Football: Witness in college basketball bribery trial testifies he paid football players, including from Northwestern


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Ryan Field. A witness in a college sports bribery trial testified that he paid football players from a handful of schools, including Northwestern, on Tuesday.

Ella Brockway, Sports Editor

A former financial advisor testified in a college basketball bribery trial Tuesday that he paid football players from several colleges, including Northwestern.

Louis Martin Blazer, a witness for federal prosecutors, said he gave anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars to associates or family members of football players from Alabama, Michigan, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Pitt and Penn State between 2010 and 2014.

The payments were made in the hope that the players would choose Blazer as their financial advisor upon turning professional, said Adam Zagoria, who is reporting on the trial for the Arizona Daily Star.

Blazer also said he had never paid a college football coach. While other schools were mentioned in further testimony — Blazer gave examples of interactions and relationships with players at Penn State and North Carolina — Northwestern was not named other than on Blazer’s initial list.

“Northwestern University is not aware of any misconduct related to this report, however we take any allegation seriously and actively investigate,” a University spokesperson said in a statement.

In 2017, Blazer pleaded guilty to wire fraud, securities fraud, lying to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 67 years in prison for those charges, and as part of a plea agreement, is cooperating as a witness in the federal government’s investigation into bribery in college basketball.

The FBI’s investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball became public in September 2017, when the Justice Department announced it had indicted and arrested 10 people, ranging from business managers and Adidas employees to assistant coaches. The trial that began Tuesday in New York is that of former agent Christian Dawkins and former Adidas consultant Merl Code, both of whom were sentenced to six months in prison in the investigation’s first trial in March for bribing and paying players’ families to steer them toward certain schools. This trial is set to focus on bribes made to college basketball coaches.

Blazer will continue his testimony Wednesday.

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