A quick note to readers of Ivy Hoops Online that Thursday marked the 18-month anniversary of the Penn Athletics announcement that it would be hiring outside legal counsel to look into Jerome Allen receiving bribes from Florida businessman Philip Esformes to place Esformes’s son, Morris Esformes, onto the recruited athlete list for the entering Fall 2015 class. The information was revealed as federal authorities were investigating the elder Esformes for healthcare fraud.
It has been 15 months since news broke about former men’s basketball head coach Jerome Allen receiving bribes from Florida businessman Philip Esformes to place Esformes’s son, Morris Esformes, onto the recruited athlete list for the entering Fall 2015 class. The information, which was revealed as federal authorities were investigating the elder Esformes for healthcare fraud, led to bribery charges against Allen. Since that time, Allen and Philip Esformes were found guilty and sentenced for their crimes, while the younger Esformes graduated from Penn’s Wharton School.
In March, Yale was caught up in the national Operation Varsity Blues admission scandal, when its former women’s soccer head coach Rudy Meredith was alleged to have taken bribes to place students on his recruited athlete list. Meredith plead guilty to his actions and is awaiting sentencing. Of the two recruited students, one was admitted for the fall of 2018 and had her acceptance rescinded.
Looking at the responses to these scandals by the two Ivy League institutions, one has been open and one has been far from forthcoming.
Former Penn head coach Jerome Allen was sentenced to four years of probation in a Miami courtroom Monday afternoon for accepting bribes from a Florida businessman to place his son on the Quakers’ recruited athletes list.
“If there is any lesson here, you can’t pay your way in and you shouldn’t be able to pay your way out,” U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams said. “There is a debt owed — it’s more than just a reputational cost to you.
- Cornell’s Matt Morgan was the male recipient of the Charles H. Moore Outstanding Senior Varsity Athlete Award at the school’s annual senior athletics banquet. The two-time first team All-Ivy guard ended his career with 2,333 points, the most in program history and second best in Ivy League history, trailing only Hall of Famer Bill Bradley of Princeton (2,503).
Five months after former men’s coach Jerome Allen reportedly pled guilty to accepting a bribe from a Florida businessman, Philip Esformes, to place Esformes’s son Morris Esformes on the recruited athletes list, he testified late last week and provided more information than had been previously reported. Details of his testimony can be found at the Miami Herald, the Daily Pennsylvanian, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Law360.
Among the bombshells reported by Law360:
On Tuesday afternoon, Penn’s Dr. M. Grace Calhoun, director of athletics and recreation, held a press conference to announce that Penn Athletics secured a sponsorship with Macquarie Investment Management. The multi-faceted agreement is highlighted by the group’s presenting sponsorship of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as naming rights to the Palestra’s famed court.
Calhoun refused to disclose the length and value of the deal but noted the partnership is for several years and is the largest such agreement in the history of Penn Athletics.
Typically, a presenting sponsor attaches its name to a product. With respect to the “Cathedral of Basketball”, the hardwood will now permanently be known as “Macquarie Court at the Palestra.” Calhoun noted, iin response to questions from Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com and reporters form the Daily Pennsylvanian, that having a corporate name linked directly with the fabled arena was not an option. However, she did admit that the school’s famed football stadium, Franklin Field, and the Penn Relays could be considered for a deal in the future.
As Ivy Hoops coverage dwindles across the digital world like Princeton’s winning percentage, I have returned to the dismay of many and the delight of few for yet another year of Penn Basketball coverage for IHO. Therefore, I will now channel another Philly hero, Sylvester Stallone, and pick up exactly where the team left off last season.
It is ironic that Steve Donahue has become our new head coach.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with the choice. After all, this has to be his dream job. A Philly guy with Quaker DNA who has a deep respect, if not love, for the hoop traditions of the city, returns as leader to the campus that once nurtured his coaching skills as a young assistant. In fact, he was so enamored with his new position that in his introductory press conference he said, “This place is one that has everything I ever wanted in an institution. I am a Big 5 coach. There are only five of us. To imagine that I am one of them, at this institution, is just incredible.”
The Steve Donahue era is here, and it’s almost palpable with Thursday’s release of the 2015-16 Penn basketball schedule.
And it’s interesting, though not much different from past schedules. We have the obligatory homecoming trip, this time a trip home at Washington on Sat., Nov. 21 for senior center Darien Nelson-Henry and junior guard Matt Poplawski both of whom are from the Seattle area. Good for them, and good on the program for providing that Evergreen State opportunity.
What’s not so obligatory? Playing at Drexel.
That’s right, the Daskalakis Athletic Center, where Steve Bilsky forbade the Quakers from playing during his run as athletic director, excepting one 2008 matchup.
As an outstanding people person who the Philadelphia Inquirer correctly noted that no one wanted to see fired as Penn head coach in March, Jerome Allen was likely to find a decent assistant coaching gig outside the confines of the Palestra.
But was anybody expecting this?