Rashan Michel avoids prison time in college basketball corruption case

NEW YORK -- An Atlanta businessman who pleaded guilty in a college basketball scandal that paid bribes to steer top athletes to certain schools and money managers has been spared prison time.

Rashan Michel wiped his eyes Thursday when U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in New York announced that prison would be excessive punishment, even for what she described as a serious crime.

He was sentenced to time served and two years of supervised probation.

Michel is a former NBA referee who founded and operated a clothing store that catered to professional athletes.

Prosecutors said he told a law enforcement informant he knew college basketball coaches who would be willing to accept bribes to influence athletes.

Michel apologized for his role in the scandal that led four assistant coaches at top-tier basketball programs to plead guilty and admit accepting bribes.