Saturday, December 12, 2015

Oliver Luck admits Cheick Diallo case dragged on

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) is caught in an arm lock with Oregon State forward Drew Eubanks (12) as guard Gary Payton II (1) comes away with a rebound during the first half, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 at Sprint Center.

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) is caught in an arm lock with Oregon State forward Drew Eubanks (12) as guard Gary Payton II (1) comes away with a rebound during the first half, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 at Sprint Center.


Oliver Luck, the NCAA’s new vice president of regulatory affairs, concedes it took the Eligibility Center a long time to deem KU’s Cheick Diallo eligible.

“I’ve been with the NCAA in this position about nine months, and this was the most complex case that I have seen,” Luck told Kansas City 610 radio on Friday. “Because of all those issues (academics, amateurism) that lead into these decisions, it just takes a lot of time to sort out. 

“Now, at the end of the day, I think we can shorten some of these cycles and get answers more quickly to coaches, to athletic directors like Bill Self or Sheahon Zenger, and we’re committed to doing that. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy by not turning around some of these cases quicker, but in the Diallo case I can tell you it was complex. The good news is he’s, I guess, playing well. I haven’t followed the Jayhawks that closely. By all accounts he has been a good student at the university, so I think all’s well in a sense that ends well.”

Sources have told the Journal-World that KU officials were quite pleased with the work of Luck in the final stages of the Diallo saga. He definitely was seen as helpful rather than a possible hindrance.

“I’m working with all my staff to figure out better ways to do these things, shortcuts we can take without damaging the integrity of the process,” Luck told 610, noting that initial-eligibility standards will be tougher starting with next school year. 

“Keep in mind every year the Eligibility Center will process about 100,000-plus student athletes who are certified to play in Div. I and II, so there’s really not that many sticky cases. But every year we’ve got 250 or so where there (has to be) additional fact-finding, additional conversations with people, guardians, other folks particularly with kids who have come over to the U.S. as minors. There’s more 14-, 15-year-old kids coming to the U.S., whether to play basketball, run track, other sports than you’d imagine. We have guardianship issues that all get somewhat complicated. Again, I don’t want Kansas fans thinking we weren’t diligent, but in the future we can be more diligent in working these cases more quickly, getting them accelerated so that coaches and student-athletes get the answers in a quicker time frame.”

— See what people were saying about the game during’s live coverage

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Oregon State

By the Numbers: Kansas 82, Oregon State 67

By the Numbers: Kansas 82, Oregon State 67


John Myers 5 years, 4 months ago

Oliver Luck is full of it. It took soooo long and was soooo complex and then as soon as they got called out by KU publicly, it was immediately resolved? You're blowin' smoke, Ollie..

Dirk Medema 5 years, 4 months ago

He got involved because Dr. Z and Coach raised a stink. It was stuck at the staff level and management (probably) gave a determination that unstuck it. Really not particularly uncommon.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 3 months ago

It's definitely time to put on your rubber boots. For whatever reason Luck has against KU, he milked every minute he possibly could in delaying Diallo's clearance to play.

Joe Ross 5 years, 4 months ago

He's WAY full of it. Check Diallo was effectively suspended for summer ball (including two exhibition games against Canada AND the WUGs), exhibition games for 15/16, and the five games of the season. And for what? There was nothing there. If Diallo had all that experience, he'd be a different player at this point.

Mike Riches 5 years, 4 months ago

What happened to Diallo was dirty, no question. But if KU had to spend 100k to prove that he should be eligible, it seems like it was a fairly complex case. My main complaint against the NCAA is that they didn't communicate with Kansas for several months. If KU was going to spend that money, they would have gladly done it earlier, to get Diallo on the court.

Joe Ross 5 years, 4 months ago complex that it took KU about 2-3 days to figure it all out, and just several days more to package the information and present it to Luck.

On the contrary, it doesnt sound complex at all to me. It was a witch hunt.

How do I know?

Because the NCAA told Self it was academics...and nothing else. But when they announced that Diallo was cleared, they had to play defense against Kansas' very public campaign and said it was a "complex case" involving both academics and extra benefits.

Well why did he tell Self what he did then? That it was "just academics"? Clearly, he didnt expect Kansas to wage a campaign in the media. Luck is a liar, and the "complexity of the case" was introduced as a public defense against growing voices that the NCAA was acting in rogue fashion. Clearly they were abusing their authority.

