​When ​Auburn men's basketball plays its opening game in the SEC Tournament on Thursday afternoon, they will do it without assistant coach Ira Bowman. Bowman has been ​​suspended from the program and placed on administrative leave after it came to light that he was ensnared in a bribery scandal at the University of Pennsylvania years ago. 


Reports surfaced less than two days ago of Bowman being implicated alongside former Penn Quakers head coach Jerome Allen in a federal bribery scheme. Allen testified on Friday that he received close to $300,000 from Philip Esformes, father of Morris Esformes, in order to bribe the coach into giving his son a place on the UPenn team.

Allen said in court that Bowman was aware of the scheme and took over the deal once Allen was fired in 2015. He maintains that he gave Bowman a debit card and set up a separate bank account for Bowman to access the illicit funds.


All of this is damning to Bowman's reputation, to say nothing of the criminal implications, as well as that of the Auburn and Penn basketball programs. If Allen's testimony is true, don't expect to ever see Bowman coaching on any legitimate program's sidelines again.

Auburn University is still focused right now on getting all the right information before handing Bowman any manner of final decision.


"We are aware of the reports that are out there,” Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl said Tuesday. "Currently, we and our administration are gathering facts. Until we know more, it would be premature for me to comment on anything further."