The ongoing investigation into college hoops corruption now has a UK coach linked to the scandal.
In federal court today, texts and emails from Nike executives emerged that involve recruiting in the prospective athletes from the Nike EYBL.
According to a report from Yahoo Sports, a UK assistant coach was brought up in a text message discussion between himself and Nike executive Carlton DeBose, who is the director of the Nike EYBL. In the exhibits, the initials “KP” are attached to it, which suggests its UK associate coach Kenny Payne.
In the message, DeBose discussed payments for “about 10 (EYBL) coaches who are helping families to the total of about 200K annually.”
He (DeBose) names the coaches using first names and nicknames that couldn’t immediately be identified by Yahoo Sports. DeBose declares the business is “stressful” because he has “to do it cleanly and with a process. I’m good but it’s enough to where Lynn and Nico don’t want to know the intimate details to cover their asses.”
Nike’s global vice president for sports marketing and basketball is Lynn Merritt, who has been a longtime fixture at the company.
“So it’s a risk,” DeBose wrote, “but my everyday job is a damn risk so I’m used to it now.”
“Watch your back, bro,” KP wrote back.
‘Nico’ is Nico Harrison, Nike’s vice president of North American basketball operations.
It will be interesting to see what else emerges from the ongoing investigation. It’s just a text message for the time being, and it doesn’t mean Payne has engaged in any wrongdoing, but being brought up in a conversation with someone like DeBose who is playing dirty is a tad concerning for UK.
In a statement obtained by the Courier-Journal, UK offered the following:
“We remain committed to compliance in all facets of our athletics department and will continue to work closely with the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference when necessary on any and all matters.”