Black Coaches Lost Everything After FBI College Hoops Case That Wrecked Careers, Then Fizzled


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By Associated Press

Former University of Arizona assistant basketball coach Richardson served 90 days in jail and says he wears the “scarlet letter F” — for felon — now.

Former University of Arizona assistant coach, Book Richardson, served 90 days in jail and received a 10-year ban from the NCAA for his role in illegal, off-the-book payments to players and families. (Jacob Snow/USA Today Sports)

NEW YORK (AP) — Book Richardson doesn’t sleep much past 5:30 a.m. anymore.

That was around the time seven years ago that FBI agents pounded on his door, barged in, handcuffed him and dragged him away while his 16-year-old son, E.J., looked on helplessly.

“Ever since then, everyone looks at me differently,” the former University of Arizona assistant coach told The Associated Press about his arrest, part of a sting designed to clean up college basketball. “And I don’t fall back to sleep when I see that time come up on the clock.”

He is one of four assistant coaches — along with a group of six agents, their financial backers and shoe company representatives — who were arrested in the 2017 federal probe aimed at rooting out an entrenched system of off-the-books payments to players and their families that, at the time, was against NCAA rules.

All four assistants — Richardson, Lamont Evans, Tony Bland and Chuck Person — are Black. Of the 10 men arrested, only one was white.

“Low-hanging fruit,” the 51-year-old Richardson said when asked why Black men took the brunt of the punishment. “Who do you see all the time that’s out there? Black assistants. Who is forging the relationships? Black assistants.”


An AP analysis of schools in the six biggest basketball conferences found the ranks of Black assistant coaches have risen from 51% to 59% between 2014 and 2023. But Black men command only about 30% of head-coaching positions.


Some see promise in the fact that Black men fill more assistant coaching positions now than in 2014. Others believe that while opportunities have expanded for African-Americans, they are still the lower-paid, higher-risk jobs in the “talent-acquisition” part of the game that’s rife with turnover and shadowy dealmaking — and landed Richardson and others in jail.

Continue the article here.

Learn about the myth of racial difference: created to sustain slavery, persisting today.

Read about racism within the University of Utah’s women’s basketball team.

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