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Originally published May 4, 2013 at 09:11p.m., updated May 5, 2013 at 12:10a.m.

Report: McLemore’s AAU coach took agent money

Kansas guard Ben McLemore slaps hands with KU fans following his 36-point effort, the most by a freshman since Danny Manning, following the Jayhawks' 91-65 win over West Virginia on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore slaps hands with KU fans following his 36-point effort, the most by a freshman since Danny Manning, following the Jayhawks' 91-65 win over West Virginia on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas University’s athletic department is looking into a USA Today report that freshman basketball player Ben McLemore’s former AAU coach received $10,000 and three expense-paid trips to Los Angeles from a middle man who represented agents and financial advisers this past season.

St. Louis-based AAU coach Darius Cobb told the paper that he accepted two cash payments of $5,000 during the 2012-13 season from Rodney Blackstock, the founder of Hooplife Academy, a sports mentoring organization based in Greensboro, N.C.

Cobb said he also went on three trips to Los Angeles and that Richard Boyd, a cousin of McLemore’s, traveled with him on two of them. The trips, USA Today wrote, were for January/February meetings with sports agents and advisers hoping to represent McLemore if he left for the NBA after the season. McLemore has indeed declared for the 2013 NBA Draft.

“Late this afternoon we received an inquiry regarding the relationship between the family of Ben McLemore and a third party, Rodney Blackstock. This was the first time this inquiry had been presented to us,” KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said in a statement. “In accordance with the conditions and obligations of its membership in the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference, the University of Kansas will review the information and process it with both of those entities if necessary. We are not in a position to comment further at this time.”

Zenger told the Journal-World he would have no further comment. Coach Bill Self offered no comment on the matter.

Boyd in an interview with USA Today denied making the trips to Los Angeles. Cobb told USA Today that McLemore knew “little to none” about Blackstock’s financial involvement in the player’s life and did not know Cobb received $10,000 from Blackstock.

However, USA Today reported that Blackstock attended three games at Allen Fieldhouse this past season courtesy of complimentary tickets provided to McLemore by KU. Blackstock, the paper said, also paid the bill ($400 or $500) for McLemore’s birthday party at a Lawrence bowling alley. Cobb also said a payment from Blackstock went toward hotel rooms in Lawrence for some attendees of the birthday party.

USA Today said McLemore’s mom, Sonya Reid, sat with Blackstock at KU’s game versus Texas in Austin.

According to USA Today, McLemore’s amateur status could have been put at risk because of payments Cobb said he accepted from Blackstock. USA Today writes that an athlete’s family members, friends and coaches cannot accept money or gifts from agents or anyone working for them.

Cobb said Blackstock gave him money because he wanted Cobb to direct McLemore to Blackstock. Cobb told USA Today that Blackstock introduced McLemore’s family to multiple Los Angeles-based sports agents during the season. Cobb also told USA Today that he had, on occasion, helped the family financially by paying bills and buying McLemore clothes and food. The paper indicated Cobb was on McLemore’s guest list for five home games this season, and Cobb said he also attended some road games.

Cobb told USA Today he has come forward because he wants to educate families of players and expose those who pursue amateur college athletes and their families.

“Let me be the crooked AAU coach. I was willing to take the brunt of it for the sake of this kid. I wanted to keep him pure,” Cobb told the paper.

USA Today reports that, in the past, the NCAA has handled similar situations on a case-by-case basis. If McLemore’s amateur status was compromised last season, it is believed KU could risk forfeiting games in which he played.

Editor's Note: Because of a glitch in our software, the comments counter on this story combines the total of comments on both the LJWorld.com and KUsports.com versions of this story, even though each story (while identical) has its own set of comments. Please go to the other version of the story to see the additional comments. Thank you.

Comments

McMurphy 11 months, 2 weeks ago

no one at KU bothered to check on who picked up the bill?

“He had 30 people here,” said his AAU coach, Darius Cobb, grinning when told McLemore scored one point for each of the guests. “He wanted to play well for a lot of reasons, one being his mom (Sonya) and dad (Ben) were here.”

Ben McLemore Sr. indicated he was “very proud” of his son after KU improved to 20-4 overall and 8-3 in the Big 12; KSU dropped to 19-5, 8-3.

“We had a little birthday party last night with cake and ice cream. It was a lot of fun. He had a great birthday,” Ben Sr. said of an outing at Wayne and Larry’s, followed by bowling at Royal Crest Lanes.

“Not too good,” KU’s McLemore said of his bowling scores.

“He wasn’t very good,” agreed Ben’s brother, Kevin. “He was saving it for tonight. I thought he was going to get 40. But he was great getting 30 and getting the win.”

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Calijhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

This is going to come down, one way or another, on Lori Williams, the Athletic Department's Director of Risk Management and Compliance.

Because I am in the Sports Risk Management field myself, my first interest was in the disclaimer at the top of the complementary pass signature list photocopied in the USA Today article. It protects KU against athletes receiving monetary compensation, but not against pass recipients who may have a present or future financial interest in the athletic skills of the student athlete. My guess is that this disclaimer is standard for NCAA institutions, which means that the NCAA may not consider a name on a pass list as a warning flag of agent contact. Someone in compliance had to have vetted Blackstock; because he is not an accredited NBA agent, nor is he an employee of one, KU probably had no real reason to suspect the level of involvement he was was developing, and, even if it did, had no real means of discerning it short of violating Blackstock's privacy.

