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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Potential violation forces Cliff Alexander out of lineup

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander watches warmups on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas University officials announced that Alexander will not play against Texas after they were alerted to a potential eligibility issue involving Alexander by the NCAA.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander watches warmups on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas University officials announced that Alexander will not play against Texas after they were alerted to a potential eligibility issue involving Alexander by the NCAA.

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Kansas University freshman forward Cliff Alexander sat out Saturday’s game against Texas over a potential NCAA violation.

KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said the NCAA “has alerted us to an issue that could affect Cliff’s eligibility. As a precautionary measure, Cliff will not take the court until we have resolved the issue.”

Prior to the game, KU coach Bill Self said: “We are committed to NCAA rules compliance and we want to make sure we take every precaution to minimize the impact on Cliff.”

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on play of Ellis, Alexander's situation and more

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self had plenty to discuss following Saturday's win over Texas at Allen Fieldhouse. While another great game from Perry Ellis made the win possible, the Jayhawks had to play without starting big man Cliff Alexander, who could have an eligibility issue.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Ellis, Oubre and Mason discuss home win over Texas

Kansas basketball players Perry Ellis, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Frank Mason III discuss the Jayhawks' home victory over Texas on Saturday.

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KANSAS 69, TEXAS 64

Box score

Self said he found out “approximately noon or 12:10” Saturday, prior to the 4 p.m., tipoff.

“I agree with what they told me. If there’s an issue we have to hold him until it’s resolved. Hopefully it will be an issue that can be resolved in the very near future. I have not been told details about it other than there’s a situation that involves Cliff. I’ve not heard anything other than it involves Cliff, not a KU situation but a Cliff situation,” Self said.

“The NCAA obviously has to get to the bottom of it and figure out what’s going on. We understand that. Hopefully it’s done in a timely manner so we are not left in limbo and the kid is not left in limbo. Hopefully it can be resolved and we’ll move forward. We’ll cooperate and do whatever they need from us to hopefully resolve it in a very timely manner.”

Sports Illustrated reported that Alexander’s family has hired a Washington, D.C.-based attorney to address the issue. Until it is resolved, he will practice but not play in games.

“I would think that would be the smart thing to do without question,” Self said of hiring an attorney. “That’s not an admittance of anything. I think you should always be represented when you have a legal issue.”

Asked if it is a concern KU may have played somebody ineligible, Self said: “I can’t answer that because I don’t know. We haven’t been told it was a KU situation, so …”

Again asked about concern of ramifications against KU for playing Alexander, he said, “I don’t think so. As soon as we found out about it, we’re on it. Hopefully it’ll come to be where everything is explained.”

Self said, “it could, I guess,” when asked if this could drag on. “I think that’s a possibility. I also think it’s a possibility — without me knowing anything — when the NCAA is trying to figure out if kids are eligible in late August before football season starts, they give it priority. Here is a situation that is happening at the most crucial time of basketball season. I’ve got to believe it’s going to be given priority.

“Even if it’s given priority, that doesn’t necessarily mean everything happens fast. I’m sure there are things they will have to be comfortable with. I don’t know how long it will take. I certainly hope it’s sooner rather than longer,” Self added.

The worst thing, Self noted, is the timing.

“You can deal with stuff if you see it coming. It’s hard to deal with stuff whenever it’s put on you like that. There’s been numerous times the timing isn’t always the way you want it to be. Look at K-State. Jamar Samuels didn’t play in the NCAA Tournament because of a timing issue. I’m not saying this is similar. When it happens you have to deal with it. Unfortunately we had to deal with it today.”

KU junior Perry Ellis said the players, “had his (Alexander’s) back. We all wanted to play hard and we did.”

Ellis said he learned of Alexander’s status at morning shoot-around.

“I was shocked. We don’t know what’s going on. The NCAA said something’s going on. He can’t play. During shoot-around we (bigs) said we have to step up and play big. Cliff’s not here, unfortunately. We had a couple words that we had to be aggressive and a force to get rebounds because they are a big team,” Ellis said.

