Financial records, documents and wiretaps tied to prominent former NBA agent Andy Miller and featuring his former associate, Christian Dawkins, have provided a detailed window for authorities into how the college basketball underworld operated, sources with knowledge of the ongoing federal investigation have told Yahoo Sports in recent days. Sources familiar with the probe told Yahoo Sports that there’s a surprising level of specificity in the documents, bank records and wiretaps involving Miller’s business. They include exact dollar figures and intricate documentation of payments to the families of college players. There are also conversations brokering deals between Dawkins and the clients he was recruiting.
“There are spreadsheets detailing who got paid, how much they got paid and how much more they were planning to pay,” said a source familiar with the investigation. “The feds got everything they wanted and much more. Don’t think it will only be players who ended up signing with ASM that got paid. Those spreadsheets cast a wide net throughout college basketball. If your school produced a first-round pick in the past three years, be worried.”
One lawyer in the case, Steve Haney, refused to confirm any of the above details that Yahoo Sports is reporting. Haney, who represents Christian Dawkins, did send a statement by email. “Charging Christian Dawkins with alleged Federal crimes while his bosses at ASM run free is as categorically egregious as charging all the assistant coaches while their bosses are steaming towards the glory and riches of the NCAA tournament,” Haney wrote. “It is utter hypocrisy how these defendants somehow stand accused, while holding the bag and taking the fall for their superiors, who would have been the primary financial benefactors of any supposed scheme.”
So how deep did Miller’s operation go? One source with knowledge of the investigation estimated that ASM Sports was paying more than three times as many prospects, and families of prospects, as clients they signed. The impact on the NCAA landscape is expected to be significant. No one is certain if the federal government is targeting other NBA agents amid the competitive landscape, but it is widely believed within the sport that Miller was far from the only agent operating in this manner.
In the past decade or so, the NBA has had two prominent opportunities to address the issue of sexual harassment in its workplaces. Both times the league fumbled badly, so that when, this week, Sports Illustrated published a damning portrait of the culture of workplace harassment within the Mavericks office, there should have been little surprise. Both instances involve the Knicks and their handling of the lawsuit brought in 2007 against the team by former executive Anucha Browne Sanders. The league, under commissioner David Stern, offered no punishment of the Knicks or coach and team president Isiah Thomas at that time. The NBA ignored the issue again after Knicks owner James Dolan and Thomas spoke out on the subject in 2015 when the Knicks rehired Thomas to oversee the WNBA’s Liberty franchise. That happened under Adam Silver’s watch. As New York employment attorney Kevin Mintzer, one of Browne Sanders’ lawyers, sees it, the NBA is now reaping what it has sown.
“I am not surprised,” said Mintzer (who does not speak for Browne) of the Mavs’ situation. “As we’ve seen throughout industries, this is an issue that is still pervasive, everywhere. I am particularly not surprised that it is a problem in the NBA given the nonexistent reaction that the NBA had to Anucha’s case back in 2007 and 2008 when it happened, and a few years ago when Mr. Dolan and Mr. Thomas were on TV saying slanderous things about my client eight years after the fact.”
But the fact is, the NBA sent a message back in 2007 when the Browne Sanders lawsuit against the Knicks was originally filed and no punishment was doled out by Stern. That message: This is not our business, and we won’t hand out punishment for it. Silver backed up that message after the 2015 James Dolan- Isiah Thomas interviews on HBO. And here we are. “The message should be that these events — despite what you have allowed, what you have indulged, what you have turned your head away from in the past — OK, clearly it is not going to fly,” Mintzer said. “If you purport to be a progressive league and you purport to have values in which you care about injustice to people’s color and women, but you allow workplaces like this to fester and do nothing when something is shown to be seriously wrong, then no one will take you seriously. “The only time they’ll do something is when there is public pressure to do something. My expectation is Mr. Silver will get religion on this only when he feels he has to.”