Letter: Agent named in FBI probe was on UofL campus weeks before ‘surprise' commitment

Louisville coach Rick Pitino (Photo: Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports)
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- An agent who was one of ten people named in an FBI criminal complaint surrounding an alleged pay-for-play scheme to bribe college basketball recruits was on the campus of the University of Louisville mere weeks before a recruit surprisingly committed to play for the school, according to a letter obtained by WHAS11 News.

 

The letter, written by Interim President Dr. Greg Postel to Rick Pitino to inform him the school was starting the process to fire the suspended coach, was obtained under the state's public records laws and used the agent's campus visit as one of many reasons for the termination process.

 

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"In late May of 2017, Christian Dawkins, was on campus for purposes related to the basketball program," Postel wrote.

 

On June 3, Brian Bowen announced via Twitter his commitment to play for the Louisville Cardinals basketball team.

 

The letter does not suggest Bowen was on campus when Dawkins visited or if the two had communication in those weeks, but Postel said Dawkins's presence on the campus was not known to University officials, although it should have been.

 

"As someone known to have acted as an 'agent' for athletes, the basketball staff should have notified Athletics Compliance. No notification was provided," Postel wrote.

 

Dawkins, an NBA agent who, according to the FBI complaint, was recently fired from an agency for using a player's credit card, was one of six men in addition to four assistant college basketball coaches who were named in the complaint which was made public by federal prosecutors September 26.

 

The complaint alleges an Adidas official plotted with a Louisville assistant coach to pay Bowen's family $100,000 in exchange for Bowen's commitment to the program and a contract with Adidas after entering the NBA.

 

Less than two weeks after the Bowen commitment, on June 15, Postel wrote, the NCAA Committee on Infractions issued its infractions decision on the program for its role in the escort scandal detailed in the book, Breaking Cardinal Rules.

 

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Postel outlined the scandals as only part of the reason he wanted to fire Pitino.

 

"This notice arises out of your conduct over a period of years, including without limitation, your involvement in two recent and highly publicized scandals," he wrote.

 

The letter alleges Pitino violated nearly a dozen provisions of his contract which would give the University of Louisville Athletics Association the ability to terminate Pitino for cause:

 

 

"Your involvement in these recent scandals cannot be considered isolated events. Instead, they are illustrative of a pattern and practice of inappropriate behavior," Postel wrote.

 

He said Pitino, during an October 16 hearing, would be given the opportunity to present evidence as to why he should not be fired or have been suspended without pay.

 

"The ULAA Board of Directors would like to know why you should not be terminated for Just Cause given your employment history and the charges set forth above."

 

Pitino's lawyer, Steve Pence, did not provide a response to the letter by the time this story was published.

 

Although Pitino was suspended without pay, a previous letter dated September 27 informing Pitino of the suspension, said the coach would be paid for ten days in lieu of written notice. The October 3 letter from Postel to Pitino, which a university spokesperson said was estimated to be received by Pitino on October 6, said Pitino would be paid through October 16, the date of the hearing.

 

"He has not been cut off to this point," Spokesman John Karman said in an email clarifying the dates and pay.

 

The University removed Pitino's name, picture, title and bio from the team's 2017-2018 roster page sometime on September 29.

 

i-Team Investigator Derrick Rose can be reached at 502-582-7232 or dnrose@whas11.com