Two Adidas employees charged with bribery and corruption
The Department of Justice on Tuesday announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested 10 people on charges of corruption and fraud in the NCAA. The FBI had been investigating the corruption complaints since 2015.
Those arrested on the charges include assistant coaches Anthony "Tony" Bland of USC, Chuck Connors Person of Auburn, Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State, and Emmanuel Richardson of Arizona, The League Initiative President Jonathan Brad Augustine and former sports agent Christian Dawkins. Jim Gatto, Adidas Director of Global Sports Marketing, is one of two employees at Adidas that have been arrested on corruption charges, as well as Merl Code, former Nike employee and Clemson alum.
The defendants are accused of conspiring to pay high school athletes to play at Adidas-sponsored universities, and Gatto is one of five people charged with bribing high school student athletes and their families.
According to the complaints, the defendants agreed to pay a player $150,000 through Adidas in order to persuade them to join a team sponsored by the athletic apparel company. The defendants are also accused of sending $100,000 to the family of a high school basketball player to persuade the student athlete to sign with a university in Kentucky.
A representative for Adidas emailed Business Insider saying, "Today, we became aware that federal investigators arrested an Adidas employee. We are learning more about the situation. We're unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with authorities to understand more."
The corruption scandal casts a dark cloud over Adidas, which just one week ago overtook Jordan Brand as the second most popular athletic footwear brand in the US.
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