Benz Junque 5 years, 4 months ago

Diallo hadn't even arrived on campus when Kansas played their exhibition games against Canada and him being ineligible to play in the WUG had nothing to do with the NCAA.

He missed out on the two exhibition games and the five games. Yes, he would be further along but don't just make crap up.

Joe Ross 5 years, 4 months ago

Youre a day late and a dollar short. See comments below.

Severeno Woods 5 years, 4 months ago

CD served a 5 game suspension for no reason. Mr Luck I would love to soccer kick your head you crook.

Joe Ross 5 years, 4 months ago

16 games if you count unofficial ones played. Unofficial games add experience.

Shannon Gustafson 5 years, 4 months ago

He isn't from the US so he couldn't play in the University Games regardless, just like Svi not playing in them.

Joe Ross 5 years, 4 months ago

You must have seen the thread below...

Joe Joseph 5 years, 4 months ago

The most frustrating part of all of this is how simple the solution is. If a student is deemed eligible by the university that student should be allowed to play until wrongdoing can actually be proven. Universities should not be punished retroactively unless misconduct on the part of the university can be proven.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 4 months ago

Their own math shows the fallacy in the system: "we process over 100,000 blah, blah, blah's". As Doctor Groucho told the patient who said that his arm hurt when he moved it, "Quit moving your arm!".

As you say, let the school be the eligibility center, then, use a random or not-so-random audit system to keep the schools in line. Quit processing so much information and focus on solving real problems.

Rodney Crain 5 years, 4 months ago

I would like a better explanation on what happened and why when Self and our AD got OL involved it magically got done. I don't need names but something is missing here.

Kent Richardson 5 years, 4 months ago

I would too Rodney. If there is a cover up it will probably come out.

Freedman Moor 5 years, 4 months ago

Why did'nt the ncaa inform Diallo (or any of his classmates) that their school was being investigated?

Have any of the athletes currently attending unc been informed of the potential repercussions of the "investigation" involving their school?

For that matter, why is the NCAA so focused on potential infractions by a high school when you have proven fraud (and thousands of incidents) at unc?

Bryce Landon 5 years, 4 months ago

Oliver Luck said it took the NCAA awhile to sort through Diallo's eligibility? A very astute observation.

Sincerely, The grass is green, The sky is blue, The sun rises in the east, and Iowa State fans are no-class white trash,

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 3 months ago

"Iowa State fans are no-class white trash,"

Kind of using a very broad brush in your comment.

Brianna Zaleski 5 years, 4 months ago


Cheick couldn't have played in the summer games. You have to be a citizen of the US to represent the US. He could have practiced though. I'm pretty sure he hadn't been cleared to practice by then.

Nice picture above. That shows a second non-call on Cheick that game. This one and the one where he got totally hacked on the way up for a bucket. We won that game despite the refs swallowing their whistles.

Kent Richardson 5 years, 4 months ago

The two Payton II, charging calls were others, Brianna.

Joe Ross 5 years, 4 months ago

I was under the assumption that his guardian had secured citizenship for him. I could be wrong, but if you have the evidence you can show Ill gladly recant.

Joe Ross 5 years, 4 months ago

Youre right Brianna!

“I did it. Now next step is Kansas baby,” Diallo wrote above his picture. Born in Mali, he’s unable to play in KU’s World University’s Games. He plans to arrive here in July. Diallo is ranked No. 5 nationally in the Class of 2015 by


Good call

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 3 months ago

Was Mali represented at the WUGs? Colbey was going to play for the Bahamas and I'm sure Diallo could have played for Mali.

Jeff Coffman 5 years, 4 months ago

It's amazing 165 dollars was that complex...if you were going to suspend him...why did you wait. All along it was clear they didn't like the situation stalling to create a defacto suspension. The ncaa ku dually and many others came out behind because of a misunderstood 165.

Robert Brock 5 years, 4 months ago

KU helped to create the NCAA; now, I hope that KU will lead the way for big-time athletics to leave the NCAA and create a different governing institution. One with integrity...

Rodney Crain 5 years, 4 months ago

It would be nice to have an option, but that is much harder to do now, then it was 80 years ago.

I am not a big fan, buts its all we have.

