Federal Indictment of Adidas Exec Suggests Rick Pitino Knew of Alleged Bribery

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 19:  Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals reacts to their 69-73 loss to the Michigan Wolverines during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 19, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

A federal indictment released Wednesday detailing allegations against Adidas executive Jim Gatto suggests former Louisville coach Rick Pitino participated in the program's plan to pay recruit Brian Bowen to attend the school.

Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com obtained the indictment, which included a July 27 meeting in Las Vegas to discuss paying Bowen. Former AAU basketball coach Christian Dawkins and a Louisville assistant coach were recorded by FBI investigators implicating Pitino.

"Dawkins explained that while [Pitino] and the University of Louisville were recruiting [Bowen], Dawkins asked [Pitino] to call James Gatto to request that [Adidas] provide the money requested by the family of [Bowen], which [Pitino] agreed to do," the indictment reads.

The original complaint did not include information that Pitino agreed to paying Bowen, which gave him plausible deniability.

"Dawkins said he had spoken with Coach-2 [who has been reported to be Pitino] about getting additional money for [Bowen's] family and informed [Pitino] that 'I need you to call Jim Gatto, who's the head of everything' at [Adidas'] basketball program," the complaint read.

Pitino, 65, was placed on administrative leave Sept. 27 after the Department of Justice announced a federal corruption investigation into college basketball. The school fired Pitino with cause Oct. 16. Pitino has denied all wrongdoing.

"As I've previously stated, I had no knowledge of any payments to any recruit or their family," Pitino said in a statement. "But I was the head coach and I will take ownership of my decisions. The University took the action they thought was necessary and I will do the same."

Pitino has also said he was unaware of any plan to pay Bowen, who is currently suspended.

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