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The Latest: Member of Miami staff being investigated

The Latest: Member of Miami staff being investigated Photo: AP

September 27, 2017 09:54 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on a federal fraud and bribery scandal in college basketball (all times local):

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7:55 p.m.

The University of Miami president says a member of the coaching staff is being investigated as part of the federal probe of basketball recruiting at seven universities.

President Julio Frenk says the U.S. Attorney's Office has confirmed it is investigating a potential tie to a Miami coach and recruit. Frenk says school officials are "alarmed and disappointed" by the development.

An attorney for head coach Jim Larranaga says Larranaga has no involvement with any accusations in the investigation. The attorney says Larranaga will continue to lead the Hurricanes.

Among several allegations, federal prosecutors say at least three top high school recruits were promised payments of as much as $150,000, using money supplied by Adidas, to attend two universities sponsored by the athletic shoe company. Court papers didn't name those schools but contained enough details to identify them as Miami and Louisville.

Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave.

Frenk says Miami has pledged full cooperation with the Department of Justice and the NCAA.

"We will do what is right, even if doing so is hard," Frenk said in a statement.

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6:35 p.m.

Alabama basketball administrator Kobie Baker, a former NCAA enforcement staffer, has resigned.

Athletic director Greg Byrne said in a statement the decision followed an internal review of the basketball program resulting from a wave of arrests in a federal bribery probe.

"Our review has not identified any NCAA or SEC rules violations nor the involvement of any other coach or staff member," Byrne said. "We have notified both of the governing bodies of the actions we have taken. As always, we will continue to be proactive in our compliance efforts."

An athletic department spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the reason for Baker's resignation.

Baker was entering his second year with the program and his first as an associate athletic director.

He is a former assistant director of enforcement for basketball development with the NCAA.

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6:20 p.m.

Oklahoma State assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans told a judge during an initial court appearance that he understands the allegations that he took bribes to influence star athletes.

Evans appeared before U.S. Magistrate Charles Goodwin on Wednesday but did not enter a plea. He spoke only to say that he understood the charges after they were read in court, and that he had not yet thoroughly discussed them with his lawyer.

Evans surrendered to federal marshals early Wednesday on federal corruption charges following an investigation into the criminal influence of money on coaches and players in the NCAA.

Evans showed no expression as he was escorted into the courtroom in handcuffs wearing a long-sleeved black Nike shirt and matching pants.

Evans faces six charges. Prosecutors allege he expected $2,000 a month for his services. According to court documents, Evans said it was necessary to use his influence over the youngsters early in their college careers because many of them are "one and done," meaning they play one year of college ball before joining the NBA.

Evans was specifically told not to have contact with agent Christian Dawkins, financial adviser Munish Sood, Arizona assistant coach Emanuel Richardson and Southern California assistant Anthony Bland. Evans, a Bahamas native, was told to surrender his passport.

Evans' bond was $50,000. He left the courthouse with lawyer, Trace Morgan, who said he did not have a statement. His next appearance will be Oct. 10 in New York.

Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder released a statement saying he was "shocked" by the allegations and learned about them through media reports. He called them "serious" and said they violate what the school stands for. He said Oklahoma State will cooperate with federal officials and coordinate with the NCAA in looking into the matter.

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5:45 p.m.

UConn coach Kevin Ollie says a federal fraud and bribery scandal implicating several universities and coaches is a "dark day in our great game."

Ollie says it's his responsibility to make sure his staff understands and abides by the rules of recruiting.

He says: "I will take the 2014 championship over any recruit I lost."

UConn Athletic Director David Benedict, who was hired in 2016 after being chief operating officer in Auburn's athletic department, says he was shocked and saddened by the allegations against Auburn.

Federal prosecutors say Auburn associate head coach Chuck Person accepted $91,500 in bribes to steer clients to a financial adviser when they reached the NBA.

Benedict says the scandal could be unprecedented in NCAA history.

Benedict says he would not like to hear "I don't know" from a coach as a reason for something his assistant coaches did, saying it is the head coach's responsibility to know.

Benedict said the involvement of shoe companies, AAU coaches and others has made recruiting challenging.

He says he hopes that "maybe this is a turning point to be able to clean this part of men's college basketball up."

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5:30 p.m.

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey says if allegations of fraud are true, they "reveal alarming activities within the sport of basketball."

Sankey issued a statement a day after Auburn associate head coach Chuck Person was among those arrested in a fraud investigation into college basketball.

He says the depth of the problem is still uncertain but things need to be corrected to keep basketball and college athletics healthy. Sankey says the alleged activities hurt those who recruit the right way.

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5 p.m.

Apparel company Adidas has placed an executive on leave after his arrest in a fraud investigation of college basketball.

The sneaker and sportwear giant said Wednesday that it has hired an outside lawyer to conduct a corporate investigation and intends to cooperate with authorities.