Bert White 5 years, 4 months ago

Ways the NCAA could have sped up the process;

1) Visit a high school that THEY are investigating as having sub-par studies

2) Interview the person THEY think is affecting the amateurism of a potential student athlete

Really doing both of those could have worked well in the process... The first one is common sense, if an entity affecting multiple student athletes is out there why not visit to verify your assumptions and/or inform them of the needed changes to allow their students to qualify. This would seem in the best interest of ALL student athletes that would pass through said school. The second one.... Would you look at that, it's common sense too... Anyone that is or knows a cop, been involved on either side of an investigation, or that has simply watched a show which had a cop in it knows #1 to solving a crime is to witness it first hand or have video showing the crime, but a VERY close #2 is to interview the witnesses and suspects to see what story emerges and find out if your suspect is guilty. Opting to not even talk to a suspect when he volunteers to be interviewed is just piss poor work.

As for the bank Diallo made off of Drame before becoming his guardian... Personally $165 is laughable to me. In most cases theft of less than $500 is a misdemeanor crime. I don't see why under $500 in TOTAL (throughout their ENTIRE career up until graduating or leaving college) benefits isn't a slap on the wrist where you issue a verbal warning and require them to payback the benefits. Over $500 you lean more towards suspensions and removal of eligibility of an athlete and depending on just how big the amount was or if the university should have or did know than you start thinking about vacating wins or removing scholarships.

ex $100 prepaid phone to call your parents is a slap on the wrist while someone that gets multiple things like a $100 diamond earring, $150 pair of shoes, $250 pocket cash, and a $150 tattoo throughout a kids high school and/or college career would be a few game suspension and require the repayment to a charity. Some kid getting a new car or mom getting a house you lean towards stripping them of eligibility

Rodney Crain 5 years, 4 months ago

They would never waste time doing premptive work like you list. They do not know where the player is going to play next. It might be a pro in some international league, or the player might want to do something else. They only deal with what is in front of them. Even when the player commits they can change their minds and decide to do something else or play somewhere else.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 3 months ago

The cheapest way to get a tattoo is to get very drunk and listen to the advice of your buddies...

Dale Rogers 5 years, 4 months ago

Require that the student athlete be innocent until proven guilty, eligible until determined ineligible, and no doubt the NCAA will figure out how to process these investigations far more quickly.

Rodney Crain 5 years, 4 months ago

Can't do that Dale, if the player is ruled ineligible than any game they play in would be a forfiet. They can't play till the NCAA figures it out and then be ineligible. They either are or are not eligible. To risky for the rest of the team to lose games for a single player. It is best to hold them out till the NCAA rules.

Remember KU, all schools, choose to play under the guidelines and rules of the NCAA. Its not a right of a citizen as much as it is playing the games under a set of rules that are chosen. Courts rule to the letter of the law, not always what any institution sets as rules, especially if the rules are chosen by the institution to be under. It is a free will choice, the court would have a difficult time ruling or restricting someone's free choice. To play a game or not is not a right or a freedom. There is no innocent until proven guilty element.

Benz Junque 5 years, 4 months ago

Obviously part of the change would also be to change their penalty for playing a player that was later deemed ineligible.

If the NCAA cannot clear the player before games start, then the school should be allowed to play him and should serve zero penalty if the ncaa eventually deems him ineligible. Hopefully that would incentivize the ncaa to get these cases all cleared prior to teams playing games.

That's kinda the point he's getting at. The ncaa has billions of dollars in revenue thanks to these kids performances in the ncaa tourney. The ncaa should use them to hire more investigators and to streamline/modernize their process. Either that or hand it over to the schools or a third party to rule on.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 3 months ago

That requires far too much common sense Benz... It will never happen

Priest Fontaine 5 years, 4 months ago

Easy solution, Innocent until proven guilty. Don't punish the kids because there might be an issue.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 4 months ago

Reasonable solutions, Joe and Brett. Unfortunately, Mr. Luck is just heavy into the CYA mentality. So typical of bureaucracies.

Jay Scott 5 years, 4 months ago

Easy solution. Have the kids take an ACT and SAT test.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 3 months ago

That's works for any questions of academic eligibility but it doesn't help much if the case is over receiving illegal benefits..

