On Tuesday, the FBI released a complaint against several schools and individuals regarding bribery, corruption, and wire fraud in connection to College Basketball recruiting. While not named overtly in the complaint, the overwhelming thought is “University-7” is the University of Miami.
Here’s our piece from yesterday, which includes the released complaint, the descriptor of “University-7”, and two subsequent updates relevant to the University of Miami.
After having a day to read over things, and see other reports on this topic, let’s translate the information into plain English, and put things in order.
For accuracy and clarity, I will be quoting heavily from the released complaint. I will make clear when I’m offering commentary.
Is “University-7” Miami?
Here is the description of “University-7” from the FBI release:
Private School. 16,000 students (across all campuses and programs). More than 2,600 faculty. Approximately 15 Varsity Sports (UM’s Athletics website lists 16 varsity sports). Private school with Division 1 athletics.
Yeah, that’s Miami.
Who is named in the complaint?
The Louisville Courier-Journal did a great job with their timeline piece. Here is what they said regarding the named individuals in the released complaint:
In the Louisville complaint in particular, the FBI named James Gatto, Merl Code, Christian Dawkins, Brad Augustine and Munish Sood.
Gatto, who the complaint said worked for "Company-1," is the head of global sports marketing for basketball at adidas. Per the complaint, Code is also “affiliated with Company-1 (presumed to be adidas) and its high school and college basketball programs." Dawkins was an employee of a sports management company based in New Jersey, and the complaint alleges that he sought the future business of several highly touted basketball recruits. Augustine is the program director for an AAU team. Sood is the founder of an investment services company.
While Sood is mentioned in the University-6 (Louisville) section, his name is absent from the University-7 (Miami) section.
So, Gatto (adidas exec), Code (adidas exec), Dawkins (sports management company) and Augustine (Orlando-based 1Family AAU team) are the named individuals in the Miami complaint.
What is alleged to have happened?
It’s important to know what is alleged against Louisville (from the C-J link above) because at several places in the Miami portion of the complaint, the above-named individuals make references to repeating what was done with “University-6”. So, they’re bringing back the same playbook to the alleged Miami interaction that they used in the alleged Louisville interaction.
In short, it is alleged that a “University-7” (Miami) coach “Coach-3” communicated with Gatto and Code from “Company-1” (adidas) to facilitate payment of $150,000 to a HS recruit “Player-12” in order to get him to commit to “University-7” (Miami). Dawkins spoke with Code regarding this arrangment. Augustine spoke with Code because “Player-12” is associated with the AAU team run by Augustine.
Here’s the timeline:
July 2017-September 2017 — Gatto, Code, Dawkins, and Augustine allegedly conspired to funnel approximately $150,000 from “Company-1” (adidas) to “Player-12”, a top high school basketball player expected to graduate in 2018 (we’ll get to that) to assist one or more coaches from “University-7” (Miami) to ensure that “Player-12” would commit to play at “University-7” (Miami) AND furthermore ensure that “Player-12” would sign with Dawkins’ sports management company and “Company-1” (adidas) upon entering the pros.
Moreover, since “Company-1” (adidas) could not make the payments to “Player-12” or his family directly, Gatto, Code, Dawkins, and Augustine conspired to conceal the payments by funneling them through Code, Dawkins, and Augustine, as well as an amateur (AAU) basketball team controlled by Augustine.
August 9, 2017 — Code and Dawkins on a phone call (that was tapped by FBI warrant) discussed paying “Player-12” and/or his family at the request of at least one coach (“coach-3”) at Miami (“University-7”).
On the call, Dawkins told Code that, according to Augustine (the AAU coach), “Coach-3 knows everything” and they would start the process of funneling money to “player-12” to get him to commit to “University-7” (Miami) upon his high school graduation in 2018.
With respect to the need to funnel money to “Player-12”, Dawkins told Code that “Coach-3” “knows something gotta happen for it to get done” (‘it’ being Player-12 committing to University-7). Code replied he had just left Gatto a message regarding the payment.
August 11, 2017 — Gatto and Code spoke twice on the phone regarding the payment outlined in the previous conversation between Code and Dawkins (see above).
During those calls, among other things, Gatto and Code discussed “Coach-3’s” request to Gatto that “Company-1” (adidas) pay $150,000 to “Player-12” in order to prevent “Player-12” from committing to attend another NCAA Division 1 university sponsored by a rival athletic apparel company. The rival university had allegedly offered “Player-12” a substantial sum of money to commit to their institution.
Call 1 — Code and Gatto discussed funneling payments from “Company-1” (adidas) to “Player-12” in order to influence his decision to attend “University-7” (Miami), a school sponsored by “Company-1” (adidas). In particular, on the recorded call, Code informed Gatto that they had “another “University-6 (Louisville) situation”. Code added “except it’s with “University-7” (Miami) this time.”
- This is referring to the scheme allegedly used by Louisville to recruit Brian Bowen, as per multiple reports and outlined in the Courier-Journal link I provided above.
Returning to the call, Gatto asked Code if “University-7” was “hot”, to which Code replied “University-7 (Miami) wants this kid named “Player-12”.” Gatto confirmed that he already knew about “University-7’s” request for “Player-12”, and told Code that he had spoken to “Coach-3” who had “just asked about the kid and then he said supposedly the kid was having a meeting with” an unnamed senior executive at a “Company-1” (adidas) sponsored program geared toward high school amateur athletes that occurred between August 3 and August 7, 2017.
- The adidas-sponsored event in question was likely an AAU tournament. After checking the adidas uprising website, adidas Nation’s Global select AAU event was held in Houston, TX on August 3 through August 7, 2017.
