Avenatti Is In Legal Trouble But He Plans To Go After College Basketball Corruption

There seems to be no winners here.

Michael Avenatti is in a heap of legal trouble and because of that probably has been written off by the college basketball industry as someone who cannot be believed. Avenatti has accused the sneaker company Nike of paying associates and the families of star high school basketball players to push them into Nike sponsored college basketball programs. Avenatti was nabbed by federal authorities on the suspicion of trying to extort more than $20 million from Nike. He is also facing criminal charges not related to Nike. Avenatti is not going quietly into the night. Avenatti is going after Duke Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski’s credibility. Avenatti alleges former Nike executives bribed Zion Williamson and more than 100 other elite-level players with payments to steer Williamson and others to schools that have a marketing partnership with Nike. Avenatti claims Williamson’s mother, Sharonda Sampson, received payments from Nike that was sent to a fake consulting firm. Duke University claims it is investigation Avenatti’s charges that Duke paid for Williamson’s services.

Rick Pitino who was ousted for various shenanigans that happened under his watch at the University of Louisville while he was coaching may have provided a window of thinking that could make Avenatti’s claims seem plausible. In 2014, Pitino was upset that sneaker companies signed up players at a very young age and sent them to their company sponsored basketball camps. Pitino claimed he didn’t know just how entrenched the sneaker companies were on the youth level. The sneaker companies generally push their under contract kids towards schools with whom they have marketing agreements. Louisville was an Adidas school.  Under the table money has gone to some players. Four former college basketball assistant coaches have taken plea deals in an ongoing college basketball corruption probe. Avenatti is in legal trouble but so is the college basketball industry.

FILE – In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during an NCAA college basketball press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville announced Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, that they have placed basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid an FBI probe. Photo: AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File.