Jaston Archie 5 years, 4 months ago

KU spent all that time and money and the fans launched the #freediallo campaign just to get Diallo back to where he was at the whole time, on the bench. I guess as long as Bill Self is the one to put him on the bench and not the NCAA it's fine. It's time to continue the #freediallo campaign but this time direct it to Bill Self. #freediallo #fireself

Rodney Pain 5 years, 4 months ago

The Grizzlies should offer up another plum chance for Diallo to take his next step. But if you want to fire Self, who exactly do you want to replace him?

Jaston Archie 5 years, 4 months ago

Selfs starting 5 can probably win every game on KUs schedule except for Mich. St. and Kentucky, and maybe thats all Self and the Kansas fanbase care about now is winning the Big 12. But for KU to have any chance at making it to the Final Four, Diallo Bragg Greene and Svi have to be on the floor. Period. Against elite competition, Graham is going to get exposed and so is Jamari/Lucas. I really like Hunter though. And Mark Turgeon should replace Self if for no other reason than he will put the best players on the floor

Rodney Pain 5 years, 4 months ago

Turgeon is accomplished as Self neither in recruiting nor in results. What does it matter who he plays if he doesn't win?

Jaston Archie 5 years, 4 months ago

With respect to your question, does that mean you would also ask regarding Self, "What does it matter who he doesn't play if he wins?" bc I completely disagree with that thinking, because IMO it's the Final Four or bust and Self's starting 5 (which gets most of the minutes) can't make it to the Final Four. You need big time players like Bragg, Diallo and Greene on the floor if KU wants to make it far. Heck, if there was a hypothetical game between Self's starting 5 and the 5 best players on the bench I would bet all I had on the bench team. This year will tell me more about Turgeon, but he has shown a willingness to adapt his offense to player personnel which puts him way above Self in that regard. Unless Self begins to play the best players more, KU will win the Big 12 and exit the tourney before the Elite 8, guaranteed.

Rodney Pain 5 years, 4 months ago

I honestly don't care who plays as long as KU keeps winning, that's correct. But I suspect you don't either. As long as we're dealing in hypotheticals, hypothetically, if we won the national title giving only Jamari minutes at the 5, I doubt you'd be upset with that result. Now clearly, that's unlikely, and to do so would really be a more akin to winning the lottery than building a multi-million dollar company from the ground up, but in sports, results are what matter most, no? I for one would rather be a lucky winner than a good or even great loser.

Turgeon was on the hot seat a year ago, and although he'll likely have a good year this season, I think it will take more than one to convince me that he'd be a great replacement for Self in the near future. I certainly don't consider Self any kind of sacred cow, however. If you told me we could hire Tom Izzo over Self tomorrow, I'd say hand Bill his walking papers, but we both know that isn't happening.

So while I agree that developing our bench is important and will surely have an impact on our postseason, I'm not overly concerned if Jamari or Lucas is getting more minutes than Cheick or Bragg today, but I will want those guys on the floor more often later in the season, provided they're producing like their billing. I just don't see it as an all or none proposition.

Jaston Archie 5 years, 3 months ago

My issue with Self is simply his resistance to change. I think he is starting to move away from recruiting one and done players and is targeting 3-4 year, lesser talented players who he can control and mold to fit his program. Calipari and now Coach K have adapted their philosophy to accommodate the elite talent and have been very successful, but Self does not seem willing at all to adapt. Why? because I believe he values his philosophy and system above winning national championships, which is unfortunate and why I think he needs to go.

Ben Berglund 5 years, 4 months ago

So, you want to start/feature two freshmen at the post and two wings at the same time? Do you have any idea how valuable a 3.8/.7 turnover ratio is in your 2-gaurd? (to compliment Mason's 5.6/1.4) Apparently not. You have to have guys to handle and distribute the ball to really let those shooters make it rain.

Jaston Archie 5 years, 3 months ago

Put Frank at the 1, replace Graham with Greene and have Selden and Greene play the 2/3, have Svi the backup to that position, have Diallo at 5, Perry at 4 with Bragg and Hunter getting a lot of minutes behind Perry and Diallo. Simple

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 3 months ago

Mark Turgeon would probably be my first choice in replacing HCBS which hopefully won't happen for quite a few more years. Turgeon has done a really good job at Wichita State, Texas A&M and now Maryland. I thought he was making a huge mistake when he left Texas A&M for Maryland if for no other reason then fan expectations but after watching the Maryland/UNC game, I came away clearly impressed.

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