Friday morning, the NCAA was hit with a violations bomb. A report from Yahoo’s Pat Forde and Pete Thamel alleged thousands of dollars were funneled to recruits by a former NBA agent. Among those players was Michigan State Spartans sophomore Miles Bridges.
Most of the players or their families were reported to have accepted thousands, if not tens-of-thousands of dollars. Bridges, on the other hand, is only linked to $470.05 from May, 2016 – $400 of which was listed as an “ATM Withdrawal: Miles Bridges Mom,” and the other $70.05 for “Redwood Lodge. Lunch w/Miles Bridges Parents.”
The report was based off of documents obtained by the FBI from Saginaw native Christian Dawkins, an employee for former NBA agent Andy Miller and ASM Sports agency.
Roughly 12 hours later, the two Yahoo reporters posted a second story, this time referencing both Bridges and members of the MSU coaching staff. In an email to Arizona head coach Sean Miller, Dawkins appeared to use MSU assistant coach Dwayne Stephens’ recruitment of Brian Bowen as leverage to get more from Arizona.
“Dwayne Stephens – Trying to close the deal on Brian Bowen for Michigan State. Trying to do a trade deal for (Spartans) Gary Harris, Miles Bridges, etc.”
The implication was that if Dawkins got Bowen to MSU, Stephens would then get Harris and Bridges to sign with ASM. Harris had already been in the NBA for two years at the time of the email, with agents from CAA Sports. Bridges, of course, would return to MSU for at least another year, skipping a chance to enter the NBA.
Bowen would eventually commit to Louisville, but would never play a minute.
According to the Yahoo report, Bridges was one of Dawkins’ main targets. “Documents indicate that Dawkins spent considerable time in contact with the Bridges family and with Spartans assistant coach Dwayne Stephens,” the story states.
Yahoo reported that Cynthia Bridges was frequently listed as “someone he planned to contact.” They also reported on an alleged late-night meeting with Bridges in July, 2016. Dawkins later includes Bridges in a group of players he referred to as “our guys” in an email, according to Yahoo.
Both Tom Izzo and MSU interim athletic director Bill Beekman gave statements following the first Yahoo report.
“While we will cooperate with any and all investigations,” Izzo said, according to the Detroit Free Press, “we have no reason to believe that I, any member of our staff or student-athlete did anything in violation of NCAA rules.”
“MSU is committed to a culture of NCAA compliance,” Beekman said. “We have proactively contacted the NCAA and Big Ten Conference. As Coach Izzo has stated, there is no evidence that he or anyone in his program, including student-athletes, did anything impermissible.”
Bridges hasn’t been quoted or released a statement on the news, but he was asked about the FBI probe during Big Ten Media Days in October.
“I knew eventually stuff was gonna start coming out like that,” Bridges said. “I didn’t know it was gonna be that big for the FBI to get into it. I’m just happy I went to Michigan State and did things the right way instead of going other places.”
Michigan State plays its final regular season game on Sunday at Wisconsin. There has been no announcement yet on if Bridges will or will not play.