Adidas has managed to get a lot of media attention lately. The famous company has been in the center of an FBI investigation into the way young basketball players are recruited. One of the most commonly mentioned names in this investigation has been James Gatto, Adidas’ head of global sports marketing.
Now, the famous sportswear giant has decided to place Gatto on leave. The company stated that following allegations that Gatto conspired to funnel money to recruits, Adidas has placed him on administrative leave. “We became aware today of the allegations and intend to cooperate with the relevant authorities,” the company stated. “The employee has been put on administrative leave and the company has engaged outside counsel to conduct a thorough investigation,” the same statement added.
Another name that has been linked to the case is Brian Bowen, a freshman who committed to the University of Louisville, which is sponsored by Adidas. The recruitment of Bowen actually came as a surprise, considering that it was announced quite late and there were no indications that this would happen. Allegedly, Bowen made this decision after receiving $100,000 in bribes from Gatto.
As expected, this means that the University of Louisville is also part of the investigation. “While we are just learning about this information, this is a serious concern that goes to the heart of our athletic department and the university,” a statement from the university said. “UofL is committed to ethical behavior and adherence to NCAA rules; any violations will not be tolerated,” the same statement added.
The case and the allegations have quickly evolved and in a couple of days, Nike was also linked to the charges. Some sources told ESPN that the famous company has received a subpoena from authorities, seeking information on the case. A former Nike employee who then worked for Adidas was also named in the investigation.
“Nike firmly believes in compliance with laws and fair play in all sports. There are no allegations against Nike in the complaints and we are committed to cooperating with any government investigation into this matter,” the company stated in relation to the case without providing any other information.