Today’s updates on college basketball scandal

The Associated Press - September 27, 2017 2:28 pm

By The Associated Press

(All times Eastern)

3 p.m.

An attorney for Miami coach Jim Larranaga says Larranaga has no involvement with any accusations in a federal probe of college basketball recruiting at seven universities.

Miami and Larranaga acknowledged the investigation into alleged bribery of recruits, which implicated the Hurricanes program.

Larranaga’s attorney Stuart Grossman says Larranaga “is unfamiliar with this matter and had zero involvement in any allegations of any impropriety.”

Grossman says Larranaga will continue to lead the team.

Athletic director Blake James also issued a statement saying the school was aware of the indictments in the case, and would cooperate with any review of the matter.

Federal prosecutors say among several allegations that at least three top high school recruits were promised payments of as much as $150,000, using money supplied by Adidas, to attend two universities sponsored by the athletic shoe company. Court papers didn’t name those schools but contained enough details to identify them as Miami and Louisville.

Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave.

2:20 p.m.

Auburn has hired a Birmingham law firm to conduct a review of the basketball program after the arrest of assistant coach Chuck Person on fraud charges.

A university spokesman said Wednesday that Lightfoot, Franklin and White will conduct the review. The firm is already investigating the softball program following a Title IX sexual discrimination complaint from a former player.

Person was among four college coaches and others arrested Tuesday. Auburn has suspended the former NBA player and Tigers star without pay.

Prosecutors say Person, Auburn’s associate head coach, accepted about $91,500 in bribes to steer clients to Pittsburgh-based financial adviser Martin Blazer when they reached the NBA.

Federal Judge Wallace Capel Jr. in Alabama Middle District Court ordered Person to appear in New York’s Southern District on Oct. 10.

2 p.m.

The head of the National Association of Basketball Coaches says the group will pursue reforms if a federal probe shows a need within the sport.

Executive Director Jim Haney said Wednesday that the allegations of recruiting improprieties at seven universities “have shaken the game and the coaching profession to the core.”

Haney says coaches hold themselves to high ethical standards as role models and leaders.

1:15 p.m.

Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people, including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

12 p.m.

The FBI says Oklahoma State assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans has surrendered to federal authorities on allegations that he took bribes to influence star athletes.

FBI special agent Jessica Rice says Evans surrendered to federal marshals early Wednesday on federal corruption charges following an investigation into the criminal influence of money on coaches and players in the NCAA.

Rice says Evans is scheduled to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Charles Goodwin about 3 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the papers, Evans expected $2,000 a month for his services. Evans said it was necessary to use his influence over the youngsters early in their college careers because many of them are “one and done,” meaning they play one year of college ball before joining the NBA, according to court papers.


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