After Penn parent Philip Esformes had his 20-year prison sentence for Medicare fraud commuted by fellow Quaker parent President Donald Trump on Tuesday, Ivy Hoops Online looks back at the people and departments, directly and indirectly, involved in the bribery scandal in which Esformes got former Penn men’s basketball head coach Jerome Allen to place his son, Morris Esformes, on the recruited athletes list for the fall of 2015.
The tail end of Tuesday afternoon’s statement on Executive Grants of Clemency from outgoing President Donald Trump brought news that caught the interest of Ivy hoops fans. Philip Esformes, the father who bribed former Penn men’s basketball coach Jerome Allen to get his son, Morris, onto the recruited athlete list for the fall of 2015, had his 20-year prison sentence for Medicare insurance fraud commuted.
According to the statement, the commutation was supported by two former attorneys general, Edwin Meese (1985-1988) and Michael Mukasey (2007-2009). Meese was also joined by former attorneys general John Ashcroft (2001-2005) and Alberto Gonzalez (2005-2007), as well as Whitewater Special Counsel and former Baylor President Ken Starr, in supporting Esformes’s appeal of his conviction due to “prosecutorial misconduct related to violating attorney-client privilege.”
Penn Director of Athletics M. Grace Calhoun has had an incredibly busy and productive spring, but it appears that Penn Athletics hasn’t completed at least two of the required penalties from the NCAA Committee on Infractions’ February report under her leadership.
Calhoun, who has been in charge at Weightman Hall since the summer of 2014, oversees a staff of 165 employees, 33 varsity athletics programs, and nearly 40 club sports, as well as broad-based intramural and recreational offerings for students, faculty and staff.
To add to her full-time job and parenting of four homebound children during the coronavirus pandemic, Calhoun is the chair of the Ivy League’s committee on administration, the chair of the NCAA Division I council, a voting member of the NCAA board of directors and a non-voting member of the NCAA board of governors.
Waking up Wednesday morning, who knew that the sweep of the Penn men’s basketball team by Dartmouth and Harvard, as well as Tuesday’s blowout loss to Princeton by the women’s team, would not be the worst news of the week for the Quakers?
At high noon, the NCAA released a statement and report detailing its investigation into former Penn men’s head coach, Jerome Allen, who received bribes from Florida businessman Philip Esformes to place his son, Morris Esformes, onto the recruited athletes list for the entering class of 2015. Minutes later, Penn Athletics released its own statement on the report.
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.
- Princeton’s Bella Alarie completed her last 3×3 tournaments with USA Basketball with a silver medal effort in Edmonton this past weekend and a bronze medal showing in Montreal in early September. Overall, her team came in seventh place in the 28-team field.
The two-time Ivy Player of the Year, who also picked up a silver medal with USA Basketball at this summer’s Pan American Games, continues to improve her stock as she heads into her final year for the Tigers. Michelle Williams of the WNBA listed Alarie as one of the 12 potential first-round picks in next years’s Draft, while Howard Megdal of High Post Hoops had her as the number five pick for the Minnesota Lynx.
- Harvard men’s coach Tommy Amaker told Jon Rothstein that 2018 men’s Ivy League Player of the Year, Seth Towns, has been cleared for non-contact work. Towns, a co-captain of this year’s Crimson team, missed all of last year due to a knee injury sustained in the 2018 Ivy Tournament final against Penn.
Earlier this month, the senior from Columbus, Ohio, was one of 16 players attending the NCAA Elite Student-Athlete Symposium for Men’s Basketball in Indianapolis.
One of the greatest players in Ivy League basketball history is a member of the Boston Celtics organization.
And we’re not talking about Jerome Allen.
Allison Feaster, a 1998 Harvard graduate and the all-time leading scorer in Harvard women’s basketball history, has been hired by the Celtics as director of player development.
Although Penn Athletics released the men’s basketball home schedule on August 14, the complete slate was announced Wednesday, three weeks later. While the schedule is light on home games, coach Steve Donahue has crafted a strong 13 game nonconference schedule that will see the Quakers facing three Top-35 teams and anywhere from four to six top-90 squads.