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Creighton, TCU place assistant coaches on leave for roles in college basketball corruption scandal

Creighton v Nebraska

LINCOLN, NE - DECEMBER 8: Head coach Greg McDermott of the Creighton Bluejays watches action against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena on December 8, 2018 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

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Two more high-profile college basketball assistant coaches have been placed on administrative leave for their alleged involvement in the ongoing FBI college basketball corruption scandal.

On Friday, TCU announced it was placing assistant coach Corey Barker on administrative leave, while Creighton announced a similar move for assistant coach Preston Murphy.

Both men are accused of accepting a $6,000 bribe during meetings with Christian Dawkins, a former runner and aspiring sports agent, according to a new federal indictment filed on Thursday. No new charges were filed in the 31-page document, but the allegations are against NCAA rules.

The two coaches are accused of having separate meetings with Dawkins in July 2017 to help steer players to a new sports agency that Dawkins was hoping to start. An undercover law enforcement agent was responsible for the payment to both coaches.

Barker and Dawkins allegedly spoke over the phone and arranged a meeting between a TCU player likely to be drafted and Dawkins in the summer of 2017. Attempting to steer that unidentified TCU player in the direction of Dawkins for representation, Barker allegedly told Dawkins that signing the TCU player as a future client would be a “layup.”

Creighton and Murphy have been linked in the past during the recruitment of former McDonald’s All-American Brian Bowen Jr. -- a player that Dawkins was connected to behind the scenes. In federal court in October, Brian Bowen Sr. testified that Dawkins helped broker an offer through Murphy where the Bowen family would receive $100,000 and two jobs if Bowen played at Creighton. Officials from Creighton have denied that claim.

Both Barker and Murphy have coached all season until being placed on leave on Friday.
Dawkins and former Adidas executive Merl Code were convicted of fraud charges during that initial October trial as they helped persuade Bowen to sign with Louisville. The two men also face bribery charges in a new federal trial set for April 22.

It’s unlikely that Barker and Murphy coach again this season, as both TCU and Creighton are fighting to get into the 2019 NCAA tournament. While losing an assistant coach isn’t usually seen as a detrimental loss to on-court performance, the looming case could be a major distraction for both programs.