Two days after an attorney claimed that Oregon offered “an astronomical amount of money” to get top basketball recruit Brian Bowen to sign with the Ducks, his father did not corroborate that claim in court.
Asked about the allegation in a U.S. District Court in New York on Thursday, Brian Bowen Sr. said “I don’t recall” any financial offer from the Ducks, according to various media reports from the courtroom. Bowen Sr. described payment offers from Arizona, Oklahoma State, Texas and Creighton to get his son to attend those schools.
Oregon was put in the spotlight on the opening day of the trial against three men accused of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud while working to align recruits with shoe companies. Former Adidas employees Jim Gatto and Merl Code are on trial along with Christian Dawkins, who is accused of arranging the payments to recruits.
Gatto’s attorney, Casey Donnelly, claimed in her opening statement that “Oregon, a Nike school, offered (Bowen) an astronomical amount of money if he’d go to Oregon.”
That statement came out of a conversation between Dawkins and Code that was secretly recorded and played in court Wednesday. According to reports, both Dawkins and Code described Oregon’s offer to Bowen as “astronomical,” but did not provide any additional details.
Oregon disputed any wrongdoing in a statement released Thursday morning before Bowen Sr. took the stand.
The university revealed that it interviewed its men’s basketball coaching staff last year when the national recruiting scandal became public and “found no evidence that the UO had used monetary offerings to prospective student-athletes or their family members to entice them to attend the UO.” School officials again spoke with the coaches this week and once again found no evidence of NCAA violations.
“Based on all the information currently available, we feel confident that coach Dana Altman and members of his staff uphold the highest standards of integrity in recruiting,” the UO concluded in a statement. “Coach Altman is one of the nation’s most respected men’s basketball coaches, and we are proud of his strong track record of success on and off the court.”
Altman is scheduled to hold a press conference Friday afternoon.
Oregon also said it has asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate whether or not there is evidence to support the claim that Oregon offered money to Bowen and his family, but has not received a response.
“The UO has never been contacted by federal authorities or any other parties in this or any other current criminal or civil case related to recruiting in men’s college basketball,” the statement said.