Jerome Allen, ex-player and coach at Penn, now a Celtics assistant, admits he took payments in trial of alleged briber

Jerome Allen

Jerome Allen coached at Penn from 2009-15.

On the eve of the third edition of Ivy Madness, its postseason tournament, the Ivy League doesn’t need this one. But it is a matter of public record and should not be swept aside.

Jerome Allen, a former star and basketball coach at Pennsylvania, and now an assistant for the Boston Celtics, gave some disturbing testimony in Miami Federal Court last Friday (March 8th) in which he admitted to having received payments to help get the son of a briber gain admission into Penn.

“I lied to the school’s admissions office, Allen told the court. “I knew that if it got back to the University of Pennsylvania what I was doing … I would be fired.”

Fired he was

Allen was indeed fired as the Quakers’ head basketball coach in March 2015. He is now an assistant for the NBA’s Boston Celtics. Last October he was convicted of bribery-related charges for which he was ordered to pay a $202,000 fine and an $18,000 forfeiture judgment. He was also suspended for two weeks by the Celtics.

Now, Allen is in court again, having turned government witness in a separate fraud trial against Philip Esformes, the alleged bribe giver who is accused of obtaining $1 billion in a Medicare-related scheme. Some of it was allegedly used to influence Allen.

Allen played for Penn from 1991-1995 and then was selected in the second round of the NBA draft, the 49th overall pick, by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He played for Minnesota, the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets from 1995 to 1997, before concluding his career out of the country.

Statement from Penn

In a written statement from a University spokesman, Kevin Bonner, Associate Athletic Director of Administration and Strategic Communications, wrote:

“We were extremely disappointed to learn that Jerome Allen, former head men’s basketball coach at Penn, accepted payments to recruit a potential student-athlete to Penn and concealed that conduct from the Athletic Department and University administration.”

Never played for Penn, though on the team

“I accepted the money to help Morris Esformes get into the school,” Allen testified the other day in Miami’s U.S. Federal Court. “I got his (Phillip Esformes’) son into Penn. I got his son into Wharton. None of that would have happened without me.”

In 2013, Allen allegedly made several trips to Miami to meet with father and son. Each time Allen received $10,000 cash in a brown envelope.

Allen acknowledged that without the bribes, the boy would not have made the basketball team.
Morris Esformes was admitted to Wharton in 2015. However, he never appeared on the Quakers’ roster or played on the Penn team.

“Overall, Allen is claimed to have been paid more than $74,000 in cash and $220,000 in wire transfers over a period that extended from 2013 to 2015.


Basketball life goes on at Penn, in the Ivy League, and elsewhere.

One more thing. Penn plays Harvard Saturday in one of the semi-finals of “Ivy Madness.”

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