Now-former Alabama associate athletics director Kobie Baker, who resigned Wednesday afternoon, could be tied to Auburn associate head coach Chuck Person and a wide ranging bribery scheme now spreading across the NCAA basketball world.
The Tuscaloosa New reported Wednesday night that Baker allegedly met with the Atlanta-based adviser and men's clothing executive Rashan Michel, who has been tied to Person and was charged by federal prosecutors Tuesday. In the same document, Person was also charged. The meeting, according to the sources who spoke with the News, was part of a scheme to take bribe money for directing an Alabama basketball player to sign with an Atlanta adviser if he were to declare for the NBA draft.
Baker's involvement with the scheme was reportedly uncovered as part of an internal investigation launched by the University of Alabama Tuesday, the News reported.
Baker resigned abruptly Wednesday evening, and Alabama's department of athletics announced Baker's resignation in a statement from athletics director Greg Byrne.
Both Michel and Person were arrested Tuesday during a nationwide law enforcement effort to detain 10 individuals who are accused of being involved with the scheme now being investigated by the U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
According to prosecutors, Person took more than $91,000 in bribes from a disgraced financial advisor, Louis Martin Blazer, over a 10-month period, in exchange for influencing student-athletes to sign with advisors and managers if they made it to the NBA.
Blazer had previously pleaded guilty to charges brought by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission for investing more than $2 million of clients' money without their authorization, according to court documents. Blazer's Pittsburgh firm catered to athletes.
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Blazer later became a cooperating witness with the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office investigation. According to court documents, he cooperated with the FBI in recording conversations with Person and others and siphoned some money to Person at the direction of federal authorities.
The charging documents filed by prosecutors said that Michel went and met with a "school administrator" who was not identified in the documents.
According to the documents, the administrator accepted a $5,000 payment and arranged a later meeting with the family of an Atlanta-area recruit. Both Michel and the federal cooperating witness identified only as CW-1, who now is known to be Blazer, were also lined up for the meeting.
University of Alabama officials now believe that Baker was the unidentified administrator in the documents, according to The Tuscaloosa News' reporting.
Another $10,000 in cash was given to Michel at the meeting. That money was intended to be given to the unidentified administrator for influencing the player to choose the Atlanta-based adviser.
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