Eugene – So what exactly is going on with an actual FBI investigation reportedly looming over the locked and loaded Oregon Men’s basketball squad?
A criminal case involving an Adidas executive by the name of James Gatto got underway last week in New York. Gatto was accused of plotting to pay up to $100,000 to ensure that Brian Bowen, a 5-star talent and former Oregon target, ended up playing for an Adidas-sponsored school. Along with Adidas, several marquee basketball schools have also become involved with the investigation into corrupt practices within NCAA basketball.
While arguing that there was a bidding war in the works to land Bowen, Gatto’s attorney brought up UO in a statement, claiming that they’d offered Bowen an “astronomical” amount of money to attend their Nike-sponsored school. Similar to the allegations against University of Arizona in their pursuit of 5-star prospect and 2018 #1 NBA draft pick DeAndre Ayton.
University of Oregon spokesman Tobin Klinger issued a statement claiming that Oregon is aware of the allegations and would monitor the proceedings. No answers to further questions about Oregon’s involvement in the trial were offered.
Dana Altman himself chose to respond more bluntly, stating that Oregon does not pay players and that they “never have” and “never will”.
Brian Bowen Sr., hammered with questions regarding his son’s recruitment, said that he did not recall ever receiving a $3,000 payment from Oregon during Bowen’s unofficial visit to Eugene last year. Ducks assistant Tony Stubblefield was the individual accused of arranging the payment with Bowen Sr. but although he acknowledged Stubblefield’s presence at the visit, he stuck to his previous statement when apparently offered transcripts of him previously stating contrary.
For the NCAA to investigate further into these claims against Oregon it would also have to look into any other school involved of accusations of payment to student-athletes, including the aforementioned Arizona and Lousiville, which secured Bowen’s commitment but never actually procured his services on the hardwood. Bowen was never permitted to play due to the investigation, and currently plays professionally in Australia.
As it would seem so far, the NCAA does not seem interested in conducting its own investigation into the matter, and the federal investigation has not uncovered anything that would affect Altman and his 2018-2019 squad.
Essentially, there is no further involvement of UO in this case right now. Hopefully it stays that way.