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Brian Bowen Sr. details offers made in exchange for son’s commitment

CORRECTION College Corruption

THIS CORRECTS THE IDENTIFICATION TO BRIAN BOWEN SR., AND NOT MERL CODE, AS ORIGINALLY SENT - Brian Bowen Sr. arrives at federal court, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, in New York. When Brian Bowen Jr., one of America’s brightest high school basketball stars, announced in June 2017 that he would attend the University of Louisville, a school that had not been on anyone’s radar as his possible destination, sportswriters called it a coup that “came out of nowhere.” In a trial that began Monday, federal prosecutors will argue that the signing wasn’t luck at all but the result of a payoff to Bowen’s father. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)


Brian Bowen Sr., the father of former Louisville signee Brian Bowen Jr., was cross-examined Tuesday by lawyers representing defendants Christian Dawkins and former adidas employees James Gatto and Merl Code Jr. as the FBI’s bribery and corruption case continued.

During his testimony Bowen Sr. provided information regarding offers that people representing certain schools made in exchange for his son’s commitment. The senior Bowen said testified that in August 2017 former Louisville assistant coach Kenny Johnson “reluctantly” gave him a payment of $1,300 which Bowen Sr. was to use towards rent after his family moved to the city to follow Bowen Jr.

Per media reports Bowen Sr. said that Johnson, who’s now on staff at La Salle, was “flabbergasted” that he was being asked for the payment but eventually complied. During the portion of the testimony focused on Bowen Jr.'s recruitment, his father testified that Louisville’s opening at shooting guard -- Donovan Mitchell left for the NBA -- played a major role in the decision.

In addition to the one-time payment received from Johnson, Bowen Sr. also testified that he was given money by MeanStreets director -- and former Michigan wide receiver -- Tai Streets and former MeanStreets coach Tim Anderson in exchange for having his son play for their grassroots program.

Bowen Sr. said that he received a $5,000 payment from Streets and another $1,500 from Anderson, who’s currently an assistant at DePaul. In the case of Streets there’s the potential for this to be an NCAA compliance issue for Michigan according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. Even though the payment Bowen Sr. testified to receiving from Streets was for the purpose of placing Bowen Jr. on the MeanStreets roster, Streets is considered to be a representative of Michigan despite the fact that he had no connection to the school’s basketball program.

He also testified that former La Lumiere School coach Shane Heirman, who’s now an assistant at DePaul, paid him $8,000 over a period of time in exchange for Bowen Jr. playing basketball at La Lumiere.

With regard to the colleges recruiting Bowen Jr., the elder Bowen testified that Christian Dawkins informed him of offers being made by Arizona, Creighton, Oklahoma State and Texas. Oregon was also mentioned during the cross-examination, with Bowen Sr. saying that he could not recall receiving a $3,000 payment from assistant coach Tony Stubblefield despite being shown copies of previous statements he made to the FBI regarding the payment.

Also called to the stand Tuesday was NC State compliance officer Carrie Doyle, who was questioned with regard to the recruitment of former point guard Dennis Smith Jr. When questioned by the prosecution Doyle testified that she had no knowledge of a $40,000 payment made to secure Smith’s commitment to the school. Doyle will be cross-examined by the defense Wednesday.