Last September, the Department of Justice announced that it had brought fraud and corruption charges against ten people associated with college basketball programs, including basketball coaches, a financial advisor, agents, and a representative from a shoe company, based on a multi-year FBI investigation.
Just a few weeks ago, Yahoo! Sports reporters reviewed hundreds of documents from the government’s investigation and reported that the documents show allegedly illegal payments to players and coaches from over 20 basketball programs. Schools named in the investigation include some of the most prominent Division I programs in the sport.
Some of the affected schools have reacted to the report by terminating coaches and suspending players. And the President of the NCAA has said that the allegations may be evidence of “systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now.” Some schools have reported that they have begun their own internal reviews.
The Department of Justice is not likely finished with its investigation. The NCAA will no doubt be pursuing its own review and investigation of several member institutions’ athletic programs beyond those implicated to date.
For this reason, universities’ leadership should be prepared for continuing government and NCAA inquiries, from subpoenas to less formal requests for information. Engaging experienced white collar defense counsel with knowledge of collegiate athletics and the methods of DOJ and NCAA investigators is a prudent, proactive first step for universities in this current environment.
Counsel with experience in both the collegiate athletics and in responding to government investigations can assist you if you are looking to commence a review of internal conduct, respond to a subpoena, or if you are looking for counseling as to the consequences of an actual or potential investigation.