cloudy
Sunday December 16th, 2018 3:47AM

Witness details secret payments in college hoops recruiting

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — A New Jersey financial adviser-turned-bag man in a college basketball corruption scandal testified Wednesday about a clandestine mission last year to deliver an envelope with $19,400 in cash to the father of a highly sought-after prospect.

Munish Sood took the witness stand at the federal trial of three men charged in an alleged scheme to funnel secret payments to the family of Louisville recruit Brian Bowen Jr. and other hot prospects. As he testified in federal court in Manhattan, prosecutors played a wiretap of him telling his business partner, aspiring sports agent Christopher Dawkins, about his misgivings over the money drop he was making at an office building parking lot.

This "makes me nervous," Sood said, using profanity. "I just don't to want this to be a habit."

Sood, who has pleaded guilty to bribery and agreed to cooperate, testified that the payment was made in cash rather than check because "it was clean."

The testimony came on the third day of the conspiracy trial of Dawkins, former amateur basketball director Merl Code and former Adidas executive James. All three men have pleaded not guilty in the scandal that drove Bowen out of college basketball and resulted in the firing of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who wasn't charged and denies any wrongdoing.

The case has cast a harsh light on an underground economy where middlemen used money from Adidas and other big athletic wear companies competed with one another to ply the families of hot prospects with money and gear, sometimes called "shoe wars." In return, the young players were expected to attend programs sponsored by the companies and, if they went pro, hire the middlemen as agents or financial managers.

The defense hasn't challenged the government's claim that the payments violated NCAA rules protecting players' amateur status. But they have disputed claims that major universities were defrauded, since the effort to steer blue-chip prospects translated into big money for their programs.

In a secretly recorded hotel room meeting from 2017 that the jury heard on Wednesday, Code could be heard explaining that the payments, which reach $100,000 or more, ran risks, since the middlemen have no recourse if the young players wash out or simply walk away from an agreement to go to a particular school.

"We're not supposed to be giving them $100,000 anyway," he said on tape.

Sood, 46, testified that after he met Dawkins, he agreed to use money from his business to front money that would be doled out to recruits' families. In return, he hoped, he would win enough favor that the players would hire him to manage fortunes from signing NBA contracts.

Despite the guilty plea, Sood said he's still running a financial firm in Princeton, New Jersey, while he awaits sentencing. He also said he still advises pro-athlete clients, including Kyle Kuzma, of the Los Angeles Lakers.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Steven Haney peppered Sood about the plea deal, expected to help him avoid a prison sentence of up to 35 years behind bars.

"You would say anything to stay out of prison for 35 years, wouldn't you?" the lawyer asked.

"No," Sood responded, "I'd tell the truth."

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, College Sports, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
GOP senators await FBI report in anxiety-filled Capitol
The FBI is expected to send Congress a report on its revived investigation of Brett Kavanaugh as soon as late Wednesday
5:29PM ( 1 minute ago )
Witness details secret payments in college hoops recruiting
A financial adviser has testified at a college basketball corruption trial about a clandestine mission last year to deliver an envelope with $19,400 in cash to the father of a prospect
5:19PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Emergency alert test sounds off on mobile phones nationwide
Electronic devices across the country have sounded off as the government conducts its first-ever national wireless emergency alert test
5:01PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Falcons RB Freeman cleared to return after missing 3 games
Falcons running back Devonta Freeman cleared to play after missing 3 straight games with sore right knee
4:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
Cristiano Ronaldo denies rape accusations on social media
Cristiano Ronaldo denied the accusations of rape against him, saying that he has a "clear conscience" as he awaits the conclusions of an investigation
3:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
Capitals winger Tom Wilson banned 20 games for preseason hit
Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been suspended 20 games by the NHL for a blindside hit to the head of an opponent during a preseason game
3:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Rockets roll in Melo's debut as Harden, Paul each reach 20
Carmelo Anthony fit right in and James Harden and Chris Paul picked up right where they left off
1:55AM ( 15 hours ago )
WNBA President Lisa Borders is latest executive to leave
WNBA President Lisa Borders steps down; NBA deputy commissioner to fill post for now
11:04AM ( 1 day ago )
Kyrie Irving on flat-Earth comments: 'I'm sorry'
Kyrie Irving tries to put the flat-Earth story to bed, apologizes for what he said
8:13PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
Chicago cop's trial could come down to jury's view of video
From the moment Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, the case has centered around the video
4:39PM ( 51 minutes ago )
The Latest: Ford's lawyers offer to turn over therapy notes
Christine Blasey Ford's lawyers say they'll turn over notes from her therapy sessions and any recordings of her taking a lie detector test to the FBI, if the bureau agrees to interview her
4:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: McConnell nixes Dems' request for FBI briefing
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is declining Democrats' request for a briefing by FBI agents on the investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh
4:20PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Ruling brings parole chance for those who killed as children
Dozens of prisoners serving no-parole sentences for killings they committed as juveniles are expected to get a chance for release, including the Oklahoma teenager convicted of shooting a college baseball player from Australia
7:18PM ( 22 hours ago )
Alabama's Tagovailoa living up to hype after title game
No. 1 Alabama's star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has lived up to the hype built up from his national championship game heroics
4:30PM ( 1 day ago )
Concussions drop in Ivy League football with kickoff change
Concussions plunged in Ivy League football after 'most dangerous play' rule change
9:20PM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
Arrest made in shooting death of LSU player Wayde Sims
Arrest made in shooting death of LSU basketball player Wayde Sims
4:43PM ( 4 days ago )
UConn holds 1st practice day after NCAA violations announced
UConn has opened basketball practice under new coach Dan Hurley a day after being notified by the NCAA of alleged recruiting and other violations during Kevin Ollie's tenure at the school
10:56AM ( 4 days ago )
LSU basketball player Wayde Sims shot to death
LSU basketball player Wayde Sims has died after he was shot near the campus of another school in Baton Rouge
1:30PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Walkout teachers now in a drive to win US statehouse posts
Hundreds of teacher candidates are running for political posts in upcoming midterm U.S. elections
5:00PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Strong economic signs lift US stocks; bond prices drop
Encouraging signs on hiring and growth in the service sector send companies, banks and technology stocks higher and bond prices sharply lower
4:48PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Emergency alert test sounds off on mobile phones nationwide
Electronic devices across the country have sounded off as the government conducts its first-ever national wireless emergency alert test
4:45PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Pakistan urges restraint by new US envoy for Afghan peace
Pakistan's top diplomat is urging the Trump administration's new envoy for reconciliation in neighboring Afghanistan to be more sensitive to Pakistani opinion than he has been as a private citizen
4:44PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Chicago cop's trial could come down to jury's view of video
From the moment Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, the case has centered around the video
4:39PM ( 51 minutes ago )