LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Brian Bowen Sr., the father of a University of Louisville signee in the middle of college basketball’s pay-for-play scandal, told prosecutors Tuesday that former Louisville assistant Kenny Johnson gave him $1,300 in the summer of 2017.
As reported via Twitter by Pete Brush, who is covering the trial of former adidas executive Jim Gatto on fraud and other charges connected to the scheme for Law360, Bowen said he approached Johnson asking for money to cover rent after the family had moved to Louisville to watch their son.
Brush said Bowen described Johnson as “flabbergasted” by the request, which he said came in late June, but later Johnson agreed to give the father the money.
“He made it clear that this was like a one-time deal for him,” Bowen said under direct examination, according to Brush.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel, Bowen told prosecutors that he received the money during a meeting in front of the Galt House Hotel, where he and his wife were renting a $2,300-per-month apartment.
Bowen also told attorneys that while he discussed payments with adidas officials and with agent Christian Dawkins, he did not discuss those arrangements with anyone from U of L.
The timing of Johnson’s payment to Bowen could come into consideration, given that U of L went on NCAA probation for violations related to a sex-for-recruits scandal at about the same time that summer.
The NCAA handed U of L four years’ probation on June, 15, 2017, a decision the school did not appeal.
The program would face enhanced sanctions as a repeat offender if it were to commit a violation after that point, particularly one as serious as an assistant coach giving a recruit’s family $1,300 in cash.
Prosecutors also have said that former U of L assistant Jordan Fair gave $900 to the family of another recruit.
This admission could be a groundbreaker for the NCAA, which changed its rules earlier this year to allow it to use information in such court proceedings as evidence in its own findings of wrongdoing. What the NCAA’s process for handling such an accusation and admission, and how quickly it might act to add penalties to a school in Louisville’s situation, constitutes new ground for the association.
Kenny Johnson was hired as an assistant at LaSalle University earlier this year. Officials at that school had no comment on the allegations against Johnson.
Bowen concluded his testimony on direct examination this morning, and has begun to answer questions under cross examination. When defense attorneys asked him if he hadn’t conspired with Dawkins to “rip off” U of L, prosecutors objected to the question and it was sustained.
One wrinkle during cross-examination: Bowen said he could not recall details on money received from a couple of schools that he earlier had outlined to investigators.
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