Former Adidas consultant TJ Gassnola testified in federal court on Thursday that a Maryland booster paid $60,000 to Silvio De Sousa’s guardian to get him to commit to Maryland, according to the New York Times’ Adam Zagoria.
In a phone call played in court, Gassnola told former Adidas executive Jim Gatto that the booster wanted their money back because De Sousa committed to Kansas instead. Gassnola said he offered to pay $20,000 to help the booster but never paid it, but did pay $2,500 to help De Sousa enroll in online classes. Last week, Gatto and his attorneys alleged that Under Armour offered De Sousa $20,000 to play for the Terps.
A Maryland recruit also came up later in the day, when Gatto’s defense attorney alleged that Gassnola was asked by Diamond Stone’s high school coach for $150,000 for Stone’s family. Gassnola didn’t pay, and Stone committed to Maryland. Wisconsin was an Adidas school during Stone’s recruitment, and was believed to be heavily interested in Stone up until his commitment. Ironically, the school switched to Under Armour apparel for the 2016-17 year.
Stone was Maryland’s initial connection to the probe in documents released by Yahoo Sports in February which said he received $14,303 from ASM Sports, which was run by Andy Miller and his associate, Christian Dawkins. Dawkins, along with Gatto and former Adidas employee, Merl Code, were arrested on wire fraud charges last October.
Maryland has been subpoenaed twice for the probe, with the first believed to be looking into Stone and the second looking into De Sousa’s recruitment. Head coach Mark Turgeon denied he had a relationship with Miller at a press conference in February, and he was asked what impact the trial would have on the sport Thursday at Big Ten Media Day in Chicago.
“I like to think it’s not going to have an impact,” he said. “I think besides what’s going on in those court rooms, I think that college basketball’s in great shape.”
The revelations were only a small part of the latest day in the regarding the FBI’s probe into corruption in college basketball. According to Yahoo Sports reporter Dan Wetzel, Gassnola said he flew to Raleigh to give NC State assistant coach Orlando Early $40,000 to give to Dennis Smith’s family, that Nassir Little’s high school coach wanted $150,000 for his services and that he paid a friend of DeAndre Ayton’s $15,000 to start a relationship between him and Adidas.
That still wasn’t the craziest story of the day. Wetzel tweeted that Gassnola said he paid $89,000 to Billy Preston’s mother over the course of a year, and that no one on Kansas’ coaching staff knew about the payments. However, when Preston crashed a Dodge Charger listed under his grandmother’s name last year, the school found the wire transfer from Gassnola to Preston’s mother, who lied and said the two were in an intimate relationship in an attempt to make the payments legal in the eyes of the NCAA.
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