Leading off today:
The FBI recorded former University of Arizona assistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson telling undercover agents he paid $40,000 to a "high school coach" to help ensure the academic eligibility of former New York City basketball star Rawle Alkins, Yahoo Sports reported
The transcript of the June 2017 conversation does not identify the coach nor does it indicate whether he was connected to Christ the King in New York City or Word of God Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Alkins attended for a year after exhausting his eligibility in the CHSAA.
The development came to light in an examination of the record from the trial of former agent employee Christian Dawkins and former Adidas consultant Merl Code this spring. In the 1,500-word transcript, Richardson alleges to have paid $40,000 to have Alkins' transcript altered so the star guard would be eligible as an Arizona freshman in 2016-17.
The conversation was not used as evidence it the trial but adds to the university's issues since academic fraud is a hot-button issue in NCAA compliance investigations and typically subjects schools to harsh penalties. Court testimony and evidence has already implicated Arizona in other potential violations.
Richardson, a recruiter with ties to New York City, is serving a three-month sentence at the federal correctional institute in Otisville after agreeing to plead guilty to a federal funds bribery charge.
The eligibility issue involving Alkins, a first-team all-state selection in 2015, centered on a shortfall of high school course credits that would have left him ineligible to play as a college freshman. The FBI transcript has Richardson saying the high school coach told him, "I need $40,000 to get this (class) on his transcript."
The coach's plan purportedly involved adding credit for a summer school course taken at now-defunct Bishop Ford in Brooklyn. Richardson deemed the plan "ingenious" because the closure of Bishop Ford in 2014 all but guaranteed that the NCAA would run into a dead end if it questioned Alkins' freshman eligibility.
Alkins played two seasons at Arizona before entering the 2018 NBA draft. He went undrafted and signed a two-way contract with the Chicago Bulls.
Newburgh board OKs appointment: The Newburgh school board unanimously voted Tuesday to rehire varsity track coach Malcolm Burks.
Burks' reappointment had been stalled after he was investigated by an Orange County grand jury and the school district regarding students who played sports while ineligible because of their attendance at school, The Times Herald-Record reported.
Superintendent Roberto Padilla said at the end of the school board meeting that the district's investigation wrapped up a few days ago.
"We did identify that there were some track students that competed that were ineligible roughly four years ago," Padilla said. "And while I can't get into personnel matters, consequences have been given and they're closely monitoring. We see, based on our systems and data, that things have improved in the last two years."
The delay in Burks' reappointment had sparked an outpouring of support on his behalf from parents and athletes.
Bizarre story of the week: A female swimmer in Alaska was disqualified after winning her race Friday because the referee ruled she had violated "uniform regulations" because her swimsuit rode up on her buttocks during the race.
The disqualification of the Anchorage Dimond swimmer was contested at the dual meet and drew immediate