Report: FBI Probe Lists Payments to Top Players Probe:

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 24, 2018 | Go to article overview

Report: FBI Probe Lists Payments to Top Players Probe:


Byline: Aaron Beard AP Basketball Writer

New details of payments to athletes in a federal investigation that has lurked in the shadows since first rocking college basketball last fall mark the latest threat to the sport's basic foundation, showing the breadth of alleged corruption.

Bank records and other expense reports that are part of the investigation list a wide range of impermissible payments from agents to at least two dozen players or their relatives, according to documents obtained by Yahoo Sports.

The depth of the violations raises questions about the structure of college athletics, a business funded primarily through college football and basketball, including $19.6 billion in TV money for the NCAA Tournament over

the past 22 years -- a hoops extravaganza American sports fans know as March Madness.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement Friday the allegations "if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America."

Yahoo said Friday that the documents obtained in discovery during the investigation link current players including Michigan State's Miles Bridges, Duke's Wendell Carter and Alabama's Collin Sexton to potential benefits that would be violations of NCAA rules.

Michigan State and Duke officials said Friday they didn't believe their players did anything wrong, and Alabama coach Avery Johnson said Sexton, who was held out of the season opener for violating NCAA rules, will play Saturday against Arkansas.

According to the report, players over the past several years and family members allegedly received cash, entertainment and travel expenses from former NBA agent Andy Miller and his agency ASM Sports. Line items in four pages of documents released by Yahoo showed a wide range, including some five-figure payments and two dinners for less than $40 each.

Don Jackson, an Alabama-based attorney who has worked on numerous college eligibility cases, said the root of the problem is that the NCAA's model of amateurism doesn't work.

"This problem can be solved if players are compensated," Jackson said. "The NCAA is not capable of adequately policing tens of thousands of athletes around the country."

A balance sheet from December 2015 lists several payments under "Loan to Players," including $43,500 to Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith, who played one season at North Carolina State in 2016-17. Another document says Smith received $73,500 in loans. …

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