FBI probe links ASM Sports to laundering scandal

Photo courtesy of sportingnews.com | Arizona freshman forward and top NBA Draft prospect DeAndre Ayton is one of the high-profile players connected to the ASM Sports scandal.

College basketball was hit with a bombshell Friday morning when a report from Yahoo! Sports leaked documents from the ongoing FBI probe into corruption in college basketball.

Twenty-five players from 20 schools were named, many of them being prominent players and programs.

Former point guard Edmond Sumner was named in documents from former agent Christian Dawkins, who worked for ASM Sports. They allege Sumner and/or his father Ernest received up to $7,000. The documents showed Ernest being paid $2,500 in advances.

Xavier’s Chris Mack was the only coach to respond to Yahoo! for comment before the report was published. In the comments, he speaks of Andy Miller, the president and founder of ASM Sports.

“I have no relationship with Andy Miller or any of his associates. He plays no role in the recruitment of potential student-athletes on Xavier’s behalf,” Mack said in the report.

“Beyond that, our staff has never created a path for him to foster a relationship with any of our student-athletes while enrolled at Xavier. Any suggestion that I or anyone on my staff utilized Andy Miller to provide even the slightest of financial benefits to a Xavier student-athlete is grossly misinformed. We are prepared to cooperate with any and all investigations at any level.”

Mack’s statement signaled that Xavier is likely in the clear as far as recruiting violations go. Considering Sumner was ranked outside the top 100 coming out of high school and all alleged payments occurred after he arrived on campus, it seems unlikely Xavier committed any violations on the recruitment front.

Though former Xavier guard Semaj Christon was also linked to Dawkins’ former agency, ASM, and Andy Miller, he did not sign with them until three years after leaving college.

It was also the third agency Christon was a part of after turning pro, which suggests he did not have connections with the agency while in school.

Other big name college players such as Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, Duke’s Wendell Carter, Kentucky’s Kevin Knox and Alabama’s Collin Sexton were also mentioned in the report.

However, each of these players reportedly only received payment for a meal, and for others only parents were involved.

Former NC State guard Dennis Smith Jr. allegedly received more than $70,000 in loans before deciding to sign with another agency.

Former Xavier and current Arizona coach Sean Miller was also allegedly caught on a wiretap conversation discussing a $100,000 payment to former five-star recruit and current National Player of the Year candidate DeAndre Ayton with Dawkins.

Arizona held Miller from coaching the team’s next game at Oregon as a result. Miller reportedly met with team officials Monday to discuss his future with the team, which could be determined sooner rather than later.

There are problems with the reporting in both cases however. Dawkins was previously fired from ASM for running up $42,000 in Uber charges on a player’s credit card between July 2015 and May 2016.

This points to Dawkins potentially not being the most credible source, though the reports should be taken seriously until proven otherwise.

In the Ayton case, Miller and Dawkins supposedly discussed the payment in the spring of 2016. This presents a problem for two major reasons.

First, there is no evidence to suggest Ayton was ever involved with ASM or Dawkins. Second, Miller’s and Dawkins’ phone conversations were intercepted from June 19, 2017, through September 25, 2017. By this point, Ayton had already signed with Arizona, which would make payment unlikely.

There is likely more still to come, but for now, it’s nothing to worry about for Xavier.

By: Donnie Menke ~Staff Writer~