Alabama officials declared freshman point guard Collin Sexton ineligible after they determined he was the unnamed player identified in a federal complaint against Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person and former NBA referee Rashan Michel, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.
The Crimson Tide held Sexton out of Monday night's exhibition game against Alabama-Huntsville after the NCAA failed to reinstate his eligibility, the school said in a statement.
According to the federal complaint, former Alabama associate athletic director Kobie Baker accepted bribes from Michel and a cooperating witness to influence Crimson Tide players to sign with a financial adviser once they turned pro. The indictment alleges that the unidentified player's father also met with Michel and Baker in Atlanta.
Sexton, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound Georgia native, was the No. 7 player in ESPN 100. He was slated to be the top offensive option for coach Avery Johnson and the Crimson Tide, who also landed John Petty (ESPN, No. 22) and were picked to finish fourth in the recent SEC preseason poll.
Sources told ESPN that Sexton's relationship with former AAU coach Christian Dawkins, who was arrested and named in a separate federal complaint related to the corruption probe, might also be an issue. Sources said Dawkins, from Saginaw, Michigan, was involved in Sexton's recruitment.
Sexton made official visits to three other Adidas-sponsored schools -- Kansas, NC State and Oklahoma State -- before signing with the Crimson Tide.
"We don't have any further information at this time, but we will continue to cooperate with the NCAA and work toward a resolution that results in Colin's [sic] timely reinstatement," Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said in a statement on Monday. "While we are disappointed, the right decision was to err on the side of caution for tonight's exhibition game."
Johnson told reporters after the exhibition that he hopes to have a quick resolution when it comes to Sexton's eligibility.
A federal grand jury in New York indicted Person and Michel on multiple federal charges on Tuesday as part of the FBI's probe into college basketball corruption. An Auburn spokesperson said later Tuesday that he is no longer employed at the university.
Baker resigned on Sept. 28 after Alabama officials questioned him about being linked to the FBI probe. Baker oversaw all areas of Alabama's basketball administration and served as the liaison for men's basketball to the SEC office, compliance services and student-athlete support services.
During a meeting before Baker's resignation, he admitted to Alabama officials that he was the man identified as "Staff Member 1" in an FBI complaint against Person and Michel, sources told ESPN.
According to the complaint, Michel arranged a meeting between financial adviser Martin Blazer, a cooperating witness in the FBI investigation, and Staff Member 1 on or around May 3. The FBI alleges Blazer paid $5,000 to Staff Member 1 and $2,000 to Michel. Blazer secretly recorded the meeting, according to the FBI.
According to the complaint, Blazer asked Staff Member 1 if he had the ability to influence players at Alabama to retain Blazer's services once they turned pro. According to the complaint, Staff Member 1 replied: "If access and relationships and leading to where you need to be and, you know, helping with that ... yeah, I can absolutely do that. ... But at the same time, I have to be very conscious of all things that I do touch, not to put me in certain things and be in a position where we jeopardize that as well, because the moment that happens, there's no access."
In a second meeting in New York in late July, an undercover law enforcement agent posing as Blazer's business partner gave Michel $12,500 and another $10,0000 to give to Staff Member 1. In late August, according to the FBI complaint, Michel arranged a meeting at an Atlanta restaurant with Staff Member 1, Blazer and the father of a highly ranked incoming freshman at Alabama. The FBI alleges the purpose of the meeting was for Staff Member 1 to introduce the player's father to Blazer, who wanted to work as the player's financial adviser when he turned pro.
During that meeting, according to the FBI, Michel texted Blazer and told him that they should leave the table and go to the bathroom, so that Staff Member 1 could speak to the player's father about retaining Blazer. Once inside the bathroom, the FBI alleges, Blazer gave Michel approximately $10,000 in cash to give to Staff Member 1.
Sexton, from Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, Georgia, was ranked the state's No. 2 prospect by ESPN Recruiting, behind Duke signee Wendell Carter of Atlanta's Pace Academy. Sexton won the McDonald's Jam Fest Dunk Contest, joining previous winners Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Blake Griffin, and was named the MVP of the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championships in Spain.