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College basketball scandal: Ex-Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola avoids prison sentence after cooperating with investigation

Former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola, a central figure in the federal investigation into bribery and corruption in the realm of college basketball, avoided prison time at his sentencing on Tuesday. He faces a one-year supervised release, two months of home confinement and electronic monitoring, along with a $100 fine, according to ESPN.

Gassnola was a key witness in the case that led to convictions of Adidas executive James Gatto, Adidas consultant Merl Code and aspiring business manager Christian Dawkins. During the trial, he admitted to helping facilitate payments from Adidas to multiple players, the amount of which equated to close to $200,000 between at least four players tied to Kansas, NC State and Arizona. He also admitted to knowledge of other deals, including a now-infamous exchange of $100,000 from Adidas to Brian Bowen Sr., the father of Louisville recruit-turned-signee Brian Bowen Jr.

Gatto, Dawkins and Code all received prison sentences ranging from six to nine months. Several other assistant coaches in the case were found guilty, though sentences ranged from probation to community service. Two coaches, ex-Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans and ex-Arizona assistant Book Richardson, were sentenced to prison time. Gassnola’s punishment in comparison was light because he cooperated with the investigation.

“Over the course of several lengthy proffer sessions, Gassnola spoke openly about his involvement in the criminal conduct, describing his relationship with Gatto, Code, Dawkins, and others, and the payments to the families of student-athletes he made and facilitated on behalf of Adidas, in his role as a consultant in an effort to help the company in the ‘shoe wars,'” a sentencing memorandum to U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan read. “In particular, and in addition to confirming details about the planned payments to the Bowen and Little families, which were known to law enforcement, Gassnola identified a series of unlawful payments that had not, at that point, been identified during the investigation, including the $90,000 in payments to the mother of Billy Preston and $40,000 to the handler of Dennis Smith Jr.”

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