According to reports by ESPN and Forbes, Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League has been served a subpoena in correlation with the ongoing federal investigation into a fraud and corruption scheme — what prosecutors have termed the "dark underbelly" of college basketball.
Messages made to Nike on Thursday morning by USA TODAY Sports were not immediately returned. Nike previously issued a statement regarding the college basketball scandal, in which Adidas was implicated, saying the company "believes in fair and ethical play, both in business and sports, and strongly opposes any form of manipulation."
Nike's EYBL was not listed in complaints from the investigation that were released to the public Tuesday. However, one of the defendants is Merl Code, who left Nike for Adidas. He was charged with assisting another Adidas employee in paying high school players with the goal of them signing with Adidas-sponsored schools before eventually signing with the shoe company in the professional ranks.
According to the complaint, Code and three others “worked together to funnel $100,000 from (Adidas) to the family of a high school player in exchange for (the player’s) commitment to play at an NCAA Division I university whose athletic programs are sponsored by (Adidas).” The school was cited only as University 6. Code also allegedly assisted in making payments of as much as $150,000 from Adidas to another high school player to play at another school (referred to as University 7).
Three of the four coaches who were indicted in the scandal that has rocked the college basketball world — USC's Tony Bland, Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans and Arizona's Emmanuel Richardson — are from Nike-sponsored schools.
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