By MARK SCHLABACH via ESPN
Federal authorities have given NCAA officials their approval to move ahead with an investigation of alleged rules violations that came to light during the first of three federal criminal trials involving pay-for-play schemes and other corruption in college basketball, ESPN has confirmed.
During last month’s trials in New York, evidence and testimony were presented that alleged potential rules violations involving coaches and players at Arizona, Creighton, Kansas, Louisville, LSU, NC State, Oklahoma State, Oregon and other programs.
ESPN reported in February that as many as three dozen Division I programs, including many of the sport’s traditional powers, might be facing NCAA sanctions once the federal government releases information that it acquired during its clandestine, three-year investigation.
Among the most revealing evidence turned over to the NCAA, according to documents obtained by Outside the Lines, is a business plan that aspiring agent Christian Dawkins emailed to his business partners on Sept. 5, 2017.
In a five-page document, Dawkins shared his plan to make monthly payments of thousands of dollars and provide other benefits to players at nearly one dozen Division I schools, as well as a handful of the country’s top prospects for 2019 and 2020.
Dawkins, Adidas executive James Gatto and former Adidas consultant Merl Code were convicted of felony conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud during last month’s trial.
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osborne would not confirm whether the NCAA is preparing to begin an investigation into what already has come to light.
“We can’t comment on current, past or potential investigations,” Osborne said.
Yahoo! Sports first reported details of the NCAA investigation on Tuesday night.
Federal prosecutors have released only a portion of their evidence to the NCAA. There are additional federal criminal trials involving alleged college basketball corruption scheduled in February and April.
In the email Dawkins sent to his business partner Munish Sood, he detailed payment plans for players at Alabama, Arizona, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Mississippi State, Oregon, USC and Xavier, some of which were to begin in September 2017.
Dawkins was among 10 men arrested by federal authorities on Sept. 26, 2017. There is no evidence that any of the payments were actually made before his arrest or that any of the players had knowledge of the pay-for-play schemes.
ESPN attempted to contact each of the players included in the business plan through their respective agents, schools or other contacts.
In the email, which was included in the evidentiary files from the corruption trial, Dawkins detailed his blueprint for his fledgling sports management agency Loyd Inc., which was an acronym for Living Out Your Dreams. It included an ambitious plan to provide cash and other improper benefits to a wide network of players still in college and high school.
“We want to be a one stop shop for everything,” Dawkins wrote in the email. “We will take a majority interest in a Sports Agency, where we partner with certified agents, who we will then have our players sign to. The certified agency will essentially be our sister company. This way we can charge 3% on the team contract, 20% on the marketing, 5% on accounting and 5% on investment return. If we have a player on a [$]50 million deal for 4 years who’s also making $500,000 a year in marketing, we should generate [$2 million] over those 4 years off of one player.”
In the email, Dawkins advised his partners that he had deals in place with three players who had recently turned pro — Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame, Creighton’s Justin Patton and Xavier’s Edmond Sumner.
Dawkins also listed 19 “prospective players” who were either in college or high school. Among them were Alabama’s Collin Sexton, Mississippi State’s Lamar Peters, Oregon’s Troy Brown Jr., Arizona’s Rawle Alkins, Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans, Louisville’s Ray Spalding and V.J. King, Miami’s Dewan Huell (now Hernandez), LSU’s Brandon Sampson, USC’s De’Anthony Melton, Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett and Kentucky’s Jarred Vanderbilt.
The business plan included intricate payment details for several of the players and their families, and it revealed myriad people who might have had financial stakes in their potential NBA careers. As part of the proposed deals, Dawkins had apparently offered or was prepared to offer employment with Loyd Inc. to mentors, coaches, siblings, cousins and other associates of the players.
He’d already settled on five people to work as managers for Loyd Inc., including Kendall Patton, Justin Patton’s twin brother; Andrew Mitchell, a former Xavier walk-on and Sumner’s roommate; Anthony Brown, Oregon star Troy Brown’s mentor; and Rodney Labossiere, Alkins’ cousin.
