Witness in NCAA basketball corruption trial says he paid Pitt, Penn State players | TribLIVE.com

Witness in NCAA basketball corruption trial says he paid Pitt, Penn State players

Doug Gulasy
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Penn State’s Aaron Maybin plays against Ohio State on Oct. 25, 2008, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

A continuing trial into corruption in NCAA basketball took a turn into college football Tuesday, when a former Pittsburgh financial adviser said he paid players from several major football programs, including Pitt and Penn State.

Marty Blazer, an informant for federal investigators into their probe of payments made to college basketball players, testified that between 2010 and 2014 he paid anywhere between several hundred to several thousand dollars to football players from Pitt, Penn State, Alabama, Michigan, North Carolina and Northwestern, according to reports from the trial from the New York Times’ Adam Zagoria and Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel.

Blazer’s testimony for the government implicated former Penn State football star Aaron Maybin. Per reports from Wetzel, Blazer said a Penn State football assistant asked him to pay a player’s father $10,000 so his son wouldn’t enter the 2009 NFL Draft. The son entered the draft anyway and was selected 11th overall by the Buffalo Bills, with his father later repaying the $10,000.

Maybin, selected 11th by the Bills in 2009, played two seasons for Buffalo and two for the New York Jets.

No players were referenced by name and former Penn State assistant Larry Johnson Sr. denied the accusations, Wetzel reported.

Blazer is testifying for the government in the trial of Merl Code, a former shoe company consultant, and Christian Dawkins, an aspiring agent. The trial is looking into alleged bribes paid to NCAA basketball assistant coaches for steering top players to Dawkins’ company.

Code and Dawkins previously were convicted and sentenced to six months in prison for their roles in funneling money to top recruits and their families to play for Adidas-sponsored basketball schools. Adidas executive James Gatto also was convicted in the case.

Assistant basketball coaches at several schools, including Arizona, Auburn, Creighton, Louisville, Oklahoma State, TCU and USC were fired in the wake of the ongoing investigation, as was former Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

Arizona coach Sean Miller, a Blackhawk native and former Pitt basketball star, was accused of paying players and was expected to testify in the trial, but judge Edgardo Ramos ruled last week he wouldn’t have to take the witness stand.

Blazer faces 67 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one each of aggravated identity theft, securities fraud and lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission in relation to a Ponzi scheme in which he was accused of taking millions of dollars from clients to invest in two movies.

Former Pitt offensive lineman Jason Pinkston, a Baldwin graduate who played for the Panthers from 2007-10, called Blazer a “clown” on Twitter.

Categories: Sports | Penn State | Pitt | Top Stories
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