The Maryland men’s basketball team has become the latest college program to be swept into the FBI’s ongoing investigation into corruption plaguing the sport.
The university announced Friday morning that it had received two subpoenas from a grand jury impaneled by the U.S. District Attorney of the Southern District of New York. The investigation already has resulted in the arrest of four assistant coaches from Power Five conference schools as well as the firing of Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino at Louisville.
According to a statement released by the university, “On March 15, 2018 and June 29, 2018, the University received grand jury subpoenas for documents related to the ongoing federal investigation of college basketball. The University complied with the subpoenas by providing responsive records. None of the responsive records shows evidence of any violations of applicable laws or NCAA bylaws by University coaches, staff or players. The University has cooperated and will continue to cooperate fully with the ongoing federal investigation.”
The university’s general counsel was ordered to appear before the grand jury on March 29 regarding the first subpoena and on Tuesday for the second. A university spokesman said Friday that the requested documents sent to the U.S. District Attorney in New York satisfied the obligations of an appearance before a grand jury.
One of the subpoenas requested all emails and communication regarding “any improper payments or benefits” to a former Maryland student-athlete, whose name the university redacted, citing privacy laws. The only Terps coach named in the subpoena is assistant coach Bino Ranson. Among the documents requested were his contract and any school files regarding allegations of possible misconduct by the Baltimore native.
Maryland was first implicated in the probe in February, when Yahoo Sports reported that former Terps standout Diamond Stone received over $14,000 as an enticement to sign with former NBA agent Andy Miller’s agency, ASM Sports, after leaving College Park following his freshman year. Stone, who played one year at Maryland before leaving for the NBA, wound up signing with another management company. His lead recruiter was Ranson, who did not respond to a text message sent to his cellphone Friday.
Documents relating to Christian Dawkins, who reportedly worked as an associate of Miller’s at ASM Sports, also were requested in the subpoena.
“I do not have a relationship with Andy Miller or anyone from his agency, and at no time have I ever had a conversation with Andy Miller or his agency regarding any Maryland basketball player,” he said. “We remain steadfast in upholding a program of integrity that reflects the values of our University community."
The second subpoena involves Silvio De Sousa, a talented forward whom the Terps recruited out of IMG Academy in Florida two years ago. De Sousa, a childhood friend in Angola of current Maryland center Bruno Fernando’s, committed in August, after many recruiting analysts predicted he would follow Fernando to Maryland.
No Terps coaches were named in the second subpoena, but it requested any information and communication “relating to the recruitment, eligibility and/or amateur status” of De Sousa. Assistant coach Dustin Clark, who served as the lead recruiter for both Fernando and De Sousa, recently left Maryland after seven years to go into a family business in Texas.
According to a timeline laid out in federal court documents, the U.S.-based guardian for both De Sousa and Fernando received a $20,000 payment from Adidas in order to reimburse another apparel company that had already made a payment to try to land De Sousa for one of its affiliated programs. (Kansas is sponsored by Adidas, Maryland by Under Armour.)
De Sousa’s guardian denied ever receiving any such payment.
Maryland is the ninth school to be subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In September, Yahoo Sports reported that Arizona, Auburn, Louisville, Miami, Oklahoma State and Southern California were implicated in the investigation. In April, North Carolina State and Kansas also were named.