Understand that Lori Williams was the Associate Director of Enforcement at the NCAA before she came to KU. Her reputation in the business is very, very good. The good news is that if anyone can navigate the enforcement machine of the NCAA, it would probably be her.

The bad news is that the facts are the facts...Cobb's behavior puts Ben's eligibility in question. However, those facts were not disclosed until AFTER Ben was no longer a part of the program...giving KU no opportunity to proactively rectify the situation. Also remember that the documents were supplied to the reporter under the Freedom of Information act about 2 weeks ago...they had to know something like this was coming. They have probably been working on this under the radar for about a week

Lori Williams competence will either keep KU out of any sanctions, or will become a source of her firing.

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optimist 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The NBA has an obligation here and they are in a position to influence this issue. I'm not sure if there is any approval process for agents or not but the NBA should put in place a clearinghouse for agents that sanctions them in cases like this. There is some responsibility for them to look out for the young players and banning agents from representing NBA athletes in cases like these is appropriate. The NBA can prohibit teams from negotiating with banned agents thereby resulting in players dropping them in favor of agents in good standing. If the NBA were concerned about these kids they would act.

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JayHawkFanToo 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Things about this story that bother me.
Anybody with brain would know that in this type of transactions the money is scrubbed clean so the is no breadcrumbs pointing to the money trail. Why did Cobb kept all the receipts, got the cousin involved and gathered photos to documents the trips? The only plausible explanation is that the had ulterior motives and was saving these documentation to force Ben to go to Blackstock or else he would disclose the information.
Next, I find it hard to believe Ben did not have a clue. If his mom was so pressed for money, how did she manage to take trips to Texas and Lawrence and have birthday party for him at a bowling alley. He surely should have asked how she was managing to do this in view of her dire financial situation. It seems to me that she and the cousin knew what was going on and did not seem concerned as to how it would affect Ben KU-wise as they knew he was going to be making a lot of money in the NBA in the near future. The other item is the birthday party. Here is a link to the bowling alley in Lawrence where the party took place:
http://www.royalcrestbowl.com/Bowling-Parties.asp?Page=Parties
A simple calculation would indicate that to rack a $400+ bill, there had to be close to 40 people at the party. It is extremely unlikely that he had that many relatives in town; my guess is half a dozen, which means there had to be a lot of local friends including many if not most of the player in the basketball team. If this is the case, where were the compliance officers from KU? It is hard to believe that a party of this size for the star of the team would go unnoticed to program personnel. I imagine that Coach Self ifs pretty p***ed off and I would not be surprised to see some heads roll.

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Jason Keller 11 months, 2 weeks ago

You fools, this story is not about Ben Mclemore. This story is about Andrew Wiggins. Take a moment to examine what possible motive that this coach and the media could have for breaking a story like this.

The truth is, KU has Wiggins, or at least we did have him. The writing was on the wall for Calipari. What makes me say that? Easy, It really makes no difference where he goes to school, we know it, his parents knows it and every NBA team knows it. However, if he comes to Kansas, his parents can watch big brother too. Every dog gone night. I'm not positive that this story will affect his decision but it could. It certainly shouldn't.

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Hammertoe 11 months, 2 weeks ago

If KU wants to compete at the highest level, they have no choice but to recruit "one and dones"... With these kids, come much bigger risks. I doubt if Ben is concerned the about the effects on the school or program (see Reggie Bush and USC) as his life is moving on to the fortunes of the NBA. I'm sure he never had an intentions of coming back. Think he even went to class the second semester? College Basketball has become a "dirty" sport even more so than football with the "one and done" rule.

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Woody Cragg 11 months, 2 weeks ago

If the perpetrators are street wise at all they know that the "dimes will be dropped." Especially since they got no slice of the pie except for a little blackmail story money. Right slayer, would not want to be in their shoes-could get weighted down a bit.

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William Blake 11 months, 2 weeks ago

"Mom loves MU -

The McLemore recruiting story might make a good movie some day. Peaches is a passionate Missouri fan who flat-out admits it’s tough for her to accept her son heading to MU’s rival.

“As a mother, I am here to support him,” she said.

Yet the two had some good, old-fashioned family arguments during the recruiting process.

“Were there friendly fights?” she was asked.

“Friendly?” Cobb said with a laugh."


So I wonder what side of the fence Cobb was sitting on during those fights?


"Coach Cobb helps -

The McLemore family has praised Cobb for his assistance during the recruiting process.

“Whenever I got headaches, I’d pass it to him, and he’d take it,” Ben’s mom, Sonya, said of Cobb."

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/apr/05/little-brother-says-ku-recruit-ben-mclemore-lebron/?print

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William Blake 11 months, 2 weeks ago

"Cobb said he also went on three trips to Los Angeles and that Richard Boyd, a cousin of McLemore’s, traveled with him on two of them."

Here is how Cobb entrapped KU. There was no reason to take Boyd with him. It is doubtful Boyd realized he was doing anything wrong... but you know Cobb knew it was wrong, still he intentionally created the paper trail to implicate Boyd in this deal. Implicate Boyd, KU is now involved.

What slime.

There isn't even the smallest amount of innocence in this deal... it was a set-up from the beginning.

Well... good luck, Mr. Cobb. I wouldn't want to be in your shoes.

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William Blake 11 months, 2 weeks ago

"St. Louis-based AAU coach Darius Cobb..."

None of this makes sense... how he would implicate himself.

Unless....

Unless Cobb is (and has always been) a Mizzou fan!

Talk about killing two birds with one stone! (collecting cash and trips plus drop the hammer down on KU)

This all makes perfect sense to me.

