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Adidas Indictment: Pitino Participated in Bribery Scheme

Paul Steinbach

A federal indictment released Wednesday against Adidas executive James Gatto suggests former University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino was aware of and participated in the type of bribery that has clouded college basketball in recent weeks.

According to a report at ESPN.com, the FBI recorded a July 27 meeting between a former AAU basketball coach, a Louisville assistant coach and others as they conspired to pay the family of Cardinals recruit Brian Bowen to ensure Bowen chose Louisville, a school under contract with Adidas.

"Dawkins explained that while [Pitino] and the University of Louisville were recruiting [Bowen], Dawkins asked [Pitino] to call James Gatto to request that [Adidas] provide the money requested by the family of [Bowen], which [Pitino] agreed to do," the indictment reads.

The original complaint against Gatto, released Sept. 26, stopped short of indicating Pitino agreed to the plan. It read: "Dawkins said he had spoken with Coach-2 [who has been reported to be Pitino] about getting additional money for [Bowen's] family and informed [Pitino] that 'I need you to call Jim Gatto, who's the head of everything' at [Adidas'] basketball program."

The FBI announced on Sept. 26 that 10 men — including assistant coaches Tony Evans of Oklahoma State, Chuck Person of Auburn, Emanuel "Book" Richardson of Arizona and Tony Bland of USC, along with Gatto — were charged with crimes relating to the investigation.

Louisville was not named in court documents, but interim president Greg Postel confirmed that the school was part of the FBI's investigation. Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave on Sept. 27 and fired on Oct. 17.

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