Two days after Rick Pitino said in a statement that he was “shocked” by the findings of an FBI investigation into money corruption in college basketball, and one day after he was effectively fired by the University of Louisville, new information has surfaced that indicates Pitino knew more about the payments being made than his statement says.
CBS News reported Thursday morning that it had identified Pitino as “Coach 2” in the documents released by the FBI on Tuesday.
A federal bribery investigation into men's college basketball may have cost hall of fame coach Rick Pitino his job: pic.twitter.com/0XaGaOvXCR
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) September 28, 2017
CBS reporting Pitino is "Coach 2." That's ugly. https://t.co/X9UVzCSgY1
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_SEC) September 28, 2017
Therefore, based on the information contained in the court documents, as “Coach 2,” Pitino likely would have been aware of the payments being made to 5-star recruiting prospect Brian Bowen and his family.
According to CBS News, “investigators allege Pitino, identified in court filings as ‘Coach-2,’ spoke with an adidas executive on the phone three times in what may have been an attempt to get Bowen’s family additional money.”
Further, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, Christian Dawkins, a former financial manager who was involved in a number of the dealings with adidas executives and coaches, contacted Pitino in regards to the adidas payments to a recruit.
“After the Louisville assistant left the hotel room, Dawkins and the others discussed the payment plan to the first recruit’s family,” Schlabach reports. “He said that even though adidas had agreed to pay him $100,000, a rival athletic apparel company was ‘coming with a higher number,’ and he needed to get more money from Adidas to secure the player’s commitment to Louisville. Dawkins said he’d spoken to the second unnamed Louisville coach and told him, “I need you to call Jim Gatto, who’s the head of everything” at adidas’ basketball program.”
Based on the new information from this morning, that second coach is allegedly Pitino.
Schlabach reports another person involved in the investigation, Jonathan Brad Augustine, president of The League Initiative and program director of adidas-sponsored 1 Family AAU program, potentially referenced Pitino as someone having significant influence at adidas.
“Augustine told the group that he expected adidas to cover the payments because ‘no one swings a bigger [expletive] than [an unidentified Louisville coach]’ at adidas, and all the coach had to do “is pick up the phone and call somebody [and say], ‘These are my guys, they’re taking care of us.'”
Whether or not that unidentified coach is Pitino has not been confirmed, but it would be a surprise if a lower-tier coach within the program had that much pull with the shoe company.
Pitino has been placed on unpaid administrative leave, and one of his attorney’s said Wednesday that he has been “effectively fired” as Louisville’s head coach.