Miami confirms FBI looking into Hurricanes basketball program

Miami basketball uniforms for March, 2017. (UM Athletics)

Miami basketball uniforms for March, 2017. (UM Athletics)

CORAL GABLES — University of Miami President Julio Frenk confirmed Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a tie between a UM basketball staff member and a potential recruit, stemming from a bombshell report the FBI released Tuesday.

“While we are alarmed and disappointed, we are steadfast in our belief that we must also act with the highest level of integrity and commitment to the pursuit of truth,” Frenk wrote in a letter addressed to the “University of Miami Family.”

“To that end, we have pledged our full and complete cooperation with the Department of Justice probe as well as to the NCAA, with whom we will jointly review any relevant matters. The legal process and any NCAA joint review will likely take some time, so I urge patience for all who love our University.

“We are a strong institution, and I can assure you that we will do what is right, even if doing so is hard.”

Neither UM nor any employee was named in Tuesday’s report, which indicted 10 people, including four assistant coaches at major schools, after a two-year FBI investigation into “bribery, corruption and fraud” in college basketball.

A school called “University-7” in the report matches Miami’s profile, and a “Coach-3” is believed to be a UM staff member. According to the report, that coach had some involvement in a bidding war for a high school recruit. The player is believed to be five-star forward Nassir Little, and the competing school is believed to be Arizona.

Arizona assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson was one of four coaches arrested Tuesday, along with Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans,Auburn’s Chuck Person and USC’s Tony Bland.

The complaint also names James Gatto, director of global sports marketing at Adidas; Merl Code, who recently left Nike for Adidas; budding NBA agent Christian Dawkins; Jonathan Brad Augustine, program director of the Adidas-sponsored 1 Family club team — a team Little plays for — financial adviser Munish Sood; and Rashan Michel, a former NBA official and clothier.

UM Athletics Director Blake James said in a statement Tuesday the school would comply with any legal or NCAA direction in the matter. The lawyer for head coach Jim Larranaga maintained his client’s innocence.

The Hurricanes open practice Friday.

Frenk’s letter, in full: