He had worked for years as a runner

Is the FBI cleaning up college basketball or wasting its time

cheap air jordan One morning late last August, Miami men’s basketball coach Jim Larranaga was about to board a flight to North Carolina for a recruiting trip when he got a phone call from his wife. cheap air jordan

cheap jordans for sale Two FBI agents were at the house, Liz Larranaga told her husband. She then handed the phone to one of the agents, who asked Jim to remain at the airport until they reached him. cheap Air max shoes cheap jordans for sale

One month later, at a news conference in New York City, a federal prosecutor and a top FBI official touted the results of an ongoing investigation into the black market surrounding college basketball.

cheap nike shoes A “high level” Adidas executive had arranged six figure payments for the families of high school recruits, prosecutors alleged, cheap jordans online at the behest of coaches at Miami and Louisville. Assistant coaches at Auburn, Oklahoma State, Arizona and Southern California had all taken money from a financial adviser and an aspiring NBA agent, according to criminal complaints, and agreed to steer college stars their way. cheap nike shoes

Ten teams of FBI agents made arrests in 10 states that week, according to court records and people familiar with the investigation, while an 11th group of agents raided the New Jersey office of prominent NBA agent Andy Miller.

cheap jordans online “All of those charged today contributed to a cheap jordans sale pay to play culture that has no cheap jordans for sale business in college basketball,” said Bill Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office. “Today’s arrests should serve as a warning to others. We have your playbook.” cheap jordans online

Five months later, with the NCAA’s premier event and moneymaker the men’s basketball tournament about to tip off, the sport remains in turmoil. The FBI probe continues, threatening to tarnish legacies, end careers and send coaches and shoe company officials to prison.

cheap jordan sneakers But what that menacing cloud will amount to remains unclear. So far, the three plus year federal inquiry has resulted in the arrests of mostly low level figures in the college sports black market, and the criminal charges they face stem from NCAA rules many economists deem quaint and outmoded, if not exploitative. cheap jordan sneakers

While criminal complaints allege coaches at Louisville and Miami later identified as Rick Pitino and Larranaga arranged bribes for recruits, neither has been charged with a crime. Nor has Miller, cheap jordans from china the NBA agent whose office was raided.

cheap yeezys The Adidas executive the investigation ensnared Jim Gatto, director of global sports marketing occupies a more modest station in life than prosecutors have suggested, according to Gatto’s lawyers. Gatto, 47, made $139,000 last year and lives in a home outside Portland, Oregon, valued at about $500,000, with two children and his wife, who works as a sales associate at an Ann Taylor retail outlet. cheap yeezys

cheap jordans sale “This is like Enron, except if they only charged the secretaries,” said Steve Haney, attorney for defendant Christian Dawkins, a former assistant to Miller. cheap jordans sale

cheap cheap nike shoes jordans shoes The charges at the core of these cases are based on an unusual legal theory that casts universities who stood to benefit from recruits playing for wildly profitable basketball teams as victims of fraud. What prosecutors call bribes, legal experts note, would be considered signing bonuses and referral fees in other industries. The payments are illicit only because the NCAA prohibits amateur athletes from making money from their talents and bars coaches from facilitating, and profiting from, meetings between agents and athletes. cheap jordans shoes

“If you take away the NCAA rules, there’s no criminal case here,” said Randall Eliason, a former federal prosecutor and law professor at George Washington University. “There are some legitimate questions about whether this was a wise use of resources.”

cheap jordans in china Pitino, fired by Louisville in October, adamantly maintains he has never arranged payments for recruits. So has Larranaga, who spoke with FBI agents for several hours last August and has turned over reams of emails and phone records, along with those of his assistants, in an effort to clear his name, according to his attorney, Stuart Grossman. cheap jordans in china

cheap jordans from china “We’re baffled,” said Grossman, who provided the account of the coach’s experience last August. Attorney’s Office of the Southern cheap jordans on sale District of New York declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the FBI’s New York office. NCAA President Mark Emmert in statements has deplored allegations described in criminal complaints, and cheap jordan sneakers he created a committee, chaired by former Secretary cheap jordans china of State Condoleezza Rice, to explore changes to rules governing college basketball. cheap jordans from china

cheap Air max shoes Unless that committee recommends changes to the NCAA’s core tenet of amateurism, however, economists believe the black market will remain. cheap Air max shoes

“The real sin here are the NCAA rules that encourage people to engage in conduct that the FBI has decided is criminal,” said Andy Schwarz, an economist who has consulted for athletes who have sued the NCAA. “This case is the weight and resources of the federal government coming in nikefacebook and cheap jordans in china bolstering NCAA rules. People should be scandalized by that.”

cheap jordans on sale Late last July, Adidas’s three striped logo blanketed Las Vegas, appearing on banners hung from local gym rafters and on jerseys, shoes and gear worn by hundreds of teens in town for the annual summer championships of the company’s grass roots basketball leagues. cheap jordans on sale

Christian Dawkins was there, too, trying to make connections with high school stars.

Cheap jordans A 24 year old Saginaw, Michigan, native, Dawkins grew up around the game. His father, Lou Dawkins, won two state titles as the high school coach of future Michigan State and Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green before moving to the collegiate ranks. His younger brother, Dorian, was considered one of the more promising 14 year cheap air jordan old players in the state when he collapsed during a game in 2009. Dorian had suffered a heart attack, caused by a rare birth defect. Both Green and Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo, a family friend, visited the hospital where Dorian died. Cheap jordans

cheap air force Christian Dawkins was trying to carve out a living on the game’s business side. He had worked for years as a runner, an entry level job that involves helping sports agents build relationships with professional prospects in high school and college, when NCAA rules bar basketball players from contact with agents. cheap air force

cheap jordans china Dawkins recently had decided to strike out on his own, and was in Las Vegas trying to land future clients for a sports agency he was starting, with the help of an investor from Pittsburgh. The sports agent industry is difficult to crack, and Dawkins faced challenges establishing credibility. He cheap yeezys had no formal education after high school, and he’d just lost his job as a runner for agent Miller after he’d been caught charging thousands of dollars cheap jordans shoes in Uber rides to a client’s credit card. cheap jordans china

As Dawkins walked into a suite in a Las Vegas hotel for a business meeting, however, he was unaware of a more serious threat to his aspirations: He was the target of an FBI investigation. His phone had been under wiretapped surveillance for months, and the suite was wired with recording devices and video cameras. The Pittsburgh man posing as an investor financial adviser Marty Blazer was actually an informant, helping the FBI to avoid criminal charges of cheap jordans on sale his own, including identity theft and fraud, court records show.

cheap adidas Also in the room, according to an FBI agent’s account in a criminal complaint: an cheap adidas assistant coach for Louisville and the program director of a Florida travel basketball team who had a player the coach wanted. cheap adidas

As FBI agents listened, Dawkins explained cheap air force his plan: With financial assistance from Adidas, Dawkins would pay the Florida team director, who would get money to the player’s mother. The player would commit to Louisville, helping one of Adidas’s premier college basketball teams win, and if the player went pro as they expected, he would hire Dawkins as an agent.

“We’re all working together to get this kid to Louisville. And, in turn, the kid will come back to us,” Dawkins said, a complaint alleges.

cheap jordans free shipping Later in the meeting, according to the FBI agent, Dawkins discussed a similar deal he had brokered months before, involving Brian Bowen, a five star recruit, also from Saginaw cheap jordans free shipping.

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