Auburn athletics has suspended assistant basketball coach Ira Bowman indefinitely for his suspected involvement in a bribery case at Pennsylvania, his previous school.
Bowman will not coach at this week's SEC Tournament as he is placed on administrative leave.
“As we continue to gather information regarding a situation that recently arose, it is important that we be thorough and proactive, yet prudent and cautious," Auburn athletics said in a statement. "Therefore, Ira Bowman will not coach or participate in any responsibilities with the men’s basketball program until we fully assess all the issues.”
Bowman was coaching at Auburn practice yesterday before the team left for Nashville.
"We are aware of the reports," head coach Bruce Pearl said Tuesday. "We and our administration are gathering facts, and until we know more, I'm not going to comment any further."
Former Pennsylvania basketball coach Jerome Allen testified on Friday that he took around $300,000 in bribes from Philip Esformes to get his son, Morris, on the basketball team, per a story from Philly.com that used information from Law360.com.
Allen testified that current first-year Auburn assistant and former Penn assistant Bowman knew of the plan and was brought into it following Allen's firing in 2015.
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According to Philly.com, after Allen's firing, he set up a separate account where Esformes would send money, and Allen gave Bowman a debit card to access the account.
Esformes was looking to have his son accepted into the Wharton Business School, using a basketball priority slot.
It's unsure, what if any, NCAA violations Bowman or Allen committed if the story is proven correct. Allen, who plead guilty to bribery October 2018, is still awaiting sentencing and faces up to 10 years in prison, according to Philly.com.
The news of the bribery was made public in July 2018, according to Philly.com, and Auburn hired Bowman on July 6, 2018.
"Until Jerome’s testimony last week, we also were unaware that former assistant men’s basketball coach Ira Bowman had any relevant knowledge of the matter," Penn Athletics told Philly.com. "The University has been cooperating fully with the government and the NCAA so that the matter is appropriately redressed.”
Morris Esformes never made the team because incoming head coach Steve Donahue made it clear that he would be cut from the roster. Esformes ended up quitting beforehand during fall workouts, and by then the payments had already stopped.
Bowman coached at Penn, his alma mater, from 2012-18.
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