adidas football studs Court documents provide details on Evans’ alleged bribes
COLUMBIA A former University of South Carolina assistant men’s basketball coach, also a former Kansas State assistant, was charged on bribery accusations that he accepted $22,000 from potential business managers and financial advisers who wanted an inside track to win prospective pro players as clients. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
Evans, 40, was first approached by three business and financial advisers more than a year ago when he was an assistant coach with the Gamecocks under head coach Frank Martin. They gathered at a restaurant near the USC campus in March 2016 where they discussed a Gamecock player who was a possible “first round pick in the NBA draft” in 2017, according to the complaint.
After getting an assistant coach’s job at Oklahoma State a month later, Evans expressed interest in paying the USC player and his family “to make sure they’re solidified as far as things getting done on their end.
“These are serious accusations that are not consistent with University of South Carolina values,” the school said. “Behavior like this will not be tolerated in our programs.”
USC said it is not under NCAA investigation in connection with the allegations against Evans. The NCAA did not respond to requests for comment.
The federal investigation ensnared another person with Palmetto State connections, former Clemson basketball player Merl Code of Greer, who has ties to Adidas. He’s facing 80 years in prison on fraud and money laundering charges on accusations of helping funnel $250,000 to two high school players to commit to Louisville and Miami, colleges sponsored by Adidas, the complaint said. A high level marketing executive from Adidas, Jim Gatto, also was charged in connection with the player payments. USC has an apparel contract with Under Armour. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that in the 110 pages of complaints, “you will find yourself in the dark underbelly” of the college basketball world where agents and coaches involved were “circling blue chip prospects like coyotes.”
‘Get the college coaches’
Evans was one of four assistant coaches arrested for trying to drive potential pro players to advisers in exchange for $13,000 to $91,500 in bribes. The others were Tony Bland of Southern California, Chuck Person of Auburn and Emanuel “Book” Richardson of Arizona. All were arrested and suspended from their schools Tuesday.
According to the complaint, the scheme played out like this:
Assistant coaches were easy pickings, one of the financial advisers noted at a March 2016 meeting with Evans, because they earn a fraction of the salaries of head coaches. At USC, the top assistant earns about $250,000 a year, while Martin collects roughly $2.8 million before bonuses.
Dealing with assistant coaches, like Evans, also made sense in the scheme because of their constant contact with players, an adviser said in meetings that were recorded by a witness cooperating with the FBI.
“Agents obviously have influence, but you gotta get the college coaches, too,” said Christian Dawkins, who was an employee of a sport management firm.
After the meeting, Dawkins told his colleagues that giving Evans and coaches money would keep away potential rival advisers because the coaches did not want to get caught taking bribes.
Dawkins was reportedly paying Evans $2,500 a month. Dawkins said he would give Evans his monthly payments while the coach was in Atlanta for recruiting trips or in South Carolina, which had advantages.
“The more times you’re down (in South Carolina) . the more you see (the player),” Dawkins said. “The more you see his mom or the more she sees you at the games.” Even with Evans ready to leave Columbia for Stillwater, Okla., after the season ended in 2016, he told a government informant, who also was trying to win business from college basketball stars, that his relationship with the USC player’s family remained strong.
“It’s always gonna be business with them,” Evans said in a phone call. “The mom text me.” One of the other advisers, Munish Sood, met with the player’s mother this past June. During a meeting in New York in April 2016, Evans bragged how he told the player he was leaving USC before informing Martin.
Then Evans received $500 from the government informant in exchange for steering the player to the advisers.
‘Parents believe in me’
With his new coaching job, Evans told the informant that he wanted $2,000 a month for himself and additional funds to woo recruits to Oklahoma State, which he said was a better job than USC because it had “better players” and “more, more, more business.”
Evans said he would lead players to the advisers because “the parents believe in me and what I do. . That is why I say if I need X, so if do take X for that it’s going to generate (business) for you guys.” He then received an envelope with $1,000 cash from the informant.
Evans told the advisers in August 2016 that he would deny receiving any incentive to send business to them, but that he expected $5,000 to $7,000 bonus for delivering players and wanted $7,000 to $8,000 right away to “lock in” two players.
Later in the month, Evans sent a text to the informant with bank account information in the name of the coach’s wife.
In February, Evans set up a meeting in a hotel room between the informant and an Oklahoma State player when the Cowboys were in West Virginia.
The coach told the Oklahoma State player how he should use the informant’s business management services that he had already recommended to the USC player. After the meeting, Evans received another $2,000.
Oklahoma State’s coach at the time was Brad Underwood, a former Martin assistant at Kansas State and USC. Evans also was an assistant for Martin at Kansas State.
Martin, who led the Gamecocks men’s team to its first NCAA Tournament Final Four appearance this year, and Underwood, now at Illinois, were not named in the government complaint.