NEW YORK — The ongoing college basketball corruption trial of two Adidas officials and an aspiring NBA agent produced two allegations Thursday involving Maryland, one pertaining to the legal guardian of sophomore center Bruno Fernando, another related to former center Diamond Stone.
A former top Adidas consultant testified that Fenny Falmagne, the legal guardian of Fernando, told Adidas officials that he had taken $60,000 from a Maryland booster seeking to secure the commitment of Silvio De Sousa, another top recruit. Falmagne is also legal guardian to De Sousa, who ultimately committed to Kansas.
TJ Gassnola, the former Adidas consultant, did not identify the booster. Fernando was not mentioned, nor was it implied the money from the booster secured his commitment to Maryland. Gassnola testified that he and his boss, Adidas executive Jim Gatto, considered paying Falmagne $20,000 to help him get out of his obligation to the Maryland booster, but the payment ultimately was never made. Left unanswered in testimony Thursday was why De Sousa ended up committing to Kansas, an Adidas-sponsored team, even though his legal guardian was telling Adidas officials he had promised to steer De Sousa to Maryland.
Additionally, an attorney for Gatto, in a question during cross-examination, suggested that before Stone committed to Maryland, his high school coach told Adidas officials that if the company paid him $150,000 he could ensure Stone attended an Adidas-sponsored team. Adidas apparently did not agree to pay Stone’s high school coach, according to the lawyer. Before Gassnola could answer and elaborate, a prosecutor objected, and the judge prohibited the former Adidas consultant from answering.
In a statement Thursday, Maryland said the university had cooperated with the ongoing investigation and had not uncovered any evidence of violations of NCAA rules as it has reviewed records it has produced in response to federal subpoenas. As to the allegation about the booster, Maryland stated, “After an internal review, we found no involvement as a program regarding these allegations.”