Adidas Suing Brian Bowen II's Dad, Ex-Adviser, Consultant for Alleged Conspiracy

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 24: Brian Bowen II #10 of the Indiana Pacers warms up before the game against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 24, 2020 in San Francisco, California. 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 Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Adidas filed cross-claims against Brian Bowen Sr., former consultant T.J. Gassnola and financial planner Munish Sood alleging a conspiracy to use the company's money to convince college basketball prospects to sign with Adidas-sponsored schools. 

ESPN's Mark Schlabach reported Friday that Adidas' filing, which is a response to a legal complaint from former Louisville commit and current Indiana Pacers guard Brian Bowen II, accuses his father and the other defendants of violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by committing wire fraud as well as conspiracy and fraud.

Schlabach provided a portion of the court documents Adidas filed in South Carolina:

"Throughout Brian Bowen Jr.'s high school career, his father, Brian Bowen Sr., solicited and accepted money in return for promising that his son would play basketball for specific schools and programs. In each instance that Bowen Sr. took money for his son's services, Bowen Jr. in fact played or committed to play for a particular team.

"Some of the funds Bowen Sr. received were misappropriated from Adidas America, Inc. as part of a larger scheme. In this scheme, former Adidas employees and other individuals misappropriated funds to pay families of high school athletes, like Bowen Jr., in exchange for those athletes committing to play for certain schools and programs. The participants in this scheme did not act on behalf of Adidas or for its interests. To the contrary, the participants worked together to submit, and cause to be submitted, fraudulent invoices to obtain funds from Adidas."

Bowen committed to Louisville in June 2017. The school announced that January he wouldn't play for the Cardinals amid questions about the nature of his commitment, which sparked an FBI investigation and led to the departure of head coach Rick Pitino.

He enrolled at South Carolina in January 2018, but the NCAA ruled he'd be ineligible for the 2018-19 season "at minimum" while it continued to review the situation.

Bowen instead opted to keep his name in the 2019 NBA draft class but went undrafted.

The 21-year-old Michigan native signed with the Pacers in July 2019. He's made five appearances for Indiana during the current campaign while also spending time with the G League's Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

In March, U.S. District Court judge Joseph Anderson Jr. ruled Bowen's lawsuit against Adidas could move forward, shooting down an effort from the apparel company to dismiss the complaint, per Schlabach.

"Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, this Court finds that the Plaintiff has adequately pleaded that Adidas had knowledge of the true purpose of the invoices," Anderson wrote. "This Court declines to accept, especially at this stage in the proceedings, Defendant Adidas' contention that it did not or could not know the true purpose of these funds because the invoices were not labeled as a 'bribe.'"

Bowen's father testified during the college basketball corruption trial in October 2018, saying "I still think my son is a victim, and I always will."