Former five-star prospect Brian Bowen II filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against Adidas on Monday, less than a month after three men were found guilty of wire fraud in a college basketball corruption case that was at the center of an FBI investigation.
Bowen’s lawsuit alleges that Adidas and its associates engaged in bribery, fraud and money laundering and claims their actions led to Bowen’s loss of eligibility and athletic development.
Bowen’s lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in South Carolina and names James Gatto, Merl Code, Christian Dawkins, Munish Sood, Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola and Christopher Rivers. Gatto, Code and Dawkins were found guilty in last month’s trial.
“Adidas has thus far infiltrated college basketball with complete impunity,” lead attorney Mullins McLeod said in a statement. “It is now time for them to answer for what they have done and to suffer the consequences of their corporate misconduct. Brian is an exceptional young man who is determined to right this wrong and to do his part to help free other student athletes from corporate corruption that has no place in college basketball.”
Bowen committed to attend Louisville in June 2017 but never played for the Cardinals. The school initially suspended him after FBI allegations that his father, Brian Bowen Sr., received $100,000 for his son’s commitment, and later announced that Bowen wouldn’t be playing for the program.
The scandal also led to the firing of longtime coach Rick Pitino.
Bowen later selected South Carolina as his next school but declared for the NBA Draft when he learned the NCAA was going to make him sit out the entire 2018-19 season and possibly longer. He went undrafted and is currently playing for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s National Basketball League.
Bowen claims he knew nothing about the actions of his father. Brian Bowen Sr. admitted during the trial that he received money from Louisville assistant coach Kenny Johnson and also outlined offers he received from Arizona, Creighton, Oklahoma State and Texas.
Bowen is coming off the bench for Sydney and is averaging 7.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in eight games.
“I’ve just tried to take things day by day and really try to not worry about the other stuff,” Bowen recently told SydneyKings.com of the situation in the U.S. “Whatever is happening over there is happening, but I’m just trying to focus on other things here I can truly handle and control.”
Sydney coach Andrew Gaze, a former Seton Hall player and Australian pro star, said Bowen is making progress as a player.
“He’s prepared to listen, he’s got a good work ethic, he picks up instructions well and I think he’s got a very good basketball IQ,” Gaze told the team website. “His athleticism and his innate skills are there for all to see, but I think it’s those other assets that he has that will be the determining factor if he continues to grow with us and then ultimately achieves his goal of making the NBA.”
Gatto, Code and Dawkins were each found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in last month’s college basketball corruption trial in New York.
Gatto, a former Adidas executive, was found guilty on all three of his counts. Dawkins, a former runner for agent Andy Miller, and Code, a former Adidas consultant, were found guilty on two counts apiece.
Sentencing is slated for March 5.
—Field Level Media