Brian Bowen II, the former five-star prospect at the center of an FBI investigation into college basketball corruption, filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against Adidas on Monday.
The lawsuit alleges Adidas and its associates engaged in bribery, fraud and money laundering at the expense of Bowen’s eligibility and athletic development.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in South Carolina by the McLeod Law Group, includes Adidas associates James Gatto, Merl Code, Christian Dawkins, Munish Sood, Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola and Christopher Rivers. Gatto, Code and Dawkins were defendants in October’s FBI trial, while Sood and Gassnola were called as witnesses after pleading guilty earlier this year.
“Adidas has thus far infiltrated college basketball with complete impunity,” lead attorney Mullins McLeod said. “It is now time for them to answer for what they have done and to suffer the consequences of their corporate misconduct. Brian is an exceptional young man who is determined to right this wrong and to do his part to help free other student athletes from corporate corruption that has no place in college basketball.”
Bowen committed to Louisville in June 2017, but he never played a game for the Cardinals after the FBI announced its investigation in September 2017. Brian Bowen Sr., who was accused of agreeing to a pay-for-play scheme to receive $100,000 from Adidas to send his son to Louisville, testified in federal court in October that he received thousands of dollars from Gassnola, Dawkins and Rivers to play for Adidas-affiliated grassroots programs. He and Sood also testified that Bowen Sr. received $19,4000 in cash as the first of four payments for Bowen II to attend Louisville.
Bowen II was held out of competition at Louisville and transferred to South Carolina, but signed a professional contract in Australia in August.
Bowen II has always maintained he was not aware of his father’s schemes, and Monday morning’s announcement said the deals were “unbeknownst to Brian.”
“I have always felt that Brian was the true victim of everything that transpired with Adidas,” said attorney Jason A. Setchen, who represented Bowen II in his NCAA case. “Brian has been severely damaged due to the actions of others and treated unjustly. I am happy that the McLeod Law Group has undertaken the pursuit of justice on behalf of Brian. I look forward to working in conjunction with them to ensure that Brian finally gets his day in court.”