Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports published an article this morning investigating the documents and bank records obtained during the federal investigation of ASM Sports. The documents, which included financial records such as expense reports and bank statements, essentially prove that ASM was providing impermissible benefits to current and former NCAA men’s basketball players such as cash advances and travel expenses.
Federal authorities have been on the case for years, and according to the article, more than 4,000 phone calls were intercepted over the course of 330 days, bringing to light the “underground” happenings of the industry. As can be seen in the documents, more than 20 Division I basketball programs and 25 players could be affected by this news.
Among these programs are: Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC and Alabama. With potential punishment being handed down by the NCAA (who declined comment for the Yahoo piece), their NCAA Tournament hopes could be dashed before March even begins. The monetary amounts given to players ranges from under a hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. In the Division I men’s basketball committee’s sneak peak at its top 16 NCAA tournament teams released on February 11, three of the teams mentioned (Duke, North Carolina and Michigan State) are projected to be among the top four seeds.
According to the report, an ASM balance sheet through the date December 31, 2015 has a “Loan to Players” subheading, where several players (high school or college) are shown to have received payments from the agency. Among the players are: Dennis Smith Jr. (former NC State and current Dallas Mavericks guard), Edrice “Bam” Adebayo (former Kentucky and current Miami Heat forward) and Markelle Fultz (former Washington guard and number one overall draft pick of the Philadelphia 76ers). Some of the players listed did not even end up signing with ASM, so the agency essentially gave out “bad loans” according to the document.
In the ultra-competitive industry that is sports representation, agents and agencies will seemingly do whatever it takes in order to secure the top talent. It is no secret that athletes from various sports have been convinced to sign with certain agents by receiving gifts in the form of cash or other items. With this information being brought to light, the question is not “why did ASM do this?” it is “who else is doing this?”