This was a vendetta.

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Ralster Jayhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

WWJCD? (whatwouldjesuschri...woops...whatwouldjohncaliparido)

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Ralster Jayhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

WWSATD? (whatwouldshadyarthursteacherdo)

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Ralster Jayhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Aw man. Does this mean BMac cannot give me any more free tickets? Dag-gum it!

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Ralster Jayhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Hey, ... ... its a dirty game, but someone's gotta win it!?!

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Ralster Jayhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Werent John Calipari and Bill Self on the same KU bench as young asst. coaches? Enquiring minds want to know...

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Ralster Jayhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

SOOO easy to figure out trollster "UKallDay": Couldnt wait to come post here since this gets the focus off Kentucky, right? (hehe...). Most curious why he would even post here at all? Did he go post on UConn's site after Calhoun got sanctioned and UConn got hit with a post-season ban??? Would he post on Duke's site if some similar issue came up with a Duke player? Man, is this some sort of jealousy? Hey, UKallday: Do you honestly think you are going to convince another royalty program fans of ANYTHING? Go root for your BigBlueCats and remember your basketball arena is named for a KU guy who built your program's greatness. Same applies to the DeanDome at UNC. Get. A. Clue.

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kay_you 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I’m surprised this sort of thing does not surface more often. These are young impressionable kids about to become millionaires and it stands to reason there will be unscrupulous people taking advantage of them with no concern about the consequences. This will only continue as the Blackstock’s of the world have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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jaybate 11 months, 2 weeks ago

A few weeks ago, Yates asked me how Calipari managed to sign so many of the five-star recruits. This story about Ben McLemore's AAU coach and and what I will call the wholesale agent suggest a hypothetical model for how it might happen.

Wholesale Agents apparently pay AAU coaches to recruit players and parents. The Wholesale Agents use the AAU coaches to bring the parents of players to a kind of convention operated as an educational conference for parents an mentors of players, where the parents can hear pitches from I will call retail agents. Retail agents pitch for the right to represent the player in negotiations with the NBA and with product endorsement. Retail agents deals probably vary considerably. Retail agents probably want their players playing where they can get the most Branding, I.e., in major media markets and with high-profile programs. The wholesale agent is probably in the sensitive business of managing the flow of monies from alumni contributors and other sources to the AAU coaches and parents. The System probably sets up plausible deniability for the player and for the head coach of the university program. A head coach working with a whole sale agent that can provide access to retail agents with the best terms of representation in the NBA and in endorsement contracts In a high profile program in an eastern time zone media market, and at a university with a history of being willing to incur violations in pursuit of the talent necessary to win rings would likely over time begin to corner the top talent In an environment where regulatory enforcement were waning.

At least that is the hypothesis that comes to my mind given the story.

But as usual, it is only a hypothesis.

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McMurphy 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Who paid for all the tatoos? They must cost an arm and a leg ;-)

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Luca Rossi 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow, this USA Today story really makes my blood boil. I can't imagine how Ben feels. If I was him it would take all my energy to hold back from strangling this Cobb guy. What an awful person that guy is. How can he even sleep at night?

This story reeks strongly of some sort of secondary agenda on Cobb's part. His "reason" for releasing the story makes absolutely zero sense. I'm guessing he started building this case, saving receipts, making sure to take photos for proof, etc. fully intending to use it to benefit himself somehow. It could have been used to benefit himself in several possible ways:

  1. Tell Blackstock he will be exposed if those nice cash payments don't continue.
  2. Tell McLemore family Ben must sign with a the highest bidding agent to Cobb or he will squeal,
  3. Call up UK for a payoff to tell the story in order to bring down the competition regarding the Wiggins recruitment.

Could the timing be any more perfect to support possibility #3? There is no doubt in my mind that this Cobb guy has some sort of secondary agenda and is being compensated by someone to release the story. He is a slime ball and if I was Ben, you could guarantee I'd never speak to this a-hole ever again.

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Bryce Landon 11 months, 2 weeks ago

As much as we have blasted Frank Haith for his role in the Miami scandal and Honest John at UK, I hope that we can look at this situation without crimson-and-blue colored glasses. Do I want to see KU punished? No. Do I want to have to vacate the season or any victories or a conference title or the conference tournament title? No. But if this turns out to be true and B-Mac was ineligible, then I hope we won't get all nasty about whatever the NCAA does to us like the Penn State alums and trustees are being so belligerent toward the NCAA for penalizing their dirty football program.

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GabrielMichael 11 months, 2 weeks ago

WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE LIKE COBB!?

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kiamalik 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Get rid of AAU?!?! Absolutely not happening and isn't the solution. A majority of the parties involved (NCAA, coaches, etc) do not want to do away with it. Regulate it more but not get rid of it. Where else can coaches evaluate top talent against other top talent in one location. Players can go their entire high school season with minimal schools recruiting them and then if they play AAU ball and they play well their recruitment explodes. Actually, if a kid is good enough they don't even have to play high school ball now. Unfortunate but is just the way it is. AAU/travel team ball isn't going anywhere. So there will be plenty of stories about coaches like Ben's in the future. I'd say though that these guys are in the minority.

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kiamalik 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I hope not but sounds like there is a possibility that Ben may have known something was up. If mom is having problems putting food on the table and then Uncle Rodney comes into the picture and things start getting better for the family financially. Definitely predatory on Uncle Rodney's part but is part of the game nowadays with these big time recruits that come from low income families. If you're starving and someone keeps offering you steak you can only say no so many times.

