Three Defendants In NCAA Basketball Pay-For-Play Case Found Guilty: James Gatto, Christian Dawkins & Merl Code
A jury on Wednesday convicted three defendants accused of influencing high-school athletes to attend the Universities of Kansas, Louisville and NC State for monetary incentives.
The accused are James Gatto, a former Adidas employee, a lawyer and former Adidas consultant named Merl Code and Christian Dawkins, a former runner for NBA agents. The trio was found guilty on felony charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud after a three-week criminal trial in federal court in New York.
The Daniel Patrick Moynihan federal courthouse saw a deliberation of over 19 hours, and the monumental case of corruption concluded with a verdict of guilty for seven charges. This sets the table for a slate of several NCAA trials involving similar cases of corruption and wire fraud in the coming years. The precedent is like none other, and NCAA figures spoke on the historic court cases following the verdicts.
“I would think that [Wednesday’s verdict] means something good for our sport,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski after hearing the verdict. “[It’s] always good if someone does something wrong, they’re found out and they’re held accountable for it.”
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim doubts the issues of corruption are distributed throughout all of college basketball, and insists the case was an exceptional matter. “I could be naive, but I’ve been in college basketball for 43 years, and I’ve never been asked for money, and I’ve never asked anybody to give anybody money,” he said. “It’s very damaging what’s happened, and that’s not good for college basketball.”
With four college basketball assistants on trial in 2019, the fates of those involved with any semblance of corruption in the state of a tumultuous and questionably unethical ecosystem of college basketball, and the NCAA altogether, the forecast remains grim.