Monday, November 23, 2015

Bill Self not letting up on NCAA over Cheick Diallo

Kansas head coach and Indiana head coach Tom Crean have a laugh before a press conference with the rest of the Maui Invitational coaches on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015 outside the Sheraton Maui.

Kansas head coach and Indiana head coach Tom Crean have a laugh before a press conference with the rest of the Maui Invitational coaches on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015 outside the Sheraton Maui.


— Bill Self’s taking the NCAA and its Eligibility Center to task for its snail-like pace in the Cheick Diallo eligibility case has caught the attention of Self’s peers.

“I’ve had other coaches call me. I’ve had several people text me,” Self, Kansas University’s 13th-year coach, said Sunday at the Maui Invitational news conference on the grounds of the Sheraton Hotel. “I had a coach in a similar situation phone me this morning. He said, ‘Let’s review. Our case is similar to yours.’

“It’s a bigger picture than just Cheick,” Self added of the 6-foot-9 Mali freshman still waiting on word on whether he can play in games this season. “It’s a picture on student opportunities. If kids do not do the work leading up to college that the NCAA requires them to do, it’s very understandable they should not be eligible. If they have done the work, and an entity says for whatever reason the work is not good enough and the way it’s been evaluated is not accurate, then it’s inexcusable. It goes from unexplainable to inexcusable, and that’s where we think we are right now and feel 100 percent confident about it.”

Self on Saturday said KU had hired a pair of groups to study Diallo’s transcripts, and the player definitely has enough core courses to be eligible for games. After speaking with local reporters Saturday, he explained the situation to national media types, in effect challenging the NCAA to make a decision ... soon.

“You can imagine a kid for six months hasn’t been told why he can’t play, then on Sept. 2, it was told to us he had six cores (courses out of 16 needed to be eligible). Three-and-a-half years at a school (Our Savior New American), and you only get six cores? Three of those occurred in his first semester there, so you are looking at three cores in three years the NCAA says was a quality class?”

Self was asked the impact Diallo will have on the team if and when he is declared eligible for competition in games.

“There’s a lot of growing stuff. He could change our team by conference, though, or by February,” Self said. “He’s raw. Even though it doesn’t seem like a big penalty (so far), his opportunity to play in games and through mistakes was two exhibition games (and) our first game of the season. Every time he’s held out and here he’s not even allowed to practice (by NCAA rules he can’t practice on the road), I don’t want to say it’s a setback … for a guy who needs the reps like he does, it’s a bigger deal than what it would be for a veteran guy being held out.”

Meanwhile, the cost of KU’s work in trying to get Diallo eligible is “approaching six figures on all levels,” KU AD Sheahon Zenger wrote in KU’s official letter to the NCAA outlining 19 concerns the Jayhawk athletics department has with the NCAA about the matter. The NCAA as of Sunday had not responded. “I wholeheartedly support such exorbitant expenditures because we have uncovered serious and legitimate misrepresentations attributed to NCAA process, unfounded verbal statements and inadequate professional standards. All of this is impacting Cheick unjustly and standing in your way of making him immediately eligible.”

As far as possible amateurism problems involving Diallo’s legal guardian, Tidiane Drame, Self reminded that Diallo was not a certain college hoops star when he left Mali for the U.S.

“The whole thing about coming to the States and leaving his family 31⁄2 years ago was to go to high school here, have the opportunity to play college ball, have the opportunity if things go well beyond that. People think Cheick was a great prospect when he got here. He played soccer. He wasn’t a prospect when he enrolled at Our Savior,” Self said.

“It’s great to see how he’s developed, great to see he has a vision and work ethic. He to this day has no understanding, which we hadn’t until Nov. 5 (when NCAA outlined the core course situation to KU) had any understanding why he wasn’t going to be able to play.”

Self, meanwhile, remains direct in challenging the NCAA to work on Diallo’s case and declare him eligible.