Unfortunate situation that is a result of this multi billion dollar basketball business which leaves the kids and school at times as the ones being hit the punishments.

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Calijhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

What strikes me is the total lack of consideration on the part Cobb as to the implications this has on the KU basketball program...whose environment, national exposure, and coaching expertise provided the vehicle to develop and nurture this kid. It shows how little control schools have over the outside interests.

Blackstone is slime. His foundation purports to educate vulnerable athletes as to 'bad seeds and influences', then proceeds to compromise a vulnerable athlete's eligibility by paying Cobb to steer Ben to an agent. This effectively puts and end to both his foundation and any aspirations he had of being an agent.

Want an exercise in absurdity? KU athletics is the only entity in the entire situation that followed every rule, dotted every 'i', crossed every 't', made every effort to do things the right way, and in the end, may be the only entity to suffer any negative consequences.

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John Fitzgerald 11 months, 2 weeks ago

All agents and coaches are sketchy. Not one of them follows the rules "perfectly". It's all about who does and doesn't get caught. You're out of your mind if you think Bill Self is perfect or ever will be perfect. He's just good at not getting caught. Until some other idiot gets caught and will try to take him and BMac down with him. Unfortunately, Bill and Ben are just as guilty as this idiot Agent and AAU coach. We must all understand sports aren't just about winning, it's about politics and money. If you didn't have politics and money, then winning wouldn't matter. Hell, just playing the game wouldn't even matter. I pray we don't suffer from this, but I can't say that the penalty would not be deserved.

On a brighter note ... looking forward to football season! RCJH!

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UKALLDay 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Lack of institutional control.....you guys are so quick to talk bad about Coach Cal and UK and now look. KU players were involved in the marijuana sting last year and now your star McLemore is involved in this mess. If you think he knew nothing about this, you must have been a marijuana customer with the rest of the players on the team. Flights, parties and money being paid out just a normal day in Lawrence. Wins will be taken away and conference title stripped just to start. This is bad. If coach Self had no idea what was going on then that is a whole other problem. Great job KU!!!

Rock Chalk Puff Puff Pass and get Paid!

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McMurphy 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Cobb also said he has helped the family financially from time to time, paying bills and buying McLemore clothes and food

does this NOT sound like a major NCAA violation ? Anyone?

How about putting a $$$$$$$$$ value on this family financial aide?

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ku_foaf 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Ben probably feels very betrayed.

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ku_foaf 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Definitely has the sound of a disgruntled crooked AAU coach who must have missed out on more money promised by an agent if he "delivered" Ben to him. Not satisfied with $10K for sleaziness. Incredible how low people will sink. Remember Marlon Piggee?

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kay_you 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Used to be a school would get in trouble for trying to lure a player to your program. Now you get nailed for trying to lure a player away.

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Randy Maxwell 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The NCAA should really clamp down on the slimy world of AAU basketball. It's nothing more than a bunch of want to be coaches trying to get an in with players who one day might make some money. Big time programs should stop promoting this AAU crap and focus on kids playing for their high schools

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gchawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Obviously, all we have right now is purely conjecture, but I can't help but think that there might just be a little conspiracy going on with this fiasco. As Tommy Boy said when he sat on the bench which immediately collapsed: "Could of done without that".

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BPSkelly 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The irony to me is the issue that could end up 'sticking' to KU is the Birthday Party. Which criminally is irrelevant. There certainly appears to be NCAA problems with this one which is pretty clear cut. The other stuff is of issue, but it appears that the only thing the NCAA can do with the rest of this is give the scarlet letter to the agent-to-be and use harsh language and send scary lawyer letters to him. Maybe the NBA can ding him and no allow him to be a certifiable agent in the league.

I think KU is going to get dinged in this for sure though. Maybe not nailed, but I dont think we can assume that wont happen either.

When you recruit a kid to your school you get everyone and everything involved with that kid. For better or worse. It appears the chaff from BMac it will be the worse.

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kranny 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Take the slime bag agent's license away from him for 3 years and ban him from college athletic situations. These agents know the rules and purposely defy them. Futhermore, aren't parents and families supposed to go thru an educating process regarding ncaa rules and policies? Frickin stay away from agents during college careers!! Makes no sense.

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Jack Wilson 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Here's how I see it:

1] Cobb is not a "coach" under the rule. He would have to be a "friend." Cobb is actually a former coach. Self is his coach. The "coach" part will operate in situations prior to starting college. But Cobb is definitely a friend. His mom is definitely family. Boyd is likely family (who knows what type of cousin he is), but Boyd would certainly be a "friend."

2] First concern - Birthday Party: Am I the only one most concerned about the payment for the birthday party at th bowling alley? It was $400 or $500 paid by Blackstock. McLemore, or his mom, should have known who was paying for that, right? Someone had to pay, and it obviously wasn't Ben or his mom. mvjayhawk mentioned this above.

3] Second concern - Free Hotel and Accommodations: Cobb taking the free hotel and accommodations is still big deal. Cobb went out there under the auspices of helping McLemore. His family (mom) knew about it. She knew the "cousin" was going on the trip. Surely one would know that neither Cobb, nor the "cousin", were paying for anything, right? Again, Ben's mom knew about the trips. Assuming this to be true, she had wanted no business deals agreed upon without a family member present? Not good.

