Former Kentucky forward Jarred Vanderbilt and current point guard Ashton Hagans were named in the report.
Following a report that a former and current Kentucky player were targeted by would-be agent Christian Dawkins as recruits, the Wildcats announced Thursday that the university “remains committed to compliance.”
ESPN published a report detailing Dawkins’s business plan for sports management agency Lyod Inc. Dawkins was looking to set up payment plans for players at several schools including Kentucky. Kentucky hadn’t been linked in recent events surrounding the recruiting investigation and trial.
Dawkins also reportedly put together a list of 19 prospective players in high school or college to sign, including Kentucky’s former forward Jarred Vanderbilt and then-2019 recruiting prospect Ashton Hagans. The point guard reclassified to the 2018 class and currently plays for the Wildcats.
According to the report, Dawkins planned to pay Vanderbilt’s family $30,000 in travel expenses to watch him play, as well as provide his father with a $25,000 signing bonus when the forward went pro. The aspiring agent also suggested giving Vanderbilt a $100,000 line of credit and $25,000 marketing advance if he was expected to be a NBA draft lottery pick after the season.
Dawkins, who was arrested back in Sept. 2017, reportedly looked to recruit Hagans and pay him $2,000 per month from Oct. 2017 to Oct. 2018 before increasing it to $3,000 per month through April 2020.
Kentucky responded to the report with a statement saying, “there is no change in the elibility of any of our current or former students.”
“We remain committed to compliance in all facets of our athletic department. All of our student-athletes undergo a thorough review process to ensure their eligibility. With the full cooperation of our student-athletes and their families, the compliance department works closely with the NCAA Eligibility Center and the Southeastern Conference throughout the entire amateurism certification process. At this time there is no change in the eligibility of any of our current or former students.”
On Oct. 24, Dawkins, Adidas executive Jim Gatto and former Adidas consultant Merl Code were found guilty of committing wire fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The men await sentencing on March 5 and plan to appeal the convictions.
The prosecution’s case in the trial centered around the argument that by conspiring to pay basketball recruits (which would render the players ineligible under NCAA rules), the trio of men defrauded universities, whose athletic scholarships were thus awarded under false pretenses. Kansas, NC State and Louisville, labeled as “victim schools,” were implicated in the trial.
Earlier this week the federal government gave the NCAA permission to begin investigating schools that potentially committed violations during the recruiting scandal. The NCAA has been communicating with the government since September 2017, when the FBI arrested 10 men in connection with the the scandal.