Former Penn coach, current Celtics assistant Jerome Allen hit one of most severe penalties in NCAA history

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The NCAA has hit former Penn coach and current Celtics assistant coach Jerome Allen with one of the longest show-cause penalties it has ever doled out — 15 years —  after it found he violated NCAA ethical conduct rules by accepting $250,000 from the father of a prospective player. Allen was Penn's head coach from 2009-2015 before joining the Boston Celtics. 

During his time coaching at Penn, the NCAA determined he "impermissibly accepted at least $250,000 from the father of a prospect to train, recruit and place the prospect on the recruited student-athlete list." In doing so, the NCAA enforcement found tryout and recruiting violations he committed while also failing to report the money accepted as athletically-related incoming during his employment at Penn.

Allen's show-cause penalty is the same length as the 15 years given to Phil Collins — a former UNC Greensboro assistant women's basketball coach who bet on sports, including the UNCG men's basketball team — for the longest in NCAA history. Former Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall and former Baylor coach Dave Bliss have the second-longest NCAA show-cause penalties on record among college basketball head coaches, each getting 10-year orders. 

A show-cause penalty means any school which hires someone under a show-cause order would go in front of the NCAA committee on infractions and could incur suspensions and penalties for making the hire.

Allen, who played at Penn from 1991-1995, has not denied his misdeeds since leaving the school that provided him the platform to coaching basketball. He pleaded guilty in 2018 to bribery-related money laundering, and as part of his plea deal, paid a $200,000 fine. He later testified, at a trial involving the largest Medicare fraud scheme in American history, that he was guilty of bribery, wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion.

His testimony was given as prosecutors pursued Philip Esformes, who provided Allen with the money in an effort to get his son, Morris Esformes, into the university. The elder Esformes was sentenced to 20 years in prison last fall for his role in the fraudulent Medicare scheme, and Allen was a key government witness.

On top of accepting bribery money, Allen also accepted thousands of dollars worth of hotel stays, private travel, and limo transportation, among other perks. In total, he received more than $200,000 in wire transfers and $75,000 in cash bribes.

"I accepted the money to help Morris Esformes get into the school," Allen testified last year, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. "I got his son into Penn; I got his son into Wharton. None of that would have happened without me."

As a result of Allen's actions, Penn is also facing penalties. The NCAA placed Penn on probation for two years, fined the program $5,000 and is restricting recruiting.

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