Adidas executive Jim Gatto, former Adidas consultant Merl Code and would-be agent Christian Dawkins received their sentences in the college basketball corruption scandal at a New York City courthouse on Tuesday after being found guilty on several charges last fall. Gatto received a nine month prison sentence, while Code and Dawkins were sentenced to six months each.
U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said he delivered relatively lenient sentences because he felt the defendants had "learned their lesson," per Law360's Pete Brush. All will appeal the decision, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports.
All three men had been out on bond since October, when a jury found each guilty on all counts of committing wire fraud, as well as charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Dawkins and Code were found guilty on two counts each; Gatto was found guilty on three counts. October's proceedings marked the first of three federal trials related to the scandal.
The prosecution's case in the corruption trial centered around the argument that by conspiring to pay basketball recruits (which would render the players ineligible under NCAA rules), the trio of men defrauded universities, whose athletic scholarships were thus awarded under false pretenses. The defendants admitted to violating NCAA rules because they wanted the players to attend Adidas-sponsored schools, however each denied having committed federal crimes.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation charged several college coaches for the connection with a corruption scheme in 2017, asserting that they and others lied and used their stature to influence high schools recruits to sign with schools.
The three "victim schools" implicated Wednesday included Louisville, Kansas, and NC State. Defense attorneys representing conceded that their clients each violated NCAA rules by paying families of the following players: Brian Bowen (Louisville), Billy Preston (Kansas) and Dennis Smith Jr. (NC State).
Dawkins's lawyer said in October that he plans on appealing his clients' guilty verdict. A timeline for the appeal has not yet been determined, but Dawkins faces another bribery trial in April. Code also still faces anohter criminal case as well as civil litigation.
Two more trials will be conducted in 2019 focused on the coaches. One involves former Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person and Atlanta clothier Rashan Michel and is slated for February, while another involving former Arizona assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson, former USC assistant Tony Bland and former Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans is scheduled for April.
NCAA president Mark Emmert said in December that the organization was conducting its own investigations into the scandals based on information gathered by federal authorities but added that sanctions will take time. Given that the NCAA's investigations are not likely to be resolved during the 2018–19 season while trials are still ongoing, Emmert said that it is unlikely that any schools involved will be ruled for any approaching postseason play in 2019.