Call 2, part 1 — Code discussed with Gatto the involvement of Dawkins and Augustine in the scheme to facilitate payments to “Player-12” in order to secure “Player-12’s” commitment to attend “University-7” (Miami). Code explained that another Division 1 university “University-4” (yet unknown what school this is) was offering “Player-12” $150,000. Code stated “and we’re trying to keep him from going to one of their (rival apparel company’s) schools”.
Code further went on to tell Gatto that Dawkins and Augustine had asked Code if Gatto “would be able to keep him at “University-7” because they really want the kid.” Gatto confirmed that “Player-12” would be a rising senior in high school, and Code assured Gatto that the payments need not be “all in one lump sum. I can make it work...” Code went on to tell Gatto that the situation was “not one of those where I need an answer today. You know what I’m saying? I just wanted to put it on your plate.”
Call 2, part 2 — Still on call 2, Gatto asked whether “Company-1” (adidas) would “have to match the “University-4” (unknown school) deal?” Gatto went on to ask if the payments could be pushed to 2018, saying “if I have to pay it out in ‘18, that’s fine”, but “I just don’t know if I, I just don’t know if I can’ do anything in ‘17 that’s what I’m saying”.
Referring back to the “University-6” (Louisville) scheme involving “Player-10” (thought to be Brian Bowen), Gatto told Code that he should “try to get it to, what did we do with “Player-10”, a 100”, which the FBI believes to represent a $100,000 payment to “Player-10”. Code replied that he was not sure “they’ll take that much less if I can take it down at least twenty five” (25 likely representing a $25,000 reduction in payment to “Player-12”), to which Gatto replied “alright, well let’s just see.”
August 12, 2017 — A phone call between Code and Dawkins is recorded by the FBI wiretap. On this call, Code relayed to Dawkins the substance of the August 11th calls between Code and Gatto regarding payments by “Company-1” (adidas) to “Player-12”, including Gatto’s request that Code negotiate the $150,00 asking price set by “Player-12”. According to Code, however, if “University-4” (unknown school) was willing to pay the full $150,000 “then that’s where the kid is going to go.”
Referring to Gatto’s statement about not having sufficient funds to pay “Player-12” in 2017, Code stated if “Company-1” (adidas) waited until January 2018 to commit to a payment amount “by that point that number might be 200” indicating $200,000. Code added that “Company-1” (adidas) “won’t play if it’s. . . at that level, we won’t play.”
Dawkins asked what would be the highest payment that Gatto and “Company-1” (adidas) would agree to, to which Code replied “I think they do 150 [$150,000] if, if “Coach-3” stayed on it.”
August 19, 2017 — A phone call between Code and Augustine is recorded by the FBI wiretap. On this call, Code informed Augustine that he would do what was necessary “to make sure that we secure ... the kid” but that “budget-wise, everything was kind of strapped for ‘17 . . . so ‘18 puts us in a better place to have that conversation.”
- This is less substantive than the other recorded phone calls as far as content, but still important. This connects Code to Augustine, who runs a premier AAU program — 1Family — with top players. A little bit of “connect the dots” but it matters.
Who is “Player-12”?
The obvious question here is, if there is a scheme to pay a player to go to a school, then who is the player?
Several people were quick to jump the gun on this yesterday, and I repeatedly cautioned them against such things. Most of the names thrown out to me on Twitter yesterday are wrong, based upon the information available, and a couple different reports.
The big piece of information here is that Brad Augustine coaches the 1Family AAU team. This Orlando-based team has some elite talent on its roster, and has for years. Additionally, this team is sponsored by adidas, so the connection continues.
Getting to the heart of the question, the identity of “Player-12” is likely 5-star wing Nassir Little. He is a current high school senior, with a graduation date in 2018, and plays on Florida 1. Additionally, Little participated in the adidas nations global event on August 3-7, 2017 in Houston, TX. This timeline matches up with “Player-12” having a conversation with a “Company-1” (adidas) executive at a “Company-1” (adidas) sponsored event geared toward high school amateur athletes on the dates listed from the released complaint.
Listed by all recruiting services as a top-15 player in the class of 2018, Little is the kind of elite talent that could demand a payment in the range of $150,000.
Miami, along with North Carolina, Arizona (which had an assistant coach arrested in connection to this FBI investigation), and Duke are among the teams most heavily recruiting Little.
Now, if we extend things out, and assuming “Player-12” is indeed Little, all three of the schools listed that Miami is competing with for Little’s commitment are sponsored by Nike. (North Carolina is sponsored by Jordan Brand, which is a subsidiary of Nike, so it falls under the same umbrella). So, it is possible that one of those schools is “University-4” with the competing monetary offer of $150,000 for Little.
UPDATE: according to our Arizona Wildcats SBNation sister-site, in their multiple pieces on the Arizona connection to this FBI probe, they have found through similar deduction as we used for the “University-7” part above that Arizona is indeed “University-4”.
As seen by our intrepid contributor Josh White on Tuesday, Little tweeted and quickly deleted a tweet stating he would be opening his recruitment.
Nassir Little, No. 14 in class of 2018, announced he re-opened his commitment few moments ago. However, that tweet has since been deleted. pic.twitter.com/AiTviM30lh— Josh White (@_JoshRWhite) September 26, 2017
Adding intrigue to the situation: Little is scheduled to take an Official Visit to Coral Gables this weekend. He had to reschedule his OV from earlier (September 16th) because of Hurricane Irma. It will be interesting to see if Little makes his scheduled visit to Coral Gables or not.
That should give you a clear idea of the particulars of what is alleged, by whom, and when regarding “University-7”, which is the University of Miami.
There will be more on this in the coming days and weeks. We’ll have updates and information when appropriate.