Former Adidas executives sentenced in NCAA fraud
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Former Adidas executives sentenced in NCAA fraud

Two former Adidas executives and a sports manager were sentenced Tuesday for their involvement in a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recruiting scandal. The three were convicted of directing payments to the families of Division 1 basketball recruits so that the players would commit to Adidas sponsored schools and eventually, sign endorsement deals with Adidas.

The case involved athletes at three schools: the University of Kansas, the University of Louisville and North Carolina State University. At the University of Kansas, James Gatto, one of the Adidas executives, directed $90,000 to the family of Billy Preston and $20,000 to the guardian of Sylvio De Souza, both high school basketball players at the time. At the University of Louisville, all three defendants, Gatto and Merl Code of Adidas, and Christian Dawkins, a sports business manager, worked to funnel nearly $100,000 to the father of top high school recruit Brian Bowen. At North Carolina State University, Gatto funneled $40,000 to keep Dennis Smith Jr. from de-committing from NCSU. Payments were sometimes funneled through intermediaries like amateur sports teams or family members in order to conceal them from the universities.

The three were convicted in October on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the payments.

Merl Code and Christian Dawkins were sentenced to six months in prison. Gatto was sentenced to nine months.