4] Third concern - Cash Payments to Cobb: While, at first, this didn't bother me as much as the first two, because neither Ben nor his mom apparently knew about the exchange of the money, it should be very concerning. If Ben's mom sent Cobb out to LA as reported, it is a huge problem even if they didn't know the payment. Cobb is a friend, and is acting on behalf of Ben's mom. Even if Ben did not know about the actual payment, this is the closest family member possible and Cobb was on a mission for her.

5] Best part so far: The best part (so far) is that it is wrongdoing totally without the knowledge of KU, Self, or his staff. While it may cause us pain, we can take heart in the fact that Self and his staff weren't part of it.

6] But there is a big concern for Self: The other concern is that information may come out that KU, Self, or the staff ignored "warning signs" as to what might be going on. Particularly regarding a potential NBA star. This may be the biggest issue when it comes to a "penalty." Tickets left for Blackstock may be that "warning sign." Tickets left for a former AAU coach would not be that. Ex-coaches get tickets from players pretty regularly. So that's where this could lead. As a university, wouldn't you completely scrutinize, ask questions, and stay on top of who tickets are left for? Blackstock would be a red flag to me -- a warning sign. That's my concern here.

The fact is, if this story is true (and we may not like it), Ben is probably ineligible for a number of games this season based on the NCAA rules. Forget that we don't like the NCAA. That's irrelevant. Forget that players should get stipends. Forget that the whole system is corrupt. We waste our time lamenting what is obvious.

Be prepared.

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Grouch Lives 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Greed. Getting paid. Get real, that's what this is all about. Do most of these kids and their families really care about being a Jayhawk, or more about playing on a winning team and getting a paycheck? Do I really care more about a squeaky clean reputation or wins? Can you truly have both? I apologize, but I'm going to be all over the place on this issue.

My first thought is that the schools need to file civil suits against the violating AAU coaches, agents AND family members that are involved in NCAA violations. Let's share the greed and get some money back. Sure, we may lose out on some kids who are steered away, but then we don't have to deal with overpaid NCAA execs. And maybe the sleazy human traders will be nervous dealing with us.

We've had a lot of these discussions in our family the last few weeks. My daughter wrote a college paper on why the NCAA should allow schools to pay athletes. I greed with her. And my 6'3" 14-year-old just attended another NCAA rules seminar put on by the bball club he currently plays for. In his little career, I think we've attended four or five of these now. As have the families of kids already getting attention by DI and DII coaches. We know the rules.

The issue comes down to human nature. At U15 we already see the hanger-ons. We play kids with entourages. I coach against the guys who are clearing houses just waiting for a hit. We have them coaching in our clubs - former players wanting the big time. And some hoping for the big time kid just so they can pay their bills.

Pay the kids. End the hypocrisy. Please save your "but it's a wonderful university" crap. I'm a Jayhawk. I love my alma mater. But not all my family members, or former teachers, coaches or administrators are aboard. And some of them would probably take money to get someone close to me, whether I knew it or not.

For these kids and their families and entourages, their reality is different than ours. They see a school making tens of millions off their loved ones. Are they really concerned what will happen when the kid leaves and gets to make his living, and hopefully share? When the bill for the birthday party was paid, the family knew the implications. They were just getting theirs.

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Dyrk Dugan 11 months, 2 weeks ago

wow, this story really stinks. as alluded to above, KU always gets the worst of the punishments....we always get nailed for the petty stuff. and this is pretty petty. :)

a player at Kansas, being pursued for representation as a future pro (probably a conclusion you could have drawn easily) and a third party gets indirectly involved thru an AAU coach and old family friend.

in my mind, the key is the bday party. if the family didn't pay for it, then his status is compromised. however, unless the NCAA can get credit card receipts, i would think they couldn't prove it. we have the word right now of a former coach.....WHY does he talk now? if this was during the season, he could have been held out, until we figure it out.....and then it's time served, so to speak. but now, it will be about vacating wins and, therefore titles.

and the cousin? he denies going to L.A. fairly easy to prove i would think. did he get on a plane or not? did he stay at a hotel or not?

again, one statement, from some rogue coach, who believes he screwed up, and needs to vindicate himself. this guy Blackstock, isn't even an agent.....he is setting up MEETINGS with agents. it's absurd. why would the family even acknowledge this guy during the season? this stuff can't wait? it's unbelievable....we get in soooooo much trouble with these kinds of folks.....why do we not control this? every person on a player's list, needs to be scrutinized and asked about....."who is this Blackstock guy?"

i don't know, it looks bad...and the KC media i know, will go crazy over it...i can't wait. :(

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McMurphy 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Sure hope that the cousin (the bag man), was not involved in Ben's decision making on attending KU.

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jhawkrulz 11 months, 2 weeks ago

If I understand correctly...this AAU coach was paid to sway Ben to the NBA and presumably Toa specific agent that Ben had attending games from an allotment of tickets he is able to give freely (but not sale). Than the AAU coach doesn't deliver and people are upset. If Ben has apparently chosen a different agent, what matters?

Cousin...this will be one interesting family tree to tie this back to a family member, which if I understand correctly, is the only thing that puts ben's amateur status in question.

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Ralster Jayhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Listen, I guarantee that Bill Self, I mean John Calipari, oops I mean Bill Self, woops I meant John Calipari have no knowledge of this situation. Sorry to inadvertently mix my royalty programs...got confused by the Blue...I doubt Coach K knows anything about it either (same Blue...). All humor aside, I agree with the poster above who point about a school cannot be held liable for what $$ some outside AAU coach accepts from some 3rd party outside entity. The only issue is how much did Ben know? His knowledge and complicity in whatever events transpired is the direct issue. One possible way out for Ben is if he produces a copy of the written letter (now would be a good time to dig that out of the drawer and enter it into evidence)that he sent to his agent & his mom about "making it clear I, my family, or my coaches cannot accept any monetary gain in any form". If he told them in writing, then perhaps he wont be held accountable for the actions of other adults beyond his control, eh?

