Book Richardson pleads guilty to felony count in corruption case

Former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one felony count of conspiracy to commit bribery, becoming the second former coach to accept a plea deal with federal prosecutors in their case involving college basketball corruption.

Richardson, who was accused of accepting $20,000 in bribes to steer Arizona players to certain managers and financial advisers once they turned pro, might face 18 to 24 months in prison. He is scheduled for sentencing in U.S. District Court in New York on April 24.

"Obviously, the hearing today was pretty emotional," said Richardson's attorney, Craig Mordock. "Book did something that I think is hard for a lot of people to do -- to admit he did wrong. We're going to move forward, and hopefully the judge will take into account that he admitted his conduct was wrong and showed remorse."

Richardson and two other former assistants -- USC's Tony Bland and Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans -- were arrested in September 2017 as part of the FBI's clandestine two-year investigation into college basketball corruption.

"As he admitted in court today, Emanuel Richardson, a former Arizona men's basketball coach, abused his position as a mentor and coach to student-athletes for his own personal gain," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. "Richardson, entrusted to help players develop as athletes and young men, instead helped himself to the cash offered by unscrupulous agents and financial advisers."

Earlier this month, Bland pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and admitted he accepted $4,100 to influence players. He is scheduled for sentencing April 2, though he likely won't be jailed and will serve his sentence through probation.

Evans is accused of accepting at least $22,000 in bribe money while coaching at South Carolina and Oklahoma State. It isn't known whether Evans has accepted a plea deal or will go to trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in April. His attorney, Billy Martin, hasn't responded to inquiries from ESPN.

Two other defendants indicted in the case -- former Adidas consultant Merl Code and Christian Dawkins, a runner for former NBA agent Andy Miller -- are preparing to go to trial in April, according to their attorneys.

"None of this changes our approach," Dawkins' attorney, Steven Haney, told ESPN earlier this month. "Our level of fight is not going to change because of what other people do. That's not how I am, and that's not how Christian is. I believe there is conduct in this case that is not charged in the indictment and that needs to come out. We want the truth to come out, and it will come out."

Code, Dawkins and Adidas executive James Gatto were convicted of federal fraud charges in October for funneling money from Adidas to the parents and/or guardians of high-profile recruits to steer them to sign with Adidas-sponsored schools, including Kansas, Louisville and NC State. They are scheduled for sentencing in that case on March 5.

Former Auburn assistant Chuck Person and former NBA referee Rashan Michel are scheduled to go to trial in June. Person is accused of soliciting and accepting $91,500 in bribes from an undercover cooperating witness to influence Auburn players to sign with certain financial advisers.