LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas was not contacted by any government agency throughout a three-year FBI probe that resulted Tuesday in multiple arrests and sent shock waves across college basketball, an athletic department official told The Topeka Capital-Journal.
Four college basketball assistant coaches and one high-profile Adidas employee were among the 10 arrested Tuesday morning on federal corruption charges, accused of funneling money to recruits and later steering them toward apparel companies, financial advisers and sports agents.
James Gatto, director of global marketing for Adidas, was one of the individuals arrested and named in three separate cases announced by the U.S. Department of Justice. KU, one of 10 schools in Power Five conferences with an Adidas partnership, on Friday announced the framework of a 12-year extension with the athletic apparel powerhouse that will provide $191 million in sponsorship and apparel through the 2030-31 season.
Gatto, however, was not involved in negotiating the extension and his name is not on the contract, according to KU assistant athletic director Jim Marchiony, who also confirmed KU hadn’t been contacted by any government agency as of 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Kansas City Star first reported Gatto’s non-involvement in the KU extension.
The last three tweets posted to Gatto’s Twitter account all referenced KU, alarming some on social media.
Asked for a message to any fans uneasy about Tuesday’s news given the program’s connection to Adidas — only 15.4 percent of Power Five programs use the apparel company, with KU and Indiana arguably the most high-profile in men’s basketball — Marchiony cited KU’s lack of contact with any government agency.
“I think the answer that I gave about the fact that no federal authorities have contacted us about this case, I’m just going to let that answer speak for itself,” Marchiony said.
Marchiony said KU is “aware of” and “monitoring” the ongoing investigation but refused to speculate on the long-term implications of Tuesday’s news for college athletics.
Gatto is accused of funneling and disguising upwards of $100,000 to various parties, according to a news conference statement made Tuesday by Joon H. Kim, the acting U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.
Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans — previously an assistant under Frank Martin at Kansas State — is among the four assistants arrested on charges of fraud and corruption, with Auburn’s Chuck Person, Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson and USC’s Tony Bland rounding out the group.
The coaches, who face a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison, have each been charged with bribery conspiracy, solicitation of bribes, honest services fraud conspiracy, honest service fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and Travel Act conspiracy.