NIKE And College Basketball Have A Michael Avenatti Problem

A major allegation.



As the college basketball industry celebrates its three week tournament with big games by making millions upon millions of dollars per game off of the backs of talented people including a good number of teenagers who do not get paid, there is now a Michael Avenatti problem.  Avenatti was arrested on Monday after Avenatti threatened to hold a news conference accusing the sneaker company Nike of paying high school player associates unless Nike paid his client, an AAU coach, and retained Avenatti law firm to conduct an internal investigation. Avenatti was nabbed on suspicion of trying to extort more than $20 million from Nike.

The NCAA might have been breathing a sigh of relief that federal authorities arrested Avenatti and maybe the whole thing would go away as the investigators were more interested in Avenatti than someone from Nike funneling money to an AAU coach presumably to steer players into a college program. Avenatti’s parting shots on his twitter feed should get the NCAA’s attention.  “Ask DeAndre Ayton and Nike about the cash payments to his mother, and others.” or “Bol Bol and his handlers also received large sums from Nike.” Bol Bol is at the University of Oregon. Or pictures of alleged money payments to Ayton’s mother. The tournament continues and it seems that CBS, Turner Sports and sportswriters who make their livings covering college basketball would like to ignore that the college basketball business and the elite high school basketball industry are filled with corruption. The National Collegiate Athletic Association uses college students as its watchable money making bait but the student-athletes should not get paid for that work. But under the table money has gone to some players. Four former college basketball assistant coaches have taken plea deals in a college basketball corruption probe. Avenatti is in legal trouble but so is the college basketball industry.


DeAndre Ayton from Arizona sits on the stage before the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)