke with Hagans’ AAU coach, Chris Williams. Williams knew about Hagans’ recruitment as well as anyone outside of the family. He said there is no reason for concern regarding Hagans’ eligibility.
“Not at all,” he said in a text to KSR on Thursday. “There were no dealings with him whatsoever. Ashton has two hard working parents, no need to accept cash from strangers fro the game of basketball. Something (Ashton) grew up loving and doing for free.”
Williams said UK also isn’t concerned.
In my opinion based on the few people I’ve spoken with about these claims there is next to nothing to worry about with Hagans. Maybe Dawkins did have a plan to try and pay Hagans, but there is zero evidence that Hagans’ family was open to the plan or accepted any cash. From my understanding there is no chance that evidence surfaces because Dawkins’ plans never reached Hagans or his family. Hagans played on the adidas AAU circuit and has always been a star recruit (although originally part of the 2019 recruiting class), so it would make sense for Dawkins to be interested in him, but that doesn’t mean Dawkins ever paid him or had a relationship with the family.
Vanderbilt is slightly more worrisome because of the complexity of the plan. Here’s what one AAU source regarding Vanderbilt’s situation:
“You don’t know how tight of a circle the family had. Someone close to (Jarred) could have been talking with Dawkins working all of this out without the family knowing.”
According to Dawkins’ claims, Vanderbilt’s dad and brother were going to be a part of the deal. Vanderbilt’s dad didn’t return text messages to KSR.
Vanderbilt’s situation seems more complicated and more thought out, but the thing to remember is even if it’s true and even if Vanderbilt’s dad and brother were communicating with Dawkins there’s currently no evidence of that being the case and there’s certainly no evidence of anyone receiving payments from Dawkins. Those two things would need to be proven before UK could be on the hook with the NCAA.
But if evidence was ever provided the worst thing that could happen is UK vacating game from last season and possibly the entire season. A mediocre Sweet 16 performance. I’m interested what the NCAA ruling would be since Vanderbilt only played in 14 games during his UK career. There’s a chance UK would have to just vacate those 14 games that Vanderbilt played. The Cats were 7-7 in those games.
Kentucky would avoid any major penalties unless the staff was in the payments or tried to cover up Vanderbilt/Hagans eligibility concerns. Knowing how UK Compliance operates and Sandy Bell’s reputation, that’s not happening.
I can say that people close to UK are not worried about Hagans in the slightest and they didn’t seem too concerned about Vanderbilt, either. Had Dawkins not been arrested and these plans came to fruition this may be a different story, but these were plans that were stymied.
It seems safe to say that there’s no reason to panic and you should expect to see Hagans playing tomorrow night.