According to the business plan, Dawkins proposed making the following payments to players and/or their families:
• Providing Alabama star Collin Sexton $1,500 each month from September 2017 until April 2018, plus $23,000 in travel expenses for his family. His brother, Jordan Sexton, was also going to receive a four-year contract from the company worth a total of $170,000.
Sexton spent one season with the Crimson Tide before the Cleveland Cavaliers selected him with the eighth pick in June’s NBA draft.
“We will receive 3% on team contract, 20% on marketing deals, 5% on accounting work, 5% of investment work,” Dawkins wrote in the email. “For example if in year 5 he is making $15,000,000 on the court, $1,000,000 of [sic] the court, and has $5,000,000 saved – LOYD Inc. will gross $750,000.”
Dawkins’ phone records from May 3, 2017, to July 2, 2017, which were also released by federal prosecutors, included 15 calls to a number belonging to the Sexton family.
• According to the email, Dawkins planned to give Vanderbilt’s family $30,000 in travel expenses to watch him play for the Wildcats last season, plus his father was going to get a $25,000 signing bonus when his son turned pro.
“Brother Jamal and dad will also be a part of the deal, and receive 25% of our income on all sides,” Dawkins wrote.
Dawkins proposed giving Vanderbilt a $100,000 line of credit and $25,000 advance on his marketing revenue if he was projected as a lottery pick at the end of the 2017-18 season.
Vanderbilt played in only 14 games for the Wildcats because of a foot injury and was a second-round pick of the Magic.
• Troy Brown, who played one season at Oregon and was the No. 15 pick by the Wizards this year, wasn’t going to receive monthly payments, according to Dawkins’ proposal. But Dawkins did request $5,000 to purchase Floyd Mayweather fight tickets for Brown.
Dawkins also planned to hire Brown’s mentor, Anthony Brown (no relation), a club director for the Las Vegas Prospects, as one of Loyd Inc.’s managers.
Dawkins’ phone records from May 3, 2017 to July 2, 2017 included 30 calls to a number belonging to Anthony Brown.
“His advisor upon signing will sign on to work with us,” Dawkins wrote. “He will want to receive a signing bonus for the kid signing and 50% of all revenue we will make off the kid going forward, as well as other players moving forward. If player is a Top 5 pick, advisor wants $100,000 signing bonus. If top 10 pick, $75,000. If top 15 pick, $60,000. If top 20 pick, $50,000 …”
Anthony Brown didn’t respond to voice messages and emails from ESPN.
• Dawkins proposed paying Lamar Peters, now a junior guard at Mississippi State, monthly payments of $2,500 from September 2017 until April 2018, and also noted that “if he stays in school a 2nd year we will have to continue to pay.”
Dawkins also wrote that Peters’ advisor, New Orleans Elite director Greg Holmes, had signed to work with Loyd Inc.
“[His] advisor will get 25% of net income we generate off of Lamar and any player he brings in moving forward,” Dawkins wrote. “In advisor agreement, he will receive a signing bonus for delivering a first round pick of $10,000, $2,000 for a second round pick.”
Holmes told ESPN that he’d signed an agreement with Dawkins to manage NBA players but wasn’t interested in recruiting high school or college players to the firm. He said he’d arranged a meeting between Dawkins and Peters in 2017 but discouraged Peters from agreeing to accept money from Dawkins.
“I didn’t have any interest in recruiting players or bringing anybody in,” Holmes said. “I was going to be part of his management team, not recruiting high school kids to come to his firm. That’s why it never materialized. Thank God it didn’t.”
• Dawkins wrote that he planned to pay Arizona’s Rawle Alkins $2,500 per month from September 2017 through April 2018, plus $30,000 in travel expenses for his family. He also wanted to give his cousin, Rodney Labossiere, a four-year deal to work as a manager.
“Rodney will get 25% of net income we generate from Rawle as well as additional players he brings in moving forward,” Dawkins wrote.
“Rodney has a bonus structure in his contract as well for delivering players at [$]10,000 for a first round pick. $2,000 for a second round pick.”
Dawkins’ phone records show that there were 33 calls made to a number belonging to Labossiere from May 7, 2017, through July 2, 2017.