“Even though it’s a Sunday to me, that’s irrelevant whether it’s a weekend or not. I mean, when you’ve had three months to handle this, certainly 12 days now to respond to a list of 19 things given to them (NCAA), I don’t think working on a Sunday is really asking too much,” Self said.


Aaron Paisley 5 years, 11 months ago

I smell a class action lawsuit against the NCAA in the near future.

Rodney Crain 5 years, 11 months ago

Maybe including other players in limbo that have gone through this, but that will not effect Cheick's case. It will take months if not a year or two to weave its way to a decision.

This sounds like it is not an easy fix for Cheick or that the NCAA are waiting on something, they see him as ineligible, no question. Very different than most of these cases.

Very sad, but he might never play for us unless something dramatic happens.

John Fitzgerald 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't always agree with you Rodney but I fear you might be right. It's sad, but the NCAA has control and will do what they please.

Caden Ford 5 years, 11 months ago

I agree Aaron. The NCAA looks absolutely FOOLISH right now. And it's not just KU saying this. Other coaches, basketball analysts on every major CBB game on ESPN networks, even the SportsCenter anchors are talking about how bad the NCAA is handling this situation. IT NEEDS TO COME TO AN END! Hopefully sometime Monday morning/afternoon before game time in Maui, we'll get good news! Hoping for the best like always! Good luck tonight boys! RockChalk and Free Diallo!

Edward Daub 5 years, 11 months ago

Earth to Oliver Luck! You are no longer A.D. at WVU! You are the NCAA Executive for Regulatory Affairs! You need to address this issue ASAP!

I do enjoy watching your Son Andrew QB the Colts! Don't blame you a bit for moving to Indy.

Robert Brock 5 years, 11 months ago

One day, KU would do college basketball a big favor by leading the departure from the NCAA.

College hoops does not need the NCAA. We helped to create the NCAA; now we need to create a new institution and a new organization.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 11 months ago

My thoughts exactly. They need member schools far more than the schools need the NCAA.

Adam Collins 5 years, 11 months ago

Hopefully that's what has already started. Now coaches are talking to other coaches and it has obviously gone up to the ADs. It would be a slow moving train to get all the Chancellors in agreement along with the boards of the Big 5 conferences but it seems like a good idea right now anyway.

Rodney Crain 5 years, 11 months ago

Thats a big step for a basketball school. If the SEC or a few of the Power 4+1 joined together you might get something going. You cant do it without a governing body in place to take their place.

It would be Chaos, an anything goes if schools self regulate themselves. We do not want that at all.

I agree it sucks and needs to be fixed or replaced but this has to be a process.

Jeremy D. Morris 5 years, 11 months ago

Wow! Take the time to read the letter. Really makes you sick and want to get rid of the NCAA once and for all.

John Fitzgerald 5 years, 11 months ago

If this case was in fact mishandled, like it clearly seems to be, then the NCAA needs to clear Diallo immediately and relieve Oliver Luck of his duties. Also, like Aaron said above, I expect a lawsuit immediately after Diallo gets cleared. KU will most certainly fight to get their money back along with any other damages they suffered through all of this nonsense. This is a kids future we're talking about. If we don't hear something by today, I honestly feel things will really start to get ugly. Bill Self is coming for the NCAA, and I guarantee he has more supporters than them right now.

Robert Lofthouse 5 years, 11 months ago

how many Jayhawk alum in the legal profession would provide pro bono assistance to support a legal battle against the NCAA?

Bill Corrigan 5 years, 11 months ago

Re: Cheick Diallo's eligibility, I repeat -- NOW is the time for KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to contact NCAA President Mark Emmert to discuss this matter.

Brian Anderson 5 years, 11 months ago

I propose that KU start each of its games with Diallo announced as a starter, but then with only 4 on the floor until first dead ball. Send no player to contest jump ball. I think the optics on that would be atrocious for the NCAA.

Day Shepherd 5 years, 11 months ago

So UNC can perpetrate academic fraud for years and speculation is they will not surrender wins/championships. However we keep getting screwed.

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