A former assistant coach for the Texas Christian University men’s basketball team has been implicated in a kickback scheme that involved cash payments in exchange for influencing his players to use a company’s services.
According to a post on the NCAA’s website, the assistant coach also provided false or misleading information about his actions and failed to cooperate with the school’s investigation.
The conduct at issue in this case was related to a broader scheme that involved money and influence at the intersection of college and professional basketball. The scheme resulted in the arrest and prosecution of multiple individuals — including college basketball coaches — on conspiracy and bribery charges, and it led to significant NCAA reforms.
No TCU employees were arrested or prosecuted.
The NCAA provided the following details about the case:
The violations in this case occurred when the former assistant coach attended a July 2017 meeting in Las Vegas with an agent associate and representatives of the agent associate’s management company. Government recordings — which were evidence in federal court and included in the infractions case record — show that during that meeting, the coach touted his relationships with certain student-athletes and prospects who had NBA potential, giving the impression that he could steer those players to the management company when they turned professional. During that meeting, the agent associate discussed monthly payments for the assistant coach, and at the conclusion of the meeting, the assistant coach accepted $6,000.
Following the meeting, the assistant coach facilitated a phone call between the agent associate and a student-athlete’s father. The assistant coach also facilitated a meeting with another student-athlete and told the agent associate that the meeting would be “a layup for you.” The agent associate was arrested before that meeting occurred, but in facilitating the phone call and meeting, the coach had followed through on the agreement he entered into when he accepted the $6,000 in Las Vegas.
The acceptance of money at the Las Vegas meeting violated NCAA rules because athletics department staff members are prohibited from receiving benefits for facilitating or arranging a meeting between a student-athlete and an agent, financial advisor, or a representative of an agent or advisor. Athletics staff members also are prohibited from representing, directly or indirectly, any individual in the marketing of their athletics ability or reputation to an agency and from accepting compensation for the representation.
In October 2017, after the federal government’s arrests, the TCU athletics department began an internal review. During that review, the assistant coach verbally denied any involvement in or knowledge of activity that led to the arrests. The athletics department also issued a questionnaire at that time asking directly whether men’s basketball staff members had accepted anything of value from an agent or financial advisor in exchange for access to student-athletes or whether they had been involved in any situations similar to those that led to the arrests. The assistant coach left both questions blank.
In February 2019, the school received a federal subpoena for the assistant coach’s employment records for use in the upcoming federal trials. The school requested an interview with the assistant coach, who declined to participate. In March 2019, TCU learned that the federal government had issued a superseding indictment alleging facts associated with two unnamed coaches, and media identified the assistant coach as one. The school immediately scheduled an interview, and the coach again declined to participate. Following his separation from TCU, the assistant coach cooperated with the NCAA enforcement staff’s investigation. However, when the coach interviewed with NCAA enforcement staff, he claimed he did not accept a payment or enter into an agreement with the company, and he also claimed he did not facilitate or arrange meetings with student-athletes.
As a result, the assistant coach committed additional ethical conduct violations. The first occurred when he provided false or misleading information during the school’s 2017 review, and the second occurred when he did not agree to be interviewed during the school’s 2019 investigation, thus failing to meet the membership’s expectations for conduct during an investigation. The third occurred when he provided false or misleading information to the NCAA enforcement staff about his agreement with the agent associate’s management company.
The committee classified the case as Level I-mitigated for the school and Level I-aggravated for the former assistant coach. The committee used the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to prescribe the following measures:
- Three years of probation.
- A $5,000 fine plus 1 percent of the men’s basketball program budget (self-imposed by the university).
- A five-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.