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seagull 11 months, 2 weeks ago

George Dohrmann has written a very readable book chronicling the AAU cesspool--Play Their Hearts Out. The NCAA is partially responsible. They use players like Ben, who come from such little means, to make money (who would pay attention to March Madness without such players) and then let them make NO personal money while in college, don't let anyone help their families get to games, etc. On the other hand, when one reads the personal stories of players like Ben, don't you have to wonder every time a family member is somehow able to travel to Lawrence to see a game? As fans, we prefer to simply not ask the questions. It would seem more honest for the NCAA to allow the colleges themselves to provide some travel assistance for families of incomes below a certain level. The whole system stinks, but then....when can I pick my seats for next year?

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Danny Hernandez 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Whew, at first I thought it was something Ben or Kansas did! Nothing here but fodder for ppl to discuss.

I'm sure this stuff is done all the time with agents trying to get their foot in the door to represent players. OF course, they're going to wine and dine anyone close to said player.
Ben did nothing wrong nor did his immediate family. What's the difference with UCLA hiring a former AAU coach, paying him a $150K annually, and all of a sudden his former player signs with UCLA?

Now back to whatever it was I was doing this morning....oh yeah, a beautiful day in NYC.

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Mike Barnhart 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Cobb ACCEPTED money from an agent, it wasn't forced on him. As for the tickets and dinners in Lawrence, Cobb should have kept his mouth shut!

There's nothing worse than a fool clearing his guilty conscience by throwing others under the bus. I saw how Tony Soprano dealt with this type of behavior. Mr. Cobb should be thankful this is college basketball and not "waste management!"

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JayHok 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Blackstock is trying hard to become like WWW. Not sure how connected he is to UK's players but he's been trying for years to become connected to Calipari. This very well could be a way for Blackstock to gain favor with Calipari to punch out a bad headline. Cobb appears to have taken the money but the question is the origin of the money. Is it from Calipari, WWW, or from Blackstock's own HARD EARNED bank account. We've been set up.

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Tom Gillaspie 11 months, 2 weeks ago

And the real story should be --------- every college player (esp. from a family with limited means) with the potential to be a lottery pick has this type of activity going on in the background. Somehow, the AAU circuit (propped up by shoe company money) needs to be regulated if they are going to continue to have so much influence on future college athletes.
This is going to leave KU with a black eye - no matter the result. The irony is that most Div. 1 schools legitimately sport the same black eye. That is the name of the game in its current form.

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jhasseartcile96 11 months, 2 weeks ago

This is a non-issue, school did nothing wrong, McLemore is at worse naive about who maybe 1 person was. At the end of the day, an AAU coach he has probably not played for in 3 years and a cousin (who knows how close they are) are the ones involved. As for the birthday party, let's just say family and his teammates were there, and maybe a few others, you think his first thought is did an agent pay for this, shoot everyone puts in $40-50 each and that $500 bill is taken care of, the agents are the slimeballs here.

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nuleafjhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

All of a sudden, the " boring " baseball glove story from a couple of days ago looks pretty good....

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REHawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

As globaljaybird says, stay tuned. There will be much, much more to this story. And all the while, Bill Self trudges along the recruiting trail attempting to fill current and future scholarship slots while all this new mayhem swirls around his program. Definitely not good news for Kansas Basketball. NCAA investigations often sputter and fart along like Model A Fords navigating mountain switchbacks.

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okjhok 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Where the hell was the compliance office? The clothes and food I can understand, but how does a rep end up using ben's tickets in the fieldhouse? No excuses for that.

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Clarence Haynes 11 months, 2 weeks ago

What confuses me, it became known by December that McLemore was leaving. Thus, why is someone paying out dough to persuade Ben to leave? Strange situation and again, if this article is factual, this illustrates how kids can be so vulnerable to unsavory elements!

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Gerry Butler 11 months, 2 weeks ago

ok. now i know this is some what of a remote possibility, and sorry if this sounds really dumm BUT just crossed my mind, so just play out this worst case scenario with me, not even sure it could happen but could this have a possible ripple effect with our future incoming players that have signed letters of intent? i mean i know chances are very slim BUT what if say like if it had been a tough close decision for like sheldon, or brennen between us and another school? could they say oh no and decide to opt out of their decision to come to ku? could they is it possible they end up deciding to transfer to that other school that was in on them? i realize they would probably have to sit out a year but just wondering, yes i'm sure chances are slim but if that happened definetely not good, they could look at it like hey there is always a chance that the hawks may not be able to play in next years ncaa tourney very remote but a chance so you know how teenage kids mind wonder how easily they can be persuaded by friends, family they may be hearing hey man if ku can't play in tourney thats messin with your exposure your chance to be seen to show your talents, won't have the chance to improve your stock for the future cause you won't get to play against the better players because you will be sittin at home barred from the tourney, thats messing with your future man they could be hearing this stuff from others you know? i know its very slim just saying neve say never hope not, but anyways would that be possible from them to do that? thanks guys. GO HAWKS

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BringBackMark 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Love Ben to death but here's the bottom line: Now that we've experienced the one-and-done syndrome 3 or 4 times it appears there's way more drama surrounding them than bang that we get from them. Maybe Calipari is just better suited to win with them but why waste resources chasing them when you can have Releford's and Withey's in the program for 4 or 5 years? It make no sense to me.

