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3 men heading to prison for roles in NCAA basketball recruiting scandal

2019-03-05

Three men are heading to prison for their role in the recruiting scandal that rocked the college basketball world last year.

Former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christian Dawkins, and amateur league director Merl Code were each sentenced to prison Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.

Gatto received nine months, while Dawkins and Code each got six after they were all convicted back in October of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for funneling money to the families of recruits trying to get them to sign with top programs Louisville, Kansas and North Carolina State.

“I deeply regret my actions,” Gatto told Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

Former Adidas executive James Gatto arrives to court for sentencing in New York, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Seth Wenig / AP)

“I realize now more than ever none of this was worth it,” said Dawkins who referenced that he was “clouded” by a “system that takes advantage of kids.”

“Some things really got to be changed about college basketball,” Code said. He added that he regretted his actions.

All three will reportedly appeal Tuesday's decision.

“These defendants all knew what they were doing was wrong,” Kaplan said as he explained he wanted to send “a great big warning light to the basketball world.”

Gatto received the longest sentence on Tuesday because of additional convictions from orchestrating the effort to defraud college basketball teams.

NCAA president Mark Emmert has already stated that an independent enforcement body could be put into action by August to to oversee major infractions cases.

Next month, Code and Dawkins are scheduled to stand trial on additional bribery charges for paying assistant coaches at Arizona, Oklahoma State and Southern California.

The conclusion from that trial could take place just days after the 2019 NCAA champions are crowned on April 8.

- With The Associated Press