James Gatto, the company's director of global sports marketing for basketball, is accused of working with coaches at Louisville and Miami to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to players to get them to commit to the schools.

Authorities say they have records of two phone conversations between Gatto and a Louisville coach days before Brian Bowen committed to playing for the school. Prosecutors say Bowen and his family received $100,000 from Adidas to play for Louisville.

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4:45 p.m.

Auburn is refunding season tickets to some fans after a college basketball assistant coach was arrested on fraud charges in a sweeping investigation of the sport.

Athletic department spokeswoman Cassie Arner said Wednesday that Auburn has granted refunds to about 30 fans who requested them after the arrest of associate head coach Chuck Person.

The refunds come two days after the school announced a fourth consecutive sellout for the program.

Person has been suspended without pay after federal prosecutors said he accepted about $91,500 in bribes to steer clients to Pittsburgh-based financial adviser Martin Blazer when they reached the NBA. It left considerable uncertainty around coach Bruce Pearl's program, which had approached the season with high hopes.

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3 p.m.

An attorney for Miami coach Jim Larranaga says Larranaga has no involvement with any accusations in a federal probe of college basketball recruiting at seven universities.

Miami and Larranaga acknowledged the investigation into alleged bribery of recruits, which implicated the Hurricanes program.

Larranaga's attorney Stuart Grossman says Larranaga "is unfamiliar with this matter and had zero involvement in any allegations of any impropriety."

Grossman says Larranaga will continue to lead the team.

Athletic director Blake James also issued a statement saying the school was aware of the indictments in the case, and would cooperate with any review of the matter.

Federal prosecutors say among several allegations that at least three top high school recruits were promised payments of as much as $150,000, using money supplied by Adidas, to attend two universities sponsored by the athletic shoe company. Court papers didn't name those schools but contained enough details to identify them as Miami and Louisville.

Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave.

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2:20 p.m.

Auburn has hired a Birmingham law firm to conduct a review of the basketball program after the arrest of assistant coach Chuck Person on fraud charges.

A university spokesman said Wednesday that Lightfoot, Franklin and White will conduct the review. The firm is already investigating the softball program following a Title IX sexual discrimination complaint from a former player.

Person was among four college coaches and others arrested Tuesday. Auburn has suspended the former NBA player and Tigers star without pay.

Prosecutors say Person, Auburn's associate head coach, accepted about $91,500 in bribes to steer clients to Pittsburgh-based financial adviser Martin Blazer when they reached the NBA.

Federal Judge Wallace Capel Jr. in Alabama Middle District Court ordered Person to appear in New York's Southern District on Oct. 10.

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2 p.m.

The head of the National Association of Basketball Coaches says the group will pursue reforms if a federal probe show a need within the sport.

Executive Director Jim Haney said Wednesday that the allegations of recruiting improprieties at seven universities "have shaken the game and the coaching profession to the core."

Haney says coaches hold themselves to high ethical standards as role models and leaders.

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1:15 p.m.

Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach's attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has "effectively fired" Pitino.

Pitino's exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men's program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director's nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

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1 p.m.

Rick Pitino's attorney has told the Courier-Journal that Louisville has put the basketball coach on administrative leave, but has "effectively fired" Pitino amid a federal bribery investigation.

Steve Spence told the paper Tuesday the coach was out before a scheduled news conference at the school.

Pitino's exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men's program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

But it is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions handed out in June following an escort scandal.

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12 p.m.

The FBI says Oklahoma State assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans has surrendered to federal authorities in allegations that he took bribes to influence star athletes.

FBI special agent Jessica Rice says Evans surrendered to federal marshals early Wednesday on federal corruption charges following an investigation into the criminal influence of money on coaches and players in the NCAA.

Rice says Evans is scheduled to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Charles Goodwin about 3 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the papers, Evans expected $2,000 a month for his services. Evans said it was necessary to use his influence over the youngsters early in their college careers because many of them are "one and done," meaning they play one year of college ball before joining the NBA, according to court papers.

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11:45 a.m.

Louisville has scheduled a news conference during which officials are expected to address the university's involvement in a federal bribery investigation, the latest scandal involving the Cardinals men's basketball program.

Cardinals coach Rick Pitino is not mentioned in the federal indictment announced Tuesday that resulted in the arrest of 10 people, including four assistant basketball coaches at major Division I programs. The investigation and arrests come as Pitino and Louisville are appealing NCAA sanctions following a sex scandal that began nearly two years ago.

In the latest investigation, federal prosecutors say at least three top high school recruits were promised payments of as much as $150,000, using money supplied by Adidas, to attend two universities sponsored by the athletic shoe company. Court papers didn't name the schools but contained enough details to identify one of them as Louisville.

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More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

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