Miami men's basketball program under FBI investigation, president acknowledges
No Hurricanes coaches have been charged yet, but this paints another bad picture of illicit recruiting
The president of the University of Miami (Fla.) acknowledged Wednesday evening that his men's basketball program is subject to an ongoing FBI investigation. Miami joins Auburn, Arizona, Louisville, Oklahoma State and USC as schools publicly connected to the unprecedented probe that has rocked college basketball.
Here is the statement from Julio Frenk, as posted by the University of Miami's official Twitter account.
The FBI's case does not specifically mention Miami nor any of its coaches, but the same is true of Louisville which, like Miami, publicly acknowledged it is subject to a federal investigation. On Tuesday, Louisville administrators put their Hall of Fame coach (Rick Pitino) and 20-year athletic director (Tom Jurich) on administrative leave with an apparent intent to fire once school laws allow for it.
In court documents, Miami reasonably appears to be so-called "University-7" with specific connections to an unidentified coach "Coach-3" and recruit "Player-12." University-7 is identified as a private university in Florida with approximately 16,000 students and one of the state's largest universities, among other details that match Miami's profile. There are accusations from the FBI that Jim Gatto, a prominent Adidas employee, was working with an assistant coach from University-7 in an effort to move $150,000 to the family of a high-profile 2018 prospect.
Miami coaches were one the road recruiting Tuesday morning when the news broke. They were immediately ordered to return to campus, a source told CBS Sports.
"The University of Miami is aware of the indictments handed down today by the Department of Justice involving several men's college basketball programs, coaches, financial advisors, agents and apparel executives," Miami athletic director Blake James said Tuesday. "As we are just learning the details, we cannot comment on the actions taken today by federal authorities. However, if requested, we will cooperate in any legal or NCAA review of the matter."
Documents from the federal government accuse Gatto and others, who've been charged in the case, to be in communication with at least one and possibly more than one coach at University-7. The coup was to land Player-12 in an effort to get said player to sign down the road with Adidas and align financial interests with Christian Dawkins, a former NBA agent. Dawkins has been charged in the case.
The FBI alleges payments were in the works to funnel money through the AAU team of Jonathan Brad Augustine, who was in charge of 1Family, a grassroots basketball organization. Proof of these conversations were captured via wiretapping, as the FBI was using undercover agents to expose bribery and fraud with multiple basketball coaches and outside parties.
Stuart Z. Grossman, the attorney for Miami coach Jim Larranaga, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Please be assured that our beloved coach is unaware of any impropriety on the part of UM basketball and does not know the identity of [the] unnamed, unidentified 'Coach-3.' He looks forward to leading the Hurricanes to continued success." Grossman also said Larranaga had "zero involvement" in the allegations put forth borne from the FBI's probe.
There is one call recorded, from mid-August, that includes a conversation between Gatto and Merl Code, an Adidas employee who recently left Nike. The two discuss a negotiation price of $150,000 for Player-12. Code is caught saying "If [University-4]'s willing to pay" a $150,000 price "then that's where the kid is going to go."
University-4 is widely understood to be the University of Arizona. Wildcats assistant Emanuel Richardson is one of the 10 men who have been charged in the case. A prominent recruit in the class of 2018 who has officially listed Miami and Arizona among his finalists: Nassir Little. Little also played for 1Family, Augustine's grassroots basketball team.
As of now, no one associated with the University of Miami has been charged.
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