Louisville altered recruiting document before and after Bowen's campus visit

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Former University of Louisville basketball assistant coach Kenny Johnson “influenced” a team staffer to keep secret that a former sports agent implicated in an FBI bribery scandal was on campus during a recruit’s visit. 

Court documents made public Wednesday in a civil suit of former head coach Rick Pitino show that official paperwork was changed to keep Christian Dawkins' presence on a visit with prized high school recruit Brian Bowen in May 2017 unknown. 

During a deposition, former men's basketball assistant coach David Padgett said he learned after he became interim head coach that Johnson “influenced” then director of basketball operations Michael Bowden to keep Dawkins name off the “unofficial visit form” of Bowen. Below is a copy of a U of L "Men's Basketball Unofficial Visit Record" obtained by WDRB News.

Dawkins is now charged in a sweeping FBI investigation into alleged bribery acts to bring top-flight high school basketball recruits to certain college programs. 

According to the FBI, Bowen’s father struck a deal to receive $100,000 for his son to play basketball for the Cardinals.

In a separate deposition, Bowden told lawyers that Johnson texted him prior to the visit and instructed him to leave Dawkins off the form. No reason was given in the deposition as to why. 

“I’m not sure of verbiage, but he told me to remove Christian Dawson’s (sic) from the visit,” he told lawyers.

Bowden said he changed the form to show Dawkins was on the visit after the FBI investigation became public knowledge in September 2017. He says he was directed to do so by the University Of Louisville’s compliance office.

According to the documents, when the form was changed, Dawkins was listed as an AAU coach even though he wasn’t at the time. 

The document initially said that Bowen was only accompanied by his parents.

Asked if he considered it a red flag to not record Dawkins on the visit Bowden said, “not at the moment, no.” 

“Obviously its a red flag now. But at the time our unofficial visits were very fluid as to who would arrive with the recruit,” he said. 

Padgett said the purpose of the forms is keep record of who is on a visit and their relationship to the recruit. He also said it was wrong to leave Dawkins name off the paperwork.

Johnson’s version of events was not included in the release of the documents Wednesday. He is now an assistant coach at LaSalle University in Philadelphia. 

Bowden left the program in April. 

Padgett acknowledged he would have to know all the facts regarding why the form was altered to determine if it was improper.

John Karman, a spokesman for U of L, said he could not comment on pending litigation. 

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Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.