KU outrebounded Texas, 41-39, in KU’s 69-64 win.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas


By the Numbers: Kansas beats Texas, 69-64

By the Numbers: Kansas beats Texas, 69-64

Comments

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

It's incumbent upon the NCAA to act with all due speed in resolving this issue. At this juncture of the basketball season having the full roster is crucial. Im not a conspiracy theorist in the slightest, but being forced to sit Alexander in a game where we face the tallest front line in the conference with impact on the conference Championship hanging in the balance definitely gives one pause. The NCAA went through the eligibility process prior to August and have had all season to clear up general issues, so this must be something very particular. Because it must be something so specific hopefully the investigation into the matter will be speedy.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 7 months ago

Everyone also assumed Derrick Rose was eligible because the NCAA said he was during the season as well. I'm not going to assume anything with the NCAA NEEDS because they have proven their incompetence time and again over the years.

Sylvia Davis 3 years, 7 months ago

I concur. NCAA "just" discovered this potential infraction at the end of the season of normal play and the beginning of the NCAA tournament? Really?

Micky Baker 3 years, 7 months ago

Joe, It isn't just that either. I saw several articles about KU getting a favorable call that caused Texas to lose the game, and when the media throws the red meat like that out there, there is a feeding frenzy. Then the deal with Jay Bilas going up to Rick Barnes, stating that "he was fouled". Why would any commentator go up to coach right after a game and say that? It seems like it's orchestrated.

Walter Bridges 3 years, 7 months ago

I thought the refs made awful calls on both teams and Bilas pointedly stated that.

Walter Bridges 3 years, 7 months ago

More abuses of power by the NCAA? The big five conferences have had about enough.

Severeno Woods 3 years, 7 months ago

So watch is the rumor going around about Cliff situation?

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

No one knows yet. Could range from academics to receipt of impermissable benefits to illegal participation in a sporting event.

Gregor Southard 3 years, 7 months ago

Meanwhile, the school that has a coach that had to vacate entire seasons of wins at two different schools and has a history of illegal activity is laughing

Mark Soeken 3 years, 7 months ago

Why has it taken this long into the season for the NCAA to inquire about eligibility? Any questions should have been resolved before the start of the season..right? Hopefully the NCAA won't drag their feet and Cliff can be playing soon. RockChalk!

Joe Joseph 3 years, 7 months ago

Hopefully it's something that happened very recently, which would surely minimize the potential for vacating wins.

Walter Bridges 3 years, 7 months ago

Why would we be in jeopardy if the NCAA Eligibility Center didn't do a thorough job? I hope he didn't commit a violation after he was cleared or we could be in trouble.

Cody Riedy 3 years, 7 months ago

I understand the principle that the school has to be punished too so that schools can't develop a system of plausible ignorance, but at the same time, there should be some standard of reasonable due diligence, beyond which a school is no longer culpable, especially at programs with no history of impropriety. In short, I trust Self runs a tight ship, such that, whatever possible infraction Alexander committed, I would expect the program has clean hands itself and therefore, KU itself shouldn't be punished.

Walter Bridges 3 years, 7 months ago

I like...

But look at how the NCAA was all ready to go after UNC's basketball program and Roy Williams based on one players allegations.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 7 months ago

Why would KU retroactively have to vacate wins after the NCAA Clearinghouse said he was eligible? Derrick Rose says hi.

Walter Bridges 3 years, 7 months ago

I know Aaron..but just because it happens doesn't make it right. As long as the schools don't try to cover up anything...and have enforced the rules imposed on players, to then take games because they (NCAA) missed something, I believe it's an abuse of power.

Small wonder the big five conferences are talking about a rebellion.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 7 months ago

I hope this does not go back to the Curie HS situation that that got Alexander's team kick out of the Illinois HS playoffs. The CPS is a disgrace.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-04/sports/chi-curie-basketball-coach-mike-oliver-reinstated-20140304_1_curie-6-foot-9-kansas-recruit-josh-stamps

Michael Lorraine 3 years, 7 months ago

It's got me concerned. Hiring a lawyer makes me believe it is not a minor incident.

Sylvia Davis 3 years, 7 months ago

Live and learn; the system is not in favor of anyone person. Hiring a lawyer is not an admission of guilt - it protects you from the legal mumbo jumbo language that the judicial system has incorporated to support attorney's.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 7 months ago

Sadly you are right. The laws, including taxes, are so massively complicated anyone, innocent or guilty, can incur major injuries if you don't understand the lay. It has all become so corrupt.

Ian Emerson 3 years, 7 months ago

I heard it was impermissible benefits. Took some money from a booster.

