Maryland basketball subpoenaed in college basketball corruption probe
A federal grand jury in New York investigating corruption in college basketball has requested records from Maryland regarding one unnamed former player, assistant coach Orlando "Bino" Ranson, and Silvio De Sousa, a recruit who ultimately attended Kansas.
Maryland released copies of the subpoenas Friday, along with a statement asserting the university had already sent back all relevant records, and had found no evidence of any violations of NCAA rules or federal laws by any Maryland coaches, employees or players.
"The University has cooperated and will continue to cooperate fully with the ongoing federal investigation," the school's statement read.
On March 15, the grand jury, working under oversight of federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, sent Maryland a subpoena requesting records relating to Ranson, including his contract and "any investigative file maintained by Maryland regarding allegations of possible or potential misconduct by Ranson." This request apparently produced nothing relevant showing misconduct by Ranson, who has worked at Maryland since 2010.
The March subpoena also requested any records relating to any communication between Maryland employees and Christian Dawkins, a former "runner," or assistant, to NBA agent Andy Miller. Dawkins is facing charges including wire fraud under accusations he arranged payments for the families of several top recruits to ensure they attended certain schools and eventually signed with preferred agents and financial advisers.
According to internal documents kept by Miller's agency, ASM - published earlier this year by Yahoo - former Maryland player Diamond Stone was paid $14,303 in an apparent effort to steer him to sign with ASM when he left college. The March subpoena asked for records relating to any improper payments to a former player whose name Maryland redacted Friday, citing federal privacy laws regarding college students.
In February, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon denied any knowledge of any illicit payments to any players, and said the school was conducting an internal review into the allegations involving Stone. On Friday, Maryland spokesman Zack Bolno said the review had concluded, and declined to release any details or answer any questions about what it found. Bolno referred a reporter to statements made by athletic director Damon Evans at his introductory news conference last month.
"We just wanted to make sure we looked into the situation, understood what was going on, and that's where we are," said Evans, who also did not disclose any details about what the review actually found. "Right now I feel comfortable with where we are . . . But we have done our due diligence and we are in a good spot right now."
Stone, who played one season for the Terrapins before leaving for the NBA in 2016, has not commented publicly on the allegations involving ASM. He ultimately didn't sign with the agency. Stone's agent, Bobby Petriella, did not immediately return a request for comment Friday left with his agency, Rosenhaus Sports.
On June 29, the grand jury sent Maryland a second subpoena, asking for any documents "relating to the eligibility and/or amateur status" of De Sousa, a five-star recruit who was strongly considering Maryland before ultimately deciding to attend Kansas last year.
De Sousa has already been linked to the federal investigation. In April, an indictment of an Adidas executive alleged a player whose recruitment timeline matched De Sousa's committed to Kansas, one of Adidas' flagship sponsored basketball teams, only after the player's guardian told Adidas officials he needed money to pay back a rival shoe company seeking to land the star recruit for one of its sponsored schools. Maryland is sponsored by Under Armour, one of Adidas's chief rivals in the basketball market, along with Nike.
De Sousa is from Angola, and is close friends with fellow Angolan and Maryland center Bruno Fernando. The players share the same guardian, Fenny Falmagne, who has denied taking any money to steer De Sousa to a specific school. Falmagne did not respond to a phone call or text message on Friday. Last month, Kansas coach Bill Self said that, despite the allegations, he expected De Sousa would be eligible to play next season.
Launched in early 2015, the Justice Department probe into college basketball corruption has led to criminal charges against assistant coaches at four schools, as well as charges against three Adidas officials, and Dawkins, the runner and aspiring NBA agent. The investigation is based, in part, on a disputed legal theory that by paying the families of top recruits, Adidas officials and Dawkins defrauded universities including Louisville, Kansas and N.C. State, who could have faced financial penalties from the NCAA had these improper payments come to light.
The first trial of those charged - against Adidas executive Jim Gatto, Adidas consultant Merl Code, and Dawkins - is scheduled for October in New York.
Author information: Will Hobson is a national sports reporter for The Washington Post. He has previously worked for the Tampa Bay Times, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, and the Panama City News Herald.