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UNLV hires law firm to investigate claims by Michael Avenatti

Updated May 17, 2019 - 12:18 pm

UNLV has hired the law firm of Bond, Schoeneck &King to investigate claims by attorney Michael Avenatti that a representative for Brandon McCoy received improper inducements from Nike to send the coveted basketball recruit to play for the Rebels.

Avenatti on Thursday shared emails between himself and Eric Nepomuceno, UNLV’s senior associate athletic director for compliance, with the Review-Journal that show the school had hired attorneys Mike Glazier and Jason Montgomery and intended to look further into the allegations.

“I will fully cooperate with UNLV, Duke, Arizona, Oregon, the NCAA and all the other schools as it relates to Nike’s bribery scandal to illegally control college basketball,” Avenatti said in a text message. “So far, only UNLV has contacted me, which is telling. What is Duke and the others afraid of? The truth?”

Avenatti later told Yahoo Sports that Oregon also is launching an investigation involving Nike and former Ducks and Findlay Prep player Bol Bol.

UNLV declined comment Thursday, instead referring to a statement from three weeks ago that the university was continuing to look into the matter. McCoy played one season at UNLV before turning professional.

Nepomuceno said in an email Monday to Avenatti that “the university has an obligation, consistent with NCAA rules, to evaluate any credible information of potential NCAA rules violations.” He added that UNLV would welcome any documentation that Avenatti could provide that would support his allegations.

Avenatti indicated in a tweet March 26 that McCoy was improperly recruited when he signed with the Rebels in 2017. UNLV issued a statement at the time that it would investigate the matter.

Then on April 6, Avenatti posted documents on Twitter that he said proved that McCoy’s guardian, Shaun Manning, received a total of $15,000 over three separate payments from Nike representatives from July 1, 2016, to Aug. 10, 2016. UNLV issued a statement that it was still investigating, and Nike said it would “not respond to the allegations of an individual facing federal charges of fraud and distortion.”

Avenatti is facing federal charges of extortion in New York and of wire fraud and bank fraud in California.

More Rebels: Follow at reviewjournal.com/Rebels and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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