The last update from Penn Athletics on the ongoing bribery case involving former men's basketball coach Jerome Allen came four months ago, when the University's independent review was in its "final stages." After The Daily Pennsylvanian met with Athletics Director M. Grace Calhoun last week, here's what we know and what we don't about the Allen situation.
What we know:
Allen has pleaded guilty to bribery charges and will testify in the Philip Esformes trial
Jury selection began on Feb. 11 for the trial of Miami businessman Philip Esformes, the father of Wharton senior and former Allen recruit Morris Esformes. Esformes was indicted on charges of fraud after racking up $1 billion in a Medicare-related scheme and will stand trial after the jury selection.
According to court documents, Esformes gave "Coach 2," who was later identified as Allen, over $74,000 in bribes before Morris was admitted to Penn as part of Allen's final recruiting class. Allen admitted in October to accepting $18,000 in bribes from Esformes. In addition to repaying the sum, Allen was also fined $200,000 by the federal government.
Allen is slated to testify in the trial once it begins.
Penn brought in an expert for its internal investigation
Penn hired an outside consultant, Chuck Smrt of The Compliance Group, to oversee the internal investigation. Smrt has extensive experience with the NCAA and programs that violate its rules, having worked for over 17 years on the NCAA's enforcement staff. He has also worked on recent high-profile cases such as the 2010-11 Ohio State football tattoo scandal and the 2015 Louisville men's basketball sex scandal.
“Chuck was retained to give a thorough look at what happened and if there were any [NCAA] rules that were broken," Calhoun said.
Bringing in an expert like Smrt is a sign that the school is taking the unfolding situation seriously.
What we don't know:
The full results of Smrt's investigation
While Allen is waiting to testify, Penn Athletics cannot comment on the investigation into his conduct. Calhoun says the department is committed to moving forward with its findings when it is able.
“Penn thoroughly reviewed everything surrounding the situation, and as soon as we're at liberty to proceed forward, after that part of the trial at least, we will," Calhoun said.
The timeline for any official announcement or sanctions
Although jury selection is in motion, the actual starting date for the trial is still to be announced. Even if it is sooner rather than later, there's no telling when Allen will be called upon, so we might not learn about Penn's findings for months.
Additionally, it still remains to be seen what long-term implications Penn will incur from Esformes' bribes. According to Christian Dennie, an attorney for Barlow Garsek & Simon, LLP, this case is new territory for the NCAA.
“I can’t recall another case where this would happen,” he said. “I mean it’s an Ivy League school, and Ivy League schools are hard to get into and everything in between. So it’s a little bit [of a] different ballgame there.”
Depending on the level of involvement Penn had in the case, its sanctions could be self-imposed or NCAA-recommended, and may include restrictions on future recruiting. The investigation could also result in no further action from either party.
Whatever the end result will be, we might not know for some time.