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Basketball corruption trials conclude, leaving NCAA to sort through aftermath

More than a year and a half after the FBI and federal prosecutors in New York announced the arrests of 10 men as part of an investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting, the inquiry appears to be coming to a close this week having thus far inflicted minimal damage to the sport. At this point, just two scenarios remain that could elevate the probe into the game-changing scandal some predicted, and legal experts say neither appears likely, leaving the NCAA to decide what to do with the provocative but inconclusive testimony given at the trials.

The four assistant coaches arrested in September 2017 for taking bribes from agents and financial advisors all pleaded guilty, and none appear to have provided information implicating others at Auburn, Oklahoma State, Arizona and Southern California. No head coaches have been charged with crimes, and none have had to testify.

Former aspiring NBA agent Christian Dawkins and former Nike and Adidas official Merl Code were found guilty on bribery charges Wednesday, likely marking an end to the involvement of FBI officials and federal prosecutors in New York. One remaining trial, of luxury tailor Rashan Michel, will not happen, as a result of Michel’s decision this week to plead guilty to bribing former Auburn assistant Chuck Person.

Federal prosecutors still could approve a wave of new arrests, but given the length of time that has passed without a new arrest, legal experts said, the investigation likely has concluded. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, which is overseeing these cases, declined to comment.

[In Adidas college hoops trial, everyone agrees on facts. Will NCAA take action?]

The NCAA also might be able to obtain the evidence the FBI collected through months of wiretapped phone calls of Dawkins and other dealmaking middlemen that did not publicly emerge through the two trials. During a news conference at the Final Four of the men’s basketball tournament, NCAA President Mark Emmert said his organization would try to convince judges and prosecutors in New York to share evidence that remains under seal.

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