Auburn Coach Chuck Person Arrested On Federal Corruption Charges
(New York, NY) -- - Auburn basketball associate head coach Chuck Person and 3 other assistant basketball coaches from Arizona, USC and Oklahoma State were among those arrested on federal corruption charges Tuesday after they were allegedly caught taking thousands of dollars in bribes to steer NBA-destined college stars toward certain sports agents and financial advisers.
Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. Attorney in New York announced that federal criminal charges have been brought against six others people, including managers, financial advisers and representatives of a major international sportswear company, widely reported to be Adidas. Kim says coaches at some of the nation's top programs took cash bribes to deliver star athletes to an adviser or agent. He also said employees of the sportswear company funneled cash to the families of college recruits to have them play at schools sponsored by the company. Court documents show the assistant coaches charged in the corruption scheme along with Person are Arizona's Emanuel Richardson, Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans, and USC's Tony Bland. Kim said the bribes and payouts ranged from 13-thousand-dollars up to 100-thousand. The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office have been investigating the criminal influence of money on coaches and NCAA student-athletes since 2015.
Justice Department's Allegations Involving Chuck Person
Beginning in or around 2016, and continuing into 2017, PERSON, a former NBA player and the associate head coach at University-1, abused his coaching position at University-1 to solicit and obtain approximately $91,500 in bribe payments from a financial advisor and business manager for professional athletes, who, unbeknownst to PERSON, was providing information to law enforcement (“CW-1”). In exchange for the bribes, PERSON agreed to direct certain University-1 basketball players to retain the services of CW-1 when those student-athletes entered the NBA. The bribe payments initially were arranged by MICHEL, who had a preexisting relationship with PERSON and operated a clothing store that specialized in making bespoke suits for professional athletes. Over the course of the scheme, PERSON did, in fact, arrange multiple meetings between CW-1 and players and/or their family members, in which he falsely touted CW-1’s qualifications without disclosing that he was being bribed to recommend CW-1. For example, at one meeting, PERSON told the mother of a player at University-1 that CW-1 was PERSON’s own financial advisor and had also advised NBA Hall of Fame inductee (and University-1 alumnus) Charles Barkley, neither of which was true. PERSON similarly told another player that CW-1 would purchase him a separate cell phone over which they could communicate so as to conceal the nature of the scheme.
In addition to the bribe payments that PERSON solicited and received, PERSON also arranged for CW-1 to make payments directly to the families of the players PERSON was steering to CW-1. PERSON further claimed to have given approximately $18,500 of the bribe money he received to the families of two student-athletes whom PERSON sought to steer to retain CW-1.
Auburn University has suspended Person without pay effective immediately.
The university released this statement: "This morning's news is shocking. We are saddened, angry and disappointed. We have suspended Coach Person without pay effective immediately. We are committed to playing by the rules, and that's what we expect from our coaches. In the meantime, Auburn is working closely with law enforcement, and we will help them in their investigation in any way we can."