Former Clemson player charged in college basketball corruption p - FOX Carolina 21

Former Clemson player charged in college basketball corruption probe appears in court

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Merl Code court sketch. (Courtesy: Jane Rosenburg) Merl Code court sketch. (Courtesy: Jane Rosenburg)
CLEMSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Ten men arrested in connection with suspected college basketball fraud and corruption, including a former Clemson basketball player, appeared in U.S. District Court in New York on Tuesday to face their charges.

Merl Code Jr., who played for the Tigers from 1993 to 1997, was arrested and charged in connection with the FBI investigation into allegations of bribes connected to basketball recruitment.

Code, 43, is charged with wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Code is an affiliate of "Company-1." The real name of the business has been withheld by officials. Code is accused of conspiring to pay high school basketball players or their families to get them to commit to attend universities sponsored by the company.

Code was reportedly an employee of Adidas.

Authorities said Code agreed to pay at least three bribes in 2017. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Code worked with other suspects to funnel $100,000 of company money to a high school player in exchange for his commitment to athletic programs sponsored by the business - and to sign with the company if the player joined the NBA.

"They also conspired to disguise the payments in the company's books, by using fake invoices and false entries," said acting US Attorney for Southern District of New York Joon Kim. "As Merle Code put it, in another recorded call, quote ‘it’s on the books, but it’s not on the books for what it’s actually for’."

Read the full announcement from the U.S. Attorney here.

Clemson's Assistant Athletic Director Joe Galbraith issued the following statement on Code's arrest:

Clemson athletics is aware of media reports concerning an investigation and arrests announced by the United States Attorney’s Office related to NCAA basketball. Included in those reported to be arrested was Merl Code, a Clemson basketball letterwinner from 1993-97. While Mr. Code has attended Clemson games in the past as do many of our alumni, we have not been informed of and are not aware of any connection between our men’s basketball program and this investigation.

Officials said former University of South Carolina assistant coach Lamont Evans was also charged in the investigation.

"All of them had the trust of the young players they coached and recruited – young men who looked up to them and believed that the coaches had their best interests at heart," said Kim. "While pushing these professionals, the bribed coaches showed little regard for the players well being. They ignored red flags seeing only the green in the cash bribes flowing their way...Fraud, abuse, and corruption of the type alleged in the charges brought today contaminates all that is good and pure around it and it has no place in college sports."

The investigation has been ongoing since 2015.

READ MORE: Prosecutors: Fmr. USC asst. coach Evans took bribes to influence USC player

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