Report: UK basketball assistant coach Kenny Payne linked to text message in Michael Avenatti case

(Photo: WKYT)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - Kentucky basketball assistant coach Kenny Payne has been linked to the Michael Avenatti case involving Nike EYBL director Carlton Debose, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports.

The shoe company allegedly funneled money through DeBose to AAU basketball coaches.

Yahoo! Sports reports Debose participated in a text message exchange on July 6, 2017, with an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, according to the motion.

The exhibits show a text conversation between someone with the initials “KP” and DeBose.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports during the text message exchange with the number associated with "KP", DeBose acknowledges payments to about "about 10" EYBL coaches who are "helping families to the total of about 200K annually."

In that conversation, KP responded, "Wow," then asks, "can it come back to hurt you?"

Debose replied, "Not really," before adding "It's a risk but my everyday job is a damn risk so I'm used to it now."

KP responded, "Watch your back bro."

A UK spokesman told the Courier-Journal, "We remain committed to compliance in all facets of our athletics department and will continue to work closely with the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference when necessary on any and all matters."

It is not clear if Payne accepted or requested any money.

This all stems out of an extortion case between Avenatti and Nike. Avenatti allegedly threatened to go public with information on pay-to-play schemes involving Nike's EYBL.

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