TCU coach Jamie Dixon expresses ‘shock’ over assistant’s link in FBI corruption case

Big Mac Chat: Jamie Dixon

Star-Telegram sports columnist Mac Engel talks to TCU basketball coach Jamie Dixon about basketball, Dixon's career, and recruiting.
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Star-Telegram sports columnist Mac Engel talks to TCU basketball coach Jamie Dixon about basketball, Dixon's career, and recruiting.

TCU coach Jamie Dixon said he was “shocked” when he learned one of his assistants had been linked to the FBI’s college basketball corruption case.

Assistant Corey Barker allegedly received a bribery payment to steer TCU players toward a specific sports agency in the summer of 2017. Barker has been placed on administrative leave and it’s unknown when, or if, he’ll rejoin the coaching staff this season.

“We’ll see where it goes,” Dixon said after TCU’s 69-56 victory over Texas on Saturday. “But he’s certainly a good person, a good man, good family man, and the guys were upset because he means a lot to them. I was upset as well. He’s a good man. That’s all I can say.”

Dixon referred to Barker as a “great person” in a comment about the importance of winning Saturday for TCU’s NCAA tournament hopes. The Frogs had lost six of their last seven going into it.

“We had a lot of things going on,” Dixon said of the game. “A lot of motivation. Obviously playing for the NCAA tournament, on the bubble … obviously for Corey, our assistant, he’s a great person. So there’s a lot of motivation for the guys and certainly you shouldn’t need more, but we knew our backs were against the wall.”

TCU coaches and players were emotional about winning this game for Barker. He has been on Dixon’s staff since he got to TCU, and has developed close bonds with several players.

TCU freshman guard Kendric Davis tweeted after the game, “This win was for CB!! we fighting for you big dawg.”

Barker’s named surfaced in the FBI case that has rocked the college basketball world when the federal government filed a superseding indictment Thursday in the Southern District of New York, alleging that two assistants received $6,000 bribery payments from Christian Dawkins to steer players toward Dawkins’ sports agency.

Barker and Creighton’s Preston Murphy were named as the assistants. Barker has not been charged with a crime, and reports suggest it’s unlikely he will be.

TCU acknowledged a subpoena for employment records, and athletics director Jeremiah Donati issued a statement on Thursday saying the department is conducting an “internal review.” On Friday, he issued an additional statement that Barker had been placed on administrative leave.

“While TCU conducts an internal review, assistant men’s basketball coach Corey Barker has been placed on administrative leave,” Donati said in a statement. “In light of the ongoing judicial process and our institutional practice of not discussing personnel matters, we will have no further comment.”

Dawkins was sentenced to six months in prison and found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for funneling illegal payments to families of recruits earlier this week.

Every assistant coach linked to the FBI case has been fired by their respective universities.

The Justice Department announced it had indicted and arrested 10 people in September 2017, including four college basketball assistant coaches.

Auburn’s Chuck Person, Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson, Southern Cal’s Tony Bland and Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans were all accused of accepting bribes, and each were fired by their respective universities. Richardson, Bland and Evans have all pleaded guilty, and Person is expected to go to trial in June.

The difference, though, is that Barker may not be charged with the alleged crime.

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Drew Davison is the TCU and Big 12 sports writer for the Star-Telegram. He’s covered everything in DFW from Rangers to Cowboys to motor sports.