Federal Court Upholds Christian Dawkins, Merl Code Convictions in CBB Bribery Case

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 4, 2021

FILE - In this March 18, 2015, file photo, the NCAA logo is displayed at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, for the NCAA college basketball tournament. The NCAA is opening a door for states with legalized sports gambling to host NCAA championship events. The governing body for college sports on Thursday, May 17, 2018, announced a "temporary" lifting of a ban that prevented events like college basketball's NCAA Tournament from being hosted in states that accept wagers on single games. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld 2019 convictions against Christian Dawkins and Merl Code as part of the fallout of the FBI's investigation into men's college basketball corruption.

According to Larry Neumeister of the Associated Press, Dawkins was convicted of bribery and both were convicted on a single conspiracy count.

Code was sentenced to three months in prison, and Dawkins was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. 

This is not the first time the convictions have been upheld. The appeals court also upheld Dawkins' and Code's 2018 convictions at a separate trial in which they were each sentenced to six months in prison.

The overarching investigation centered around the practice of financial advisers and business managers paying college coaches and athletes' families in an effort to steer the players toward certain colleges with sponsorship deals with apparel companies.

Prosecutors painted the actual schools as victims of the practice, while defense lawyers said they were complicit.

Neumeister noted "the 2nd Circuit said Congress purposefully wrote the law broadly to preserve the integrity of organizations that receive federal dollars by outlawing bribery, and it is not the role of courts to interpret it in a restrictive manner."

There has been plenty of fallout from the FBI's investigation into college basketball.

USC received two years of probation and multiple recruiting restrictions, and the NCAA issued five Level 1 charges against Arizona. One of those charges was a lack of head-coach responsibility charge against former head coach Sean Miller.

Miller has since been fired, and Arizona self imposed a one-year postseason ban for the 2020-21 season.

The NCAA also gave Oklahoma State a postseason ban for the same season, but it ultimately played in the NCAA men's tournament while they were in the appeal process.


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