When reached by ESPN on Wednesday, Labossiere declined to comment. A payment schedule included in the business plan indicated Dawkins planned to make a $30,000 payment for “Rawle Alkins/Rodney Labossiere family travel to games” on Sept. 15, 2017.
• Dawkins proposed paying Louisville forward Spalding $2,000 per month from October 2017 to December 2017, then $3,000 per month until April 2018. He also planned to pay King $2,000 per month from October 2017 until April 2018, although he noted it “will be a messy situation in my opinion.”
Spalding left for the NBA draft following the 2017-18 season and was a second-round pick of the 76ers.
“Our university continually reviews the eligibility of all of its student-athletes,” a Louisville spokesman told ESPN. “We have reviewed information recently presented at the trial in New York and do not believe it affects any of our current student-athletes. We will continue to monitor any new information that becomes available.”
• Dawkins planned to pay Miami’s Huell (now Hernandez) $500 per month from September 2017 through January 2018, then $1,000 per month until April 2018. If Hernandez left Miami after the 2017-18 season, he wouldn’t have to pay the money back, according to the email. But if Hernandez elected to return to the Hurricanes for an additional season, the payments would be converted to a loan, according to the plan.
Hernandez returned to Miami after averaging 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds last season.
There were similar payment plans for Cincinnati’s Evans ($1,500 per month), LSU’s Sampson ($500 per month until December 2017, then $1,000 per month until April 2018) and Xavier’s Bluiett ($700 per month from September 2017 until April 2018).
• Melton was suspended by USC last season after the school determined that a close family friend received an extra benefit. Dawkins wrote that he wanted to give Melton $5,000 per month from September 2017 through April 2018 and a $20,000 signing bonus to his uncle in April 2018.
“Let’s try to stall on this deal after this next upcoming month,” Dawkins wrote in the email. “That is a lot of resources for one guy, when we have other elite players who won’t cost that much.”
• Dawkins indicated that Mitchell, whom he identified as Sumner’s godbrother and roommate, was recruiting Darius Bazley of Cincinnati, the No. 13 prospect in the 2018 ESPN 100. Bazley skipped college and recently opted for a three-month, $1 million internship with New Balance. He had previously committed to Syracuse.
Dawkins suggested paying Bazley $1,500 per month from September 2017 until April 2018, along with $20,000 in travel expenses for his family over 18 months.
• Dawkins didn’t only have his eyes on current college players. He also planned to recruit many of the country’s best high school prospects, including center James Wiseman of Memphis, the No. 1 prospect in the 2019 ESPN 100.
Dawkins recommended paying Wiseman $3,000 per month from October 2018 until October 2019, then $4,000 per month from October 2019 until April 2020.
Dawkins also planned to recruit 2019 point guard prospect Ashton Hagans of Cartersville, Georgia, who reclassified to the 2018 class and is a freshman at Kentucky. According to the email, Dawkins wanted to pay Hagans $2,000 per month from October 2017 to October 2018, then $3,000 monthly through April 2020.
• Dawkins endorsed even higher payments for a pair of 2020 point guard prospects: R.J. Hampton of Little Elm, Texas, and Jalen Suggs of Minneapolis.
He described Hampton as a “potential superstar, gamechanger” and wanted to pay him $4,000 monthly from September 2017 through September 2018, then $5,000 per month from September 2018 to September 2020.
Hampton’s father, Roderick Hampton, said he has never met Dawkins.
“I heard his name a lot, but I’ve never met him,” Hampton said. “I’m taking my ass to work everyday to make ends meet. I haven’t found the land of milk and honey yet, and I probably won’t find it anytime soon.”
Dawkins proposed the same payments for Suggs, whose father, Larry, couldn’t be reached for comment.
“If we have these two guys in the same year, we will control the [sneaker] market, which would give us upwards of ($)2 million a year in additional revenue by this time,” Dawkins wrote.
Dawkins’ attorney, Steven Haney, argued during the corruption trial that his client was only doing what he’d been taught to do as a runner for ASM Sports — and made some of the payments at the request of college coaches.
“Runners like Christian Dawkins were relationship guys, they were the go-betweens, taught and trained that their job was to take care of these families and provide them with the financial resources they needed, for the purpose of building relationships, trust and loyalty,” Haney told the jury.