Louisville head coach out amid federal bribery investigation

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Rick Pitino's attorney has told the Courier-Journal that Louisville has put the basketball coach on administrative leave, but has "effectively fired" Pitino amid a federal bribery investigation.

Rick Pitino. (MGN/file)

Steve Spence told the paper Tuesday the coach was out before a scheduled news conference at the school.

Pitino's exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men's program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits.

The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

But it is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program.

Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions handed out in June following an escort scandal.

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Federal prosecutors announced charges of fraud and corruption in college basketball, including against four coaches Tuesday.

The four were among 10 people charged in New York City federal court.

The coaches identified in court papers are Auburn's Chuck Person, Arizona's Emanuel Richardson, Southern Cal's Tony Bland and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State.

Others included managers, financial advisers and representatives of a major international sportswear company.

Federal prosecutors say at least three top high school basketball players were promised payments of as much as $150,000 to attend two colleges that were sponsored by Adidas.

The criminal complaints filed with the court didn't name the schools but contained details that identified them as the University of Louisville and the University of Miami.

Investigators said some coaches at those schools encouraged those payments.

No one from the schools was charged.

They say the payments were orchestrated by an Adidas executive and business advisers who hoped to work with the players after they turned professional.

Louisville interim President Gregory Postel issued a statement calling the case a "serious concern" and pledging cooperation with any law enforcement or NCAA investigation.

A University of Miami spokesman says it couldn't comment.

The director of global sports marketing for Adidas is among those charged in the bribe-paying scheme.

James Gatto was arrested Tuesday along with nine others, including the assistant basketball coaches from Arizona, Auburn, the University of Southern California and Oklahoma State.

Adidas says it's unaware of any misconduct at its company in a college basketball bribe-paying scheme but will "fully cooperate with authorities."

In court papers, prosecutors said the FBI has since 2015 been investigating the criminal influence of money on charges and student-athletes who participate in intercollegiate basketball governed by the NCAA.

They said the probe has revealed numerous instances of bribes paid by athlete advisers, including financial advisers and associate basketball coaches, to assistant and associate basketball coaches to exert influence over student athletes.

The president of the NCAA says charges that bribes were exchanged to influence NBA-destined college stars' choice of schools, agents and financial advisers are "deeply disturbing."

Mark Emmert said Tuesday that the NCAA has "no tolerance whatsoever" for the behavior alleged by federal prosecutors.

Emmert says coaches hold a "unique position of trust" between players and their families and that the allegations suggest "an extraordinary and despicable breach of that trust."

Auburn University says it has suspended an assistant coach accused of taking a $50,000 bribe in exchange for steering a player into doing business with a certain financial adviser.

Chuck Person was arrested in Alabama on Tuesday in a case that involves corruption charges against 10 coaches, agents and sports marketing executives at several universities.

The university said in a statement that Person had been suspended without pay effective immediately.

Person was the associate head coach at Auburn. He played in the NBA for 13 seasons.

University of Southern California assistant coach basketball coach made his initial court appearance Tuesday in Florida.

Tony Bland went into the courtroom wearing handcuffs and ankle chains Tuesday.

He said little during the brief hearing other than to answer the judge's questions.

He did not enter a plea and said he needs a lawyer.

Prosecutors recommended Bland be released on $100,000 bail with the understanding he must appear Oct. 10 in federal court in New York for another hearing.

That was granted by the U.S. magistrate judge.

The judge says Bland can travel back to his home in Gardenia, Calif.

Oklahoma State assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans surrendered to federal authorities early Wednesday.

Evans was scheduled to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Charles Goodwin about 3 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the papers, Evans expected $2,000 a month for his services.

Evans said it was necessary to use his influence over the youngsters early in their college careers because many of them are "one and done," meaning they play one year of college ball before joining the NBA, according to court papers.

Authorities said the coaches received thousands of dollars in bribes, enabling the agents and others to get a slice of the millions of dollars the athletes could eventually make in the NBA.