Brian Bowen Sr. accuses colleges of offering money, inappropriate benefits for his son to attend


NEW YORK – Brian Bowen Sr., who is accused of agreeing to a payment scheme for the game to receive $ 100,000 from Adidas to send his son to the University of Louisville, broke down while testifying Thursday in a federal criminal case involving bribes and other acts of corruption in college basketball.

In the first 10 minutes of Bowen’s testimony, Assistant US attorney Edward Diskant asked him about his son, Brian Bowen II, who is also known as the “Tugs.”

“Is Tugs in college now?” Diskant asked.

“Uh, no he’s not,” Bowen Sr. replied.

“Why isn’t he in college?” Diskant asked.

At this point, Bowen Sr. was overcome with emotion and began to cry as he sat in the witness stand. He cried for a few minutes and breathed heavily into the microphone until Diskant asked U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan for a break. As the jurors left the courtroom, Bowen Sr. turned away from them and wiped his face with a tissue.

Brian Bowen II is currently playing professionally in Australia.

Soon after Bowen Sr. returned to the stand about 20 minutes later, he was quick to accuse a handful of universities, including Arizona, Creighton, Oklahoma State and Texas. , for offering her tens of thousands of dollars in cash and other inappropriate benefits for her son to play basketball at these schools.

“The schools would give me money for a top player like my son to go to school,” Bowen Sr. said.

He said Christian Dawkins, one of three defendants in the wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud criminal trial, forwarded him the alleged offers from the assistant coaches. Dawkins and Bowen grew up together in Saginaw, Michigan, and have a long friendship.

Adidas executive James Gatto and former Adidas Merl Code consultant are also charged in this case and, along with Dawkins, are accused of conspiring to influence players to sign with Adidas sponsored schools, Kansas, Louisville. , Miami and NC State. Each of the three men pleaded not guilty.

According to Bowen Sr., Dawkins told him that Arizona assistant coach Joe Pasternack had offered $ 50,000; Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans offered $ 150,000 in cash, $ 8,000 for a car and extra money to buy a house; Texas assistant coach Mike Morrell has offered to “help me with the accommodation”; and Creighton’s assistant coach Preston Murphy donated $ 100,000 and “good work, lucrative work.”

Pasternack is now the head coach of UC Santa Barbara; Evans is one of three former assistant coaches indicted in a separate federal case and charged with accepting bribes from Dawkins and others to influence players to sign with certain agents and financial advisers; Morrell is now the head coach at UNC-Asheville; Murphy, originally from Saginaw, is still employed at Creighton.

Texas and Creighton released statements Friday that internal reviews showed no evidence to support what Bowen said in court.

“Our compliance office conducted a review and found no information to corroborate recent testimony in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York,” Chris Del Conte, AD Texas, said in a statement that did not mentioned no name. will monitor information arising from legal proceedings and will continue to cooperate fully in the event of an NCAA request. “

Creighton said he takes the allegations very seriously “but is” confident that coach Greg McDermott and his team members uphold the highest standards of integrity in recruiting.

UCSB athletics spokesman Bill Mahoney said school officials “were not aware” of statements made in court regarding Pasternack before Thursday and that they did not. not been contacted by federal investigators involved in the trial.

Arizona officials have yet to respond to messages left by ESPN. The state of Oklahoma has said it will not comment until the investigation is complete.

Regarding Oregon, which defense attorneys said in opening statements offered “an astronomical sum of money” for Bowen II, Bowen Sr. said, “I don’t remember.”

Bowen Sr. said he spoke to a few coaches when recruiting his son, but not the financial offers, which are a violation of NCAA rules.

Bowen Sr., a former Saginaw police officer, who appeared in court after the government offered him a no-prosecution deal in exchange for his testimony, also detailed various payments made to him over the course of his career. son in high school.

Bowen Sr. told the jury that he received $ 2,000 a month from Shane Heirman for Bowen II to attend La Lumière School in LaPorte, Indiana. Heirman was the head coach of La Lumière at the time and is now an assistant coach at DePaul.

Bowen II started his high school career playing for Dawkins’ Dorian’s Pride AAU program, but moved to the Michigan Mustangs on the Adidas circuit after Adidas program director TJ Gassnola offered Bowen Sr. $ 25,000. for his son to play for the Mustangs.

Gassnola, a young basketball manager from Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in May to one count of wire fraud conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the federal government investigation. He is expected to testify at trial next week.

Diskant posted transaction records showing two separate payments totaling $ 4,000 from Dawkins to Bowen Sr., as well as a check for $ 2,000 from Adidas executive Chris Rivers to Bowen Sr. Rivers noted on the check that the payment was for a consulting fee, but Bowen Sr. said he had never done consulting work for the sneaker company.

Bowen Sr. also said he received cash payments from Dawkins and Rivers.

Bowen II left the Mustangs for the Nike Tour, choosing to play for Chicago’s Mean Streets program. Mean Streets offered Bowen Sr. between $ 5,000 and $ 8,000 to have Bowen II play for them, Bowen Sr. told the jury, and he rejected an offer of $ 18,000 from Spiece, another AAU sponsored program. by Nike in Indiana.

As of spring 2017, Louisville was not involved in recruiting Bowen II, and he had never been on campus. His son preferred Arizona, Bowen Sr. said, but they feared more experienced players might get ahead of him.

“Louisville offered him a scholarship as a freshman, but they weren’t counted,” Bowen Sr. said. “We didn’t really talk to them.

After Allonzo Trier and Rawle alkins returned to Arizona for the 2017-18 season and Donovan mitchell left Louisville for the NBA, Bowen Sr. said Dawkins approached him about the possibility of Bowen II playing for the Cardinals.

Diskant showed the jury text messages between Bowen Sr. and former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino on May 24, 2017, with Bowen Sr. asking Pitino to speak to his son.

The government also released a voicemail message that Gatto left in Pitino on May 27, 2017.

“I just got a call about a player I want to discuss with you,” Gatto said.

On May 29, 2017, Bowen II, his mother and father, his friend and Dawkins made an unofficial visit to Louisville.

Bowen Sr. told the jury that Dawkins paid for the visit.

On June 1, 2017, Bowen II enlisted in Louisville and signed a financial aid agreement with the school.

Shortly after, Gatto left another voicemail message for Pitino, according to the government.

“Coach, Gatto,” he said. ” I hope everything is okay. Registration. I’ve heard the good news, uh, and it’s gonna be good, and I’m excited for you guys. “

After Adidas officials made an initial offer of $ 60,000 to $ 80,000, according to Dawkins, Bowen Sr. said the offer to attend Louisville was increased to $ 100,000 because Dawkins alleged that Billy Preston, who had chosen to play in Kansas, had received $ 100,000 from Adidas for his engagement.

The money was to be paid in four installments of $ 25,000.

Earlier Thursday, the government said former Louisville associate head coach Kenny Johnson paid Bowen Sr. $ 1,300 and former Louisville assistant coach Jordan Fair paid $ 900 to one. another recruit. Johnson is now an assistant at La Salle.

John Carns, Louisville’s senior associate athletic director for compliance, told the jury he was unaware of the payouts at the time.

Paula Lavigne of ESPN contributed to this report.

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