Former Penn HC Jerome Allen Given 15-Year Show Cause for Accepting $250K Bribe

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IFebruary 26, 2020

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 10:  Assistant coach Jerome Allen of the Boston Celtics looks on against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on January 10, 2019 in Miami, Florida. 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 Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The NCAA announced a hefty punishment against the University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team and former head coach Jerome Allen on Wednesday. 

The NCAA committee on infractions handed Allen a 15-year show-cause order that requires any NCAA school that may employ him during that time to "restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply." Any employing university must also suspend Allen for the first 50 percent of the season if he is a coach.

Allen was found to have taken at least $250,000 in bribe money from Philip Esformes, the father of a prospect, between 2013 and 2015. He was fired by Penn in March 2015, prior to this scandal becoming public, after serving as head coach since 2010. Allen had also played at the university from 1991-95, winning Ivy League Player of the Year twice.

The NCAA handed Penn two years of probation, a three-week ban on all men's basketball recruiting activities beginning in May and a seven-day reduction in men's basketball recruiting-person days. 

The NCAA further explained its decision-making:

"The university and NCAA enforcement staff agreed the former coach's actions resulted in multiple tryout and recruiting contact violations in addition to accepting the supplemental pay without reporting it as athletically related income while employed at the university.

[...]

"The agreement said the former coach’s uncontested violations are classified as Level I-aggravated because the violations include unethical conduct that shows a reckless indifference to NCAA rules and seriously undermines college athletics."

Allen pleaded guilty to a bribery-related laundering charge in Oct. 2018 in Miami federal court, as Esformes was a Miami Beach businessman under investigation for executing the largest health care fraud scheme in U.S. Justice Department history. 

Allen was sentenced last summer to four years probation with six months of house arrest. U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams also ordered the 47-year-old to serve 600 hours of community service and pay $202,000 in fines, including $18,000 in forfeiture to the U.S. government.

Esformes was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison last September. Allen received a lighter sentence because he agreed to testify against Esformes as a government witness.

"I accepted the money to help Morris Esformes get into the school," Allen testified during the March 2019 trial. "I got his son into Penn. I got his son into Wharton. None of that would have happened without me."

Allen has been an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics since the 2015-16 NBA season. 

Penn went 65-104 in Allen's tenure, finishing above .500 just once when the Quakers went 20-13 in 2011-12.

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