Former University of Louisville basketball recruit Brian Bowen is suing Adidas, arguing that the fraud committed by some of the company’s executives adversely affected his athletic career.
WDRB reports that despite the company’s request to dismiss the suit, lawyers for Bowen are claiming that he is one of the pay-for-play scandal’s biggest victims, and that he is “facing down a corrupt multinational corporation, its convicted executives, and confederates to seek just compensation for the harm they caused to his property, his career, and to the sport of college basketball.”
Bowen’s attorneys are claiming that some of the company’s executives — including James Gatto, who was convicted on fraud charges in October — ran a “criminal racketeering enterprise” to bribe some of the nation’s top basketball recruits into attending Adidas-sponsored programs.
Bowen, whose father was promised a payment of $100,000 as part of the scheme, enrolled at Louisville and practiced with the basketball team, but never played in a game as the investigation unfolded. His attorneys argue that he was one of the nation’s top recruits when he enrolled in 2017, and he was “widely viewed” to be a high caliber player, who would jump to the NBA after one or two years in college. Bowen was named a McDonald’s All-American, and 70 percent of the players who joined Bowen on that list in 2017 are already in the NBA.
Bowen may have been among those players, but his lawyers argue that due in part to the corrupt actions of certain Adidas executives, he lost access to training opportunities the school would have offered, as well as a chance to showcase his talent for NBA scouts.
Adidas, seeking the suit’s dismissal, said that Bowen’s father is alleged to have taken several payments despite knowing that it could damage his son’s eligibility.
“Bowen purports to decry the state of amateur basketball in this country, but through the actions of his father over many years, Bown was an active participant in and beneficiary of endemic recruiting violations,” the company’s response to the suit says. “The Complaint is a cynical attempt to recover indirect damages from his father’s alleged co-conspirators for speculative injuries that he has not suffered and which he may never incur.”
Bowen is currently playing professionally overseas.