OSU Assistant Basketball Coach Among 10 Charged With Fraud, Corruption
NEW YORK CITY -
OSU announced Tuesday afternoon that first assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans has been suspended.
Evans is one of four college coaches from across the country indicted today for taking bribes to influence players to sign with specific advisors and agents.
Evans came to OSU in April of 2016 from South Carolina. The indictment alledges Evans took over $22,000 in bribes from the agent Christian Dawkins, and financial advisor Munish Sood, to influence players to sign with their agency.
Evans is also accused of asking for more money to pass on the recruit's mother to ensure the athlete would attend OSU so he could, in turn, influence him to eventually sign with Sood and Dawkins.
"For the defendants charged today, the madness of college basketball went well beyond the big dance in March, month after month the defendants exploited the hoop dreams of student-athletes across the country," said Joon Kim, Acting District Attorney Southern District of New York.
Tuesday, OSU released a statement suspending Evans saying:
“Based on the serious and troubling allegations in the complaint, Oklahoma State University has suspended assistant coach Lamont Evans. We are cooperating with federal officials. We have been in contact with the NCAA and will provide additional information as it becomes available. OSU takes seriously the high standards of conduct expected in our athletic department and does not tolerate any deviation from those standards.”
Evans is accused of taking part in a bribery and fraud scheme involving three other college basketball coaches, as well as managers, financial advisers and representatives of a major international sportswear company.
Evans was named in six charges including conspiracies to commit bribery, wire fraud, travel fraud and solicitation of bribery.
Evans was hired by then-OSU head basketball coach Brad Underwood in April 2016. Underwood and Evans worked together on the staff at Kansas State and South Carolina.
Evans, the team's recruiting coordinator, is accused of taking bribes while at South Carolina and continuing to do so at Oklahoma State.
According to court documents, Evans agreed to be paid at least $25,000 in kickbacks and benefits such as hotel rooms to funnel student-athletes on his teams to sports agent Christian Dawkins and financial adviser Munish Sood.
The trio worked out a scheme for Evans’ to use influence over college basketball players under his supervision to persuade and pressure athletes with prospects of playing professional basketball to Dawkins and Sood. Evans was eventually paid $22,000 for his influence peddling.
The documents reveal while at South Carolina, Evans would receive bribes in person either in South Carolina or in Atlanta where Evans frequently recruited high school student-athletes. The indictments alleged Evans would give some of the bribe money to the families of student-athletes.
According to the charges, Evans was recorded on numerous occasions over the phone soliciting bribes and discussing student-athletes with a confidential informant for the FBI.
“…just want[ed] to be able to scratch my back, scratch yours, and help each other with different things and… at the same time get compensated…” Evans was quoted as saying in one conversation. In another, he asked the informant to pay him “in small a bills (sic) as possible.”
In one portion of the indictments, Evans is depicted as using crude language to describe a high school aged student before asking for more money to give to the athlete’s mother to secure a commitment to play at OSU.
“The mother****** that’s scoring 22 points a game… NBA people coming to see [him]…” Evans was quoted as saying.
The scheme was uncovered by the FBI after an unnamed cooperating witness alerted authorities. The case falls under federal jurisdiction because both South Carolina and OSU receive more than $10,000 in grants from the federal government. Evans's alleged actions also violate NCAA rules. It is unclear whether OSU or South Carolina will face sanctions.
OSU initially released an emailed statement regarding Evans:
“We were surprised to learn this morning of potential actions against one of our assistant basketball coaches by federal officials. We are reviewing and investigating the allegations. We are cooperating fully with officials. Let it be clear we take very seriously the high standards of conduct expected in our athletic department. We will not tolerate any deviation from those standards.”
Also named in the court documents obtained by News 9 are Tony Bland, USC assistant basketball coach and Emanuel "Book" Richardson, Arizona assistant basketball coach.
Dawkins was fired from his position as sports agent in May after a probe by the NBA Players Association. The probe showed Dawkins used the credit card of an unnamed NBA player to charge $42,000 in Uber rides from 2015 to 2016. Only a few were authorized by the player, according to sports reports.