Jim Gatto's Attorney: Oregon Offered Brian Bowen 'Astronomical Amount of Money'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2018

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 17:  Brian Bowen #16 participates in drills during Day One of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest MultiSport Complex on May 17, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Former Adidas executive Jim Gatto has implicated the Oregon Ducks in the recruitment scandal involving 2017 5-star recruit Brian Bowen.

According to Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel, Gatto's attorney said Tuesday at trial that Oregon put "an astronomical amount of money" in front of Bowen in order to secure his commitment. Bowen signed with the Louisville Cardinals but left the school in January in the wake of the scandal.

The trial may have consequences that reach far beyond Oregon and Louisville, per Wetzel and the New York Times' Adam Zagoria:

Silvio De Sousa was the No. 32 player overall in the 2017 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings, and signed with the Kansas Jayhawks. Nassir Little, a member of the North Carolina Tar Heels, was the third-best player overall in the 2018 class.

Wetzel also reported Gatto's attorney said the family of Dennis Smith Jr. received $40,000 during his time with North Carolina State. Smith spent one season in Raleigh before going to the NBA, where the Dallas Mavericks selected him ninth overall.

The allegations against Oregon come at an inopportune time for the school.

USA Today's Dan Wolken noted the NCAA is already looking at the basketball program for separate issues. The Oregonian's Tyson Alger and Andrew Greif reported last December "noncoaching staff members were found to have participated in on-court activities and workouts," which ran afoul of NCAA rules regarding the number of coaches a team can have.

Last September, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Gatto and four others with wire fraud and money laundering. According to ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach, prosecutors allege Gatto helped direct $100,000 to the father of a star recruit "at the request of a Louisville coach." At the time, Schlabach wrote the player was likely Bowen, who denied having any knowledge of the plan.

Stadium's Jeff Goodman reported Bowen's father will testify at the trial as a witness for the government. As part of his agreement, prosecutors won't press charges against him.

Partially due to fallout from the scandal, Louisville fired head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

Bowen transferred to South Carolina but didn't play a game for the Gamecocks. He kept his name in the 2018 draft pool after the NCAA told him he'd have to sit out the entire 2018-19 season while it determined a final ruling on his eligibility. 

Shortly thereafter, Bowen withdrew from the draft and signed with the Sydney Kings of Australia's National Basketball League.

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