Walter Bridges 3 years, 7 months ago

Ian, can you provide a source..I've searched throughout the internet.

Steve Hillyer 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm betting he talked to an agent recently though I also wouldn't discount it had to do with his high school transcripts. Didn't questions arise about Darrell Arthur's HS transcripts AFTER he left KU following his sophomore season?

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 7 months ago

Let the system play out. For now, Joe Ross has said everything that needs to be said. Anything else is just speculation, since nobody really knows the facts.

Suzi makes a good point, however, about the fact that his HS team had to essentially vacate their season due to some rule. At the time, it was reported that Cliff wasn't the subject of that violation, so we will see. By the way, his team initially defeated Okafor's team for the city championship, I believe.

Micky Baker 3 years, 7 months ago

That adds to the numerous articles about the "missed call" that caused Texas to lose and Jay Bilas(A DUKIE) going up to Rick Barnes after the game and talking about it. Articles about the missed call were on NBC Sports, CBS Sports, etc. There seems to be an orchestrated attempt to take down Kansas' 11th straight.

Cody Riedy 3 years, 7 months ago

Ok, I know this is random: I know some people still occasionally mention the loss of Frankamp, but I've never seen one mention of Naadir Tharpe since the season has really got under way. I suppose we haven't needed him and he would have lost a lot of minutes this year, but still, had things not went bad, we'd have a senior point guard on this team. I guess it's just weird how long ago it seems already to me that Tharpe was starting on this team. That's really a great thing, a testament to how much Mason and Graham has made, at least me, almost totally forget Tharpe. Anybody else feel like it's been a lot longer than just last season since Tharpe played?

Brian Wilson 3 years, 7 months ago

Corey, you are the first commented that I have seen other than myself that has commented on Tharp. Not knowing what really happened, but from what I hear BS forced Tharp out. I was screaming back in Jan 2014 for Tharp to be benched but instead we stuck with him. Had he been benched, he may have been able to resurrect himself while Mason and Frankcamp got some time to develop. Instead Frankamp got 2 minutes a game until it was too late in the NCAA's. I know he and father were whiners, but maybe he should have been given some minutes to really see if he was worth it before losing him too. Then a sequence of recruiting events forces us into our position today... which I won't get into. But, I question a coach that forces out a junior one year from graduating, taking away their scholarship, rather than sticking with the players that have shown loyalty for 3 years.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 7 months ago

Was it fair for Coach K to kick Rasheed Sulaimon off the team mid season? If you make mistakes, there are consequences to those mistakes. Naadir Tharpe made 1 too many mistakes and Self had enough and forced him out. Naadir made his own bed and had to deal with the consequences of his actions.

Scott Quiring 3 years, 7 months ago

What are ya'll hearing on the KC/Lawrence radio stations? I'm in Phoenix so the only news I'm getting about this is on here...I really hope this doesn't get dragged out for the remainder of the year...

Kyle Sybesma 3 years, 7 months ago

Scott - I live in Colorado and I get KU sports coverage (in addition to KUsports.com) through the 610 sports radio app on my smart phone. They can't broadcast games but they do provide pre-game shows.

Scott Quiring 3 years, 7 months ago

I've thought about doing that too but I just don't listen to the radio enough lol although I probably should because I run a big Fantasy Football help website lol

Kristen Downing 3 years, 7 months ago

You can not convince me that Cliff does not have some idea what the NCAA is looking into, hence the family lawyer. I just hope Assistant Coach Howard did not have prior knowledge, since he was the main recruiter for Cliff, and neglected to tell Coach Self. That would be a bad scenario.

Hedley Lamarr 3 years, 7 months ago

That would be a fireable scenario, Kristen.

Walter Bridges 3 years, 7 months ago

Speculation..we should wait until some facts become available.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 7 months ago

Hadn't thought about that Kristen, but you could be right on the mark. Coach Howard already has one strike against him, so wouldn't be hard to see how there might be a second one on the horizon. If so, he is history.

To your point, Cody, the performances of Mason and Graham have certainly eased the effects of losing Tharpe. I'm sort of ambivalent to Tharpe. He had his good moments, but he obviously became expendable and partly a distraction to the team. Furthermore, if Tharpe had stayed, we wouldn't have gotten Graham.

The best news of all is that most likely, Mason and Graham should be four year players. Such experience usually pays dividends when it comes to tournament time.

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