According to a Yahoo! report late Friday night, a runner at the heart of an FBI investigation into college basketball alleged that he tried to negotiate a deal to send former recruit Brian Bowen to Michigan State.
Christian Dawkins, an agent for Andy Miller’s ASM sports agency company, sent Miller an email back on July 25, 2016, which included the following context, per the report:
“Dwayne Stephens – Trying to close the deal on Brian Bowen for Michigan State. Trying to do a trade deal for (Spartans) Gary Harris, Miles Bridges, etc”
In the emails, it showed Dawkins alleging he spoke to Stephens and attempted to ‘trade’ Bowen’s commitment to the Spartans in exchange for Harris and Bridges signing with ASM Sports.
It’s worth noting that Harris signed with Aaron Mintz of Creative Artists when he left MSU back in 2014 and has since remained with Mintz.
Bowen was a top target for the Spartans, but ultimately signed with Louisville in June 2017. While he had an official visit to MSU on Jan. 29, 2017, the two parties reportedly distanced themselves in the recruiting process long before that. Bowen was ruled ineligible this fall after his father, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, was promised $100,000 to ensure his son attended an Adidas-sponsored school, such as Louisville.
Bowen, a Saginaw native, transferred to South Carolina earlier in the year and has yet to play a collegiate game.
Early Friday morning, another Yahoo! Report provided an expense account filled out by Dawkins, which listed a $400 “advance” and a $70 dinner in a ledger, paid to Cynthia Bridges, Bridges’ mother, in May, 2016.
It’s unclear if Bridges was aware of the alleged cash payment or the dinner or if the payment ever even switched hands from Dawkins to Bridges. NCAA rules prohibit family members of players from accepting any money from agents. Also listed in the report was at least one dinner Dawkins expensed with Tom Izzo.
Izzo has a long-standing relationship with the ASM agent, one that spans back to Dawkins’ childhood. Dawkins, the son of Lou Dawkins, coached his star and former MSU great Draymond Green at Saginaw High School to two state titles.
“We have no reason to believe that I, any member of our staff or student-athlete did anything in violation of NCAA rules,” Izzo said in a statement issued Friday afternoon.
With two players already suspended after being named in the report, the status of Bridges for Sunday is undetermined. The second-ranked Spartans will play its regular season finale at Wisconsin before playing in the Big Ten tournament the following week.
Dawkins was one of 10 men the FBI charged in an investigation that uncovered bribery, fraud, and corruption in college hoops back in September. Dawkins was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with three counts of wire fraud and one count of money-laundering conspiracy.
In an ESPN report published late Friday night, Dawkins was identified in wiretapped phone conversations with Arizona coach Sean Miller, in which Miller discussed paying $100,000 to guarantee star freshman Deandre Ayton signed with the Wildcats.