There will always be Sleeze Balls following these kids. So now not only do we have the investment in a one year player but we've also got to invest in additional policing to make sure the slime doesn't infiltrate the program. Good Luck with that!

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Gerry Butler 11 months, 2 weeks ago

doesn't look good , no wonder the universities have to have lawyers just to be able to try interrpet sorry about the spelling, not one of my strong suites, but anyways heard they have attorneysjust to try to help out on ncaa rules, but anyways whether thats true or not, if the NCAA wants to they could penalize EVERY college for something their rules are so petty some are anyways, if i remember right we got into some troube yrs back when we helped a player for us at the time fly home for a family funeral incredible. i agree with some of the other fans though i'm afraid we very well could be made to forefit the wins with ben last year, and like a couple of others stated so much for wiggins but thats a whole different story. the big problem i think where we could be in trouble is where ben signed off on the tickets for these games for this slime to the NCAA i feel thats probably a sign to them that he did know about this. but for the individual that made the statement calling Coach Self Quote un Quote Bill Cal uh OK Really? ARE YOU SERIOUS? i don't think so, not even close there bubba doo, let me have some of the crap you've been smokin lol. and a last thing like another post said look out for all the haters coming out the woodwork now

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ajhk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

....as Cobb counts his much larger bundle from the anonymous Kensucky geezer. He scoffs, "Ten thousand!?! Ha! They thought they could get me for ten thousand!" "I told them more or else...!"
-NOW- I'm rolling!

Looks like Darius Cobb double f'd his student-buddy McClemore.

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Joseph Bullock 11 months, 2 weeks ago

first of all, I agree with whoever said the AAU Coach was cut out of Ben's circle, and he probably planned all of this to try to black mail them into keeping him in. second, Ben having his AAU Coach on his ticket list means absolutely nothing! that is completely normal. also, K.U. most likely "WILL NOT" be penalized heavily, or have to forfeit any games because of something Bens AAU Coach did on his own, and if Ben knew nothing abut it, or if no one can prove he knew nothing about it, then nothing at all will happen to K.U. the same goes for his cousin, who I don't believe is a really close relative, but it still most likely won't matter, if Ben had nothing to do with it. to penalize a school these days, the NCAA has to be very, very, careful, as they are, and always have been liable, in lawsuits: see Tark the Shark. the AAU Coach is a jerk, and is still trying to get a payoff, to keep Ben and K.U. out of the trouble he started. he will probably get that, from Ben's family, just so this will go away, and not be a bad mark on him. what a scum bag!

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Steve Jacob 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Usually, you self impose sanctions and void all your wins from 2012-13 so the NCAA does not slap you with a postseason ban in 2013-14. But KU might roll the dice to keep the BIG 12 champion streak alive.

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BPSkelly 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Anyone who thinks KU is going to get off scott free with this is high. We may not get the hammer, but it's hard to envision a scenario where we dont get hit... slapped or smashed.

I dont believe we're going to get hammered -- if what that USA Today article says is 'factual' (great story by the way, kudos to that writer for good investigative reporting) -- my guess we'll get slapped. What that means... who knows.

BMac's stink is going to hit KU though, make no mistake about it. The irony is he'll be set for life in a few months. The rest of this will just be noise.

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Stephan123 11 months, 2 weeks ago

NCCA's investigative and enforcement capabilities have been shown to be suspect recently. The NCAA has become inept and KU, if they should be held unfairly accountable for the actions of some dimwit from St. Louis, should sue the NCCA and scare them away. Miami, Duke, Cam Newton, North Carolina....all examples of the NCAA's recent incompetence.

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kay_you 11 months, 2 weeks ago

A little smoke but no fire. Unless there are additional developments I don't see how Ben or KU can be implicated in something his AAU coach did.

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eric poncharello 11 months, 2 weeks ago

A relative from the project's and his AAU coach a bad combination, just taking advantage of the situation and making some fast money, in many cases is a way of life for some. KU is going to get smoked!

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William Blake 11 months, 2 weeks ago

If this is the complete story I fail to see how the university will be punished.

If the university is punished, and had nothing to do with it, why couldn't the university bring civil suit against the AAU coach and agent whose actions lead to the university discipline? It seems like the university could show a huge financial loss from almost any discipline taken against them. Seems like a good tool to stop this type of activity.

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Krohnutz 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I just read it over on ESPN, and it sounds like a joke. I'll be surprised if anything comes of this. If everybody just keeps their mouth shut there is nothing to prove. Worst case scenario, BMac got paid to enter the draft... which is the very essence of entering the draft.

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RSwansonhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

p>Bleacherreport.com headline for this story "McClemore`s AAU Coach Claims He Took Cash to Steer Star to Kansas"

Not exactly....

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Krohnutz 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Well, time to find out if the SEC rules work for us. Since BMac "didn't know" what was up, he was never ineligible. Can we just call it the Scam Newton Rule?

And yes, riverdrifter, the AAU is a septic tank. But isn't high school basketball pretty much that same septic tank? Look how many of these kids go to "so and so" Academy four states away from their hometown. It's garbage.

