A law firm filed a federal suit on behalf of former Louisville and South Carolina basketball recruit Brian Bowen on Monday against Adidas, alleging “violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.”
The targets of the lawsuit also include James Gatto, Merl Code, Christian Dawkins, Munish Sood, Thomas Gassnola and Christopher Rivers, all figures in the recent FBI corruption probe into college basketball.
Bowen spent most of the 2017-18 academic year in Columbia with Frank Martin’s team, but left for professional opportunity when it became clear he would not become eligible. He was at the center of the FBI probe after his father reportedly accepted $100,000 for him to play at Louisville.
According to a release from the Charleston-based law firm McLeod Law Group and Jason Setchen, “Adidas spearheaded this criminal racketeering enterprise to coerce the families of top high school basketball players to attend colleges and universities under contract with Adidas to boost the corporate brand and increase profits in the ultra-competitive $25 billion athletic shoe market. Once student athletes, such as Brian, commit to an Adidas sponsored university, they are duty bound to wear Adidas gear and allow Adidas to market their image and likeness for corporate profit.
“Because of this criminal scheme and through no fault of their own, Brian and other student athletes lost their eligibility to play college basketball at any school, lost their eligibility to receive financial aid necessary to continue their education, and lost the singular opportunity to develop physically and athletically into NBA draft picks at an elite NCAA Division I basketball program.”
Setchen represented Bowen last spring in his fight to get cleared by the NCAA and appear on the floor this season for the Gamecocks.
“I have always felt that Brian was the true victim of everything that transpired with Adidas,” said Setchen, who runs the Miami-based AthleteDefender.com. “Brian has been severely damaged due to the actions of others and treated unjustly. I am happy that the McLeod Law Group has undertaken the pursuit of justice on behalf of Brian. I look forward to working in conjunction with them to ensure that Brian finally gets his day in court.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Charleston.
Brian Bowen Sr., Bowen’s father, testified in court last month that he was given $1,300 by former Louisville assistant Kenny Johnson.