- Ex-shoe company reps and former coaches are left wondering why they are in prison after adidas’ new NIL deal was announced.
- adidas just announced that it will be offering NIL money to every athlete across 23 sports and at 109 sponsored schools.
- Read more news about NIL here.
For decades, shoe companies attempted to skirt the rules regarding paying college athletes to wear their shoes and other apparel. Mostly, it was done by paying the college coaches millions of dollars and forcing the kids to wear their gear.
Many shoe company reps, however, also used their deep pockets to lure star athletes to certain schools where their companies already had deals in place. If that meant giving the athlete a little signing bonus under the table, that’s what was done.
Everyone knew about the way these guys operated, but it was still “technically” frowned upon.
Some of these former shoe company reps and the college coaches they had in their back pockets ended up going to prison as a result.
Which was fine because these guys did technically break a few laws along the way.
Or it was fine, until this week when adidas announced a new multi-million dollar Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) program in which the shoe company will be paying money to more than 50,000 athletes across 23 sports and 109 colleges.
Should shoe company reps sent to prison for paying college athletes still be locked up?
This adidas news, for men like Emanuel “Book” Richardson, who was caught on federal wiretaps talking about paying $40,000 to secure the eligibility of a Arizona Wildcats recruit and is now behind bars, it was a bit of a shock.
It was a “gut punch…and punch to the jaw…by Mike Tyson,” Richardson told Sportico this week.
“I went to jail for this,” he continued. “I have a felony, I can’t do what I love, my passion was taken away. I lost my family, my career, my house, my everything—and now, [in] five years it went from [the FBI saying], ‘I have your playbook,’ to now, ‘I am going to pay you on the books officially for your NIL.’ I just wonder how Americans feel that your tax dollars were used to investigate college basketball coaches.”
Others arrested in a 2019 Department of Justice/FBI probe into a “pay-to-play” conspiracy in college basketball were former college assistants Tony Bland (USC), Chuck Person (Auburn), and Lamont Evans (Oklahoma State); athlete middlemen Christian Dawkins, Munish Sood and Rashan Michel; and Jonathan Brad Augustine, a former Adidas-affiliated AAU program director.