Celtics assistant Jerome Allen pleads guilty to bribe, fined $200,000
Celtics assistant coach Jerome Allen this week pled guilty in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida to accepting an $18,000 bribe from the parent of a prospective University of Pennsylvania student in 2014, when Allen was the head basketball coach at the school. Per Allen’s plea agreement, he will repay the $18,000 and be fined $200,000.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Friday evening that Allen will remain on Boston’s staff, and that any discipline will be handled internally. According to a league source, Allen is expected to face a suspension.
“I failed on many levels,” Allen said in a statement that his lawyer, Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., e-mailed to the Globe.
“Primarily, I had a failure of character. I did not live up to the high standards I set for myself, or were expected of me in the position that I held. I am sorry.”
In July, federal authorities said that Florida businessman Philip Esformes, who had previously been charged with orchestrating a Medicare fraud scheme, had bribed Allen with the intention of helping get his son admitted to Penn as a “listed” recruit.
Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships, so coaches generally give lists of prospective athletes to the admissions office, which then makes a final decision about whether the student will be accepted.
Ainge said he appreciated that Allen notified the Celtics of his situation this summer before they found out about it elsewhere.
“I’m disappointed that this happened,” Ainge said, “but I’ve also been very impressed with how he’s owned up, taken full responsibility for it, and hasn’t fallen into the line of thinking that, ‘This is the world of college basketball,’ or anything like that.
“He holds himself to a high standard and took immediate responsibility for it right out of the gate.”
Ainge said Allen has been an important mentor to many of the Celtics’ younger players, and he pointed out that this incident occurred before Allen was hired by the team.