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Konkis Dongington III 11 months, 2 weeks ago

It seems to me that the situation is that McLemore's AAU coach promised to deliver Ben to these agents that Blackstock was working with, but Cobbs failed to do so. Nothing suggests that Ben was in on it or that KU knew anything. Also, it doesn't sound like BMac's family took money. It was all the coach. The travel matters and it doesn't help that Mac's cousin Boyd got caught in the lie. It's hard to tell exactly how this will affect us, if at all. When it was revealed that Selby and Jackson had received money, they had to pay it back, but we didn't have games vacated. I hope we're in the same kind of situation here at worst. The important thing is being willing to cooperate with the investigation. That said, the notion that Cobbs was Ben's impetus for leaving after this season is ridiculous. Everybody knew that was coming after the Ohio St. game in November. The most important thing at this point is that it doesn't affect next season. And I agree with the sentiment riverdrifter stated: the AAU does nothing good for these kids.

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KUFan90 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Got to side with Ahperse on this one. How can a school be held accountable for ensuring all their player's former AAU coaches never accept payments? Hire private investigators to watch them 24/7 and then sit the player if they observe him taking money?

Ridiculous. Nothing will come of this. We aren't vacating wins so just take a deep breath and calm down.

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otaKU 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Family members taking money costs a player their eligibility status is a bit ridiculous. I guess I understand why it probably came about but it seems harsh to punish an athlete for the actions of someone else.

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Greg Ledom 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Mikey, aren't we supposed to ask you? I mean after all, ask Mikey, he knows. But seriously Mikey, are you really asking those on this site as to what will happen? Who the F knows! Now back to football!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Some body fill me in...A former coach and cousin of a player took money and trips. How does that effect the player and school? Are players and schools supposed to police past coaches and distant relatives?

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McMurphy 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Would this cause the NCAA to take a second look at signing Wiggin's dad to a handsome 1 year coaching contract? DOH !

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Larry Smith 11 months, 2 weeks ago

No biggie, Cecil Newton ring a bell?

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Joe Joseph 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Here comes more reason to hate the NCAA.

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Jason Keller 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Goodbye Wiggins. This was just the talking point that Cheatipari needed with Andrew's parents to seal the deal.

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JayHawkFanToo 11 months, 2 weeks ago

When I read the entire article in USA Today, the first thing that came to mind was why is this guy documenting everything with receipts and photos? Isn't the usual procedure to leave no trace of the benefits received? It sure sounded to me like he was preparing this documentation to force Ben to sign with the agent or get the documents made public.
The information is now all over the internet at all the major publications including ESPN:
http://espn.go.com/nba/draft2013/story/_/id/9243019/2013-nba-draft-former-aau-coach-paid-sway-ben-mclemore-enter-draft-according-report
It is said that there are many reason why the police would show at your home in the middle of the night and most of them are bad. I am afraid that this is like that and it is not going to end up well. There is nothing that the NCAA can do to Ben any more since he will be gone in 4 days, and if there are consequences, KU will likely be on the receiving end.
With all the information out there, don't families know better?

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chriz 11 months, 2 weeks ago

And the purpose of all this was to steer him to go to the NBA? Was that really necessary?

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iamakufan 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Hmmm, how does this compare to the Duke player's $100,000 jewelry purchase while playing for Duke? And to North Carolina's academic fraud fiasco? The NCAA declined to penalize either school. Let's see what they do with this one.

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jayhawkinmullen 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Doesn't sound like that big of a deal to me. Mclemore had nothing to do with this. He had no knowledge and cannot be held responsible.

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Boouk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Ben will still go in the top 3. I don't think this will be a big deal 1 month from now.

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Jason Keller 11 months, 2 weeks ago

THIS IS NOT GOOD. Haters are going to climb out of the wood work.

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Kent Wells 11 months, 2 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Boouk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I hope this and the marujana deal from the 2010/11 team don't hurt us on the recruiting trail.

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Woody Cragg 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Does not sound good at all. Hopefully the NCAA won't take the stand that KU "should have known" that this guy was a snuggler to the family. Also sounds like his AAU coach may be selling his story to USAToday for more personal financial gain. Maybe he got cut out of the pic & is grinding the axe to feather the nest? Stay tuned, there will be much, much more.....

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Matt Bowers 11 months, 2 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Matt Bowers 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The kid came from such little means, is it a stretch to think that someone got to the family? This is unfortunate, but not uncommon. I hope that Ben comes out on the upside of all of this.

Rock Chalk

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McMurphy 11 months, 2 weeks ago

A) Ben knew nothing and gained nothing from the enticements

This from the USA Today article seems to contradict A), and could be a HUGE problem:

Cobb also said he has helped the family financially from time to time, paying bills and buying McLemore clothes and food. Cobb was on McLemore's guest list for five home games this season, and he said he also attended some road games.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/big12/2013/05/04/kansas-jayhawks-ben-mclemore-darius-cobb/2131775/

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Kevin Long 11 months, 2 weeks ago

So can KU get in trouble for this??

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jakejayhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

So even if it is all true

A) Ben knew nothing and gained nothing from the enticements B) KU knew nothing and had no way of knowing what was happening

My statements are valid only if any of this is true. Why would this guy "admit" to revenue he did not report (I assume) to the IRS? What is his motive in disclosing this and why now? Anyone smell a rat or rats?

At least Ben didn't drop several G's at a New York jewelry store. Oh wait, that would have been OK with the NCAA! Silly me!

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ardy682 11 months, 2 weeks ago

If I was a Kentucky fan this would be everyday occurrence but for us ...

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Rock_Chalk_25 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Seems as if Mclemore had little knowledge of any minor infractions his cousin may have committed. So, naturally, the NCAA will probably overreact and penalize us severely.

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