College Basketball-Fraud Charges

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim, second from right, and FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney, Jr., right, hold a press conference to announce the arrest of four assistant basketball coaches from Arizona, Auburn, the University of Southern California and Oklahoma State on federal corruption charges, Tuesday Sept. 26, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Bebeto Matthews / The Associated Press
+1 

A graphic used by acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim is displayed during a press conference, help to outline federal corruption charges in the arrest of four assistant basketball coaches from Arizona, Auburn, the University of Southern California and Oklahoma State, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in New York. 

There's little doubt the federal complaint against Book Richardson could have potentially seismic implications for the Arizona Wildcats.

Here's one look at them:

• Jahvon Quinerly is unlikely to play for Arizona, and may not play college ball at all. Quinerly appears to be the player given money from agents through Richardson and if the NCAA finds he took it, Quinerly could be suspended for part or all of his freshman season (though it may be more likely at this point he doesn't play college ball at all, and just plays professionally overseas before joining the 2019 NBA Draft).

How do we know it's Quinerly? The document reported that Richardson took a total of $20,000 in bribes and gave most of it to a "top point guard" who committed “around three days” before Aug. 11. Quinerly, a five-star point guard, announced on ESPNU on Aug. 8 that he would play for to Arizona.

• The rest of UA's recruiting class could dissolve. Brandon Williams and Shareef O'Neal may not want to take chances signing with a program that could be under NCAA investigation.

• UA coach Sean Miller's status could be affected. While Miller isn’t implicated in any wrongdoing on the federal complaint, the U.S. attorney at Tuesday’s press conference stated that it is a continuing investigation. Obviously, any subsequent NCAA investigation will seek to find out if Miller was involved or had knowledge of it, too.

• Current UA players could be declared ineligible if they were found to have taken money from an agent. There is a reference in the document to a current player already having taken payments.

While Richardson spoke of directing two current players to the agent, there is no suggestion those players have received any money from him or an agent.

• Other UA coaches could be questioned. There are references to the agents' meetings with Richardson and another, unnamed UA coach, suggesting more than one coach may have known what happened.

• Finally, of course, a subsequent NCAA investigation could result in sanctions against Arizona, likely in the area of recruiting but possibly involving games — especially if current players are found to have taken payments.

While the timing could make it unlikely for an investigation to lead to immediate sanctions, the 2018-19 and subsequent seasons could be affected.


The five charges facing Richardson:

1. Conspiracy to commit bribery

2. Solicitation of bribes and gratuities by an agent of a federally funded organization.

3. Conspiracy to commit honest services fraud

4. Honest services wire fraud

5. Wire fraud conspiracy


Here is a more detailed breakdown of key notes from the complaint that involves Richardson and Arizona:

71. Richardson was paid $20,000, some of which he “appears to have kept for himself and some of which he appears to have provided to at least one prospective high school basketball players.” In exchange for the payments, Richardson agreed to use his influence over the athletes he coached to retain two advisors, Christian Dawkins and Munish Sood.

73. Sood said he would meet with two UA coaches at a restaurant in Las Vegas on March 8, the evening before the Wildcats played their first Pac-12 Tournament game. Sood later said “the coaches are interested in definitely working with us” but that the coaches wanted to wait until after the NCAA Tournament.

83. Sood said Dawkins introduced him to Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans as well as coaches as Arizona and other universities.

87c. Dawkins said a coach such as Richardson “may need these two kids, and he may need like a grand a month, two grand a month to get something done for this kid.”

88. In June 2017, Dawkins “reapproached Richards about receiving bribes in exchange for convincing student-athletes on (Arizona’s) basketball team to retain the services of the new company formed by Dawkins, Sood and (an undercover FBI agent).”

89a. On or about June 20, 2017, Dawkins made reference to one basketball player at (Arizona) who already had received payments, so we got no expenses there.”

Richardson told Dawkins that a recruit would be on campus that weekend so asked “would I be out of bounds to try to get five from him?”

Richardson said he had suggested UA athletes to pick from a group of agents in the past but would not “simply tell players to retain Dawkins and his company.”

Richardson also committed to “steer a particular student-athlete who was on (Arizona’s roster) to Dawkins and his company, stating ‘I’m telling you (Dawkins) is getting (this player). … there’s no ifs ands or buts about that. I’ve already talked with (the player’s) mom, I’ve talked with his cousin.”

At the end of the meeting, the undercover agent gave Richardson $5,000 in cash in exchange for his agreement to direct some UA players to Dawkins’ firm.

91. On or about July 5, Dawkins asked the undercover agent to pay another $15,000 to Richardson which Richardson would, according to Dawkins, “provide to (a top recruit) in order to influence (recruit) to attend (Arizona).”

Dawkins told the undercover agent that Richardson had “the top point guard in the country,” who was ready to commit to Arizona but that Richardson needed to provide the player $15,000 “ASAP basically.” Dawkins said Richardson was willing to meet the undercover agent in Atlanta, South Carolina or “fly to New York and pick it up and take it to the kid’s mom.”

93. On July 7, Dawkins spoke to the undercover agent by telephone and told him that Richardson would accept $15,000 extra as an advance for his $5,000 monthly fee and said that if the agent “could get this thing done…(Sean Miller) is talking out of his mouth, he wants (the recruit) bad as (expletive). So the leverage I have with the program would be ridiculous at that point.”

When the agent asked where Richardson would give the money Dawkins said its sometimes best to go the recruit’s handler because “the kids 90 percent of the time ain’t making they own decisions. They don’t (expletive) care.”

94. On or about July 20, Richardson met with Sood and, in a recording by the FBI agent, said the recruit had “committed to us” but that his mom asked for money because “she didn’t know what I was already doing for her son.” Richardson also said in reference to directing players to Sood, Dawkins and the undercover agent that “this is done.”

97. On or about Aug. 11, Dawkins noted that “I know the guy with the 15 grand we gave him, he committed to (Arizona) like three days ago. … so that deal got done.”

99. On or about Aug. 30, Richardson met with Sood, Dawkins and another undercover FBI agent to discuss players he might be able to influence. Richardson spoke a current UA player who was “kind of a sheltered kid” and assured Dawkins that he had spoken to the player’s handler and that the player was “going to be insulated in who he talks to… you’re looking at that guy.”’ They also discussed another current UA player of whom Richardson said he would “work that.”

100. The handler met later that day with Dawkins, Sood and the undercover agent and noted that he wondered “what is Book tryin’ to get out of it,” but said he was strongly inclined to sign with Dawkins’ firm.


Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg explains why the FBI did what the NCAA didn't, and ESPN's John Gasaway breaks down the broad implications for college basketball.

Tags