On Wednesday, Oregon basketball was mentioned again in the college basketball corruption trial. This time, in the playback of a secret recording played in court.
On the recording, Christian Dawkins and Merl Code, two of the three people accused of paying prep players to steer them to certain Adidas-aligned schools, both described Oregon's offer to five-star recruit Brian Bowen as "astronomical" but provided no further details. Bowen was set to go to Oregon, but Code said, "let me work the phones and get something done."
There has been no evidence to prove Oregon's offer yet, leading some to believe it was negotiation tactics by the Bowen family.
Another development related to Oregon is former Duck Troy Brown Jr. is on the list of college players Dawkins said he was “actively involved with".
Christian Dawkins had a list of college players he was “actively involved with,” including:— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) October 3, 2018
- Robert Williams
- Mitchell Robinson
- Collin Sexton
- Brian Bowen
- Troy Brown
- Landry Shamet
- Rawle Alkins
- DeAnthony Melton
- Chimezie Metu
The Ducks' program has already come up on a couple of occasions, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports.
On Monday, prospective jurors in the case were read a list of schools that might come up during the fraud trial focused on Dawkins, Code and Adidas executive Jim Gatto. The schools mentioned: Arizona, Creighton, DePaul, Kansas, LSU, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Southern California and Texas.
The report indicates that the mere listing of these universities does not indicate wrongdoing. They were provided as a way to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest during the jury selection process.
In the opening arguments made on Tuesday, Oregon was mentioned again, this time in the first direct implication against the program since the FBI-led scandal broke a year ago.
Jim Gatto's attorney said evidence would show that Oregon offered "an astronomical amount of money" to recruit five-star prospect Brian Bowen to entice him to play for the Ducks. Adidas' $100,000 deal for Bowen to commit to Louisville was to "level the playing field."
It is unknown to what extent the UO men's basketball program will be included in the trial that is expected to explore the underbelly of college basketball recruiting. No one with ties to the Oregon program is listed on the potential witness list. Oregon had no ties with the pay-to-play scandal until Monday when Oregon appeared on the university list given to jurors.
Oregon issued a statement in response to the allegations. The university will monitor the court proceedings and did not mention any plans of internal investiagion.
"The university is aware of the claim made by a defense attorney in New York's U.S. District court as part of opening statements in a criminal trial related to college basketball recruiting," Klinger said. "To date, the University of Oregon has not been contacted by the federal government or any other party involved in these proceedings. We take the claim seriously and will monitor the court proceedings closely for any further details."