TUCSON, Ariz. - A federal probe into alleged fraud and corruption within college basketball led to the arrest of University of Arizona assistant basketball coach, Emanuel “Book” Richardson, but court paperwork may suggest a bigger impact.
Documents show Richardson allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for using "his influence as a coach" to "persuade and pressure student-athletes" to retain particular representation once they turned pro.
The University of Arizona released a statement saying it was "appalled to learn of the allegations" against Richardson. University President Robert Robbins announced the university would conduct its own independent investigation and begin the process of firing him.
But one of the criminal complaint filed Monday reveal what could be another issue in Tucson. Wiretapped comments within the filed documents suggest University of Arizona was in a potential bidding war over a top recruit with another NCAA program.
The documents show in a wiretapped conversation, defendant Merl Code -- an Adidas executive at the center of the allegations -- discussed concerns of a top recruit going to a university sponsored by a rival athletic apparel company.
In the court paperwork, Code is quoted as saying "we're trying to keep him from going to one of their schools."
Code is shown conversing with others, including sports agent Christian Dawkins, about wanting to keep the recruit at "University 7", as court documents refer to the school, because "they really want the kid."
The other university was referred to as "University 4." According to Code's comments in the documents, "University 4" was offering the recruit $150,000 and if the school was willing to pay the full amount "then that's where the kid is going to go."
Court paperwork seems to imply "University 4" is the University of Arizona, saying Emanuel "Book" Richardson is an assistant coach for the men's basketball program "at University 4." U of A is also sponsored by Nike, a rival of Adidas.
The recruit is identified only as Player 12.
So far, Richardson is one of four assistant coaches from major programs to be named in the charges.