Originally published October 12, 2017 at 11:12a.m., updated October 12, 2017 at 04:50p.m.

FBI investigative file includes KU documents; athletic department says investigators have not contacted KU

A University of Kansas basketball player wears an adidas practice jersey in this file photo from March 2016.

A University of Kansas basketball player wears an adidas practice jersey in this file photo from March 2016.


Kansas University Athletic officials have not been contacted by federal investigators who are looking into shady college basketball recruiting practices, a KU spokesman told the Journal-World.

That response on Thursday morning came on the heels of a University Daily Kansan article from Wednesday night that reported FBI investigators had documents relating to KU and its sponsorship with Adidas.

It is unknown what those documents include, and whether they are any indication that Kansas’ basketball program is under scrutiny by the FBI. The federal agency declined to release the documents to the KU student newspaper.

Regardless, associate KU athletic director Jim Marchiony said the KU athletic department had not received any inquiries from the FBI about the matter.

“We have not been contacted by federal investigators,” Marchiony told the Journal-World.

That is consistent with what Marchiony said shortly after news broke on Sept. 26 of the FBI investigation involving several coaches and players from other schools.

The Wednesday night story from KU’s student newspaper came after the Kansan filed a Freedom of Information Act request for “all documents and communications within this investigation related to the University of Kansas and any of its sponsorship deals with Adidas or any investigation of Kansas basketball coaches.”

The FBI responded with a letter that read, in part, “The material you requested is located in an investigative file which is exempt from disclosure.”

The letter also stated the release of requested documents “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

Marchiony did not speculate on how the FBI would receive KU-related documents, if they did not come from KU. However, multiple national media reports have stated that Adidas is cooperating with federal officials on the investigation. Adidas would be in possession of multiple documents related to KU and its contracts with Adidas, including the recently agreed upon 14-year, $191 million dollar partnership that KU officials announced on Sept. 22.

It is unknown what, if any, documents the FBI has sought from Adidas, such as whether the FBI has sought documents only about certain schools or whether the FBI, for instance, requested copies of contracts of every Division I program with which Adidas currently has a contract.

Marchiony took exception to the Kansan’s report and its social media promoting the story.

“What you’re asking about is essentially an inflammatory Tweet that references a story with no real news in it,” Marchiony said. “For example, the Kansan wrote that the presence of documents appears to contradict what Kansas Athletics has said. That’s just inaccurate. All we’ve said since news of the investigation broke was that we had not been contacted by federal investigators. The FBI’s response to the Kansan doesn’t change that.”


Danny Hernandez 3 years, 6 months ago

I love investigative reporting as much as the next person, but come on Kansan, please act responsible.

Thank You

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't entirely understand the story associated with the headlines initiated by the UDK's FOIA request and the FBI response. With the revelations of the Louisville-Addidas and KU being the Adidas flagship partner, it seems entirely reasonable the FBI would be looking at KU. The UDK and other headlines seems to sensationalize SOPs. I still seriously doubt KU (Self, staff, alums) have done anything wrong. The only thing that approaches a line is the SDSU thing with Young but even then KU made sure to follow the correct procedures. Nevertheless, SDSU got their revenge with the AFH victory.

Joe Ross 3 years, 6 months ago

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

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 6 months ago

What kind of hate speech did you say to get deleted by the 1st amendment police?

Sae Thirtysix 3 years, 6 months ago

wow JRoss “comment deleted “. musta been a doosie.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 6 months ago

"With the revelations of the Louisville-Addidas and KU being the Adidas flagship partner, it seems entirely reasonable the FBI would be looking at KU."

Actually, no, it doesn't. This is an investigation, not a fishing trip.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 6 months ago

Yes it is an investigation, which is exactly why the FBI would look to see how other major contracts are structures. I bet the FBI has a copy of every contract each shoe company has with every school!

Craig Carson 3 years, 6 months ago

Adidas is already cooperating with the cooperation the FBI is likely to get a copy of the contracts WITHOUT needing a subpeona

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 6 months ago

Schools contracts with apparel companies are public record, FBI wouldn't need to subpoena them in the first place.

Ron Prichard 3 years, 6 months ago

An investigation, by its very nature, is a fishing trip. If you already knew the information, you wouldn't have to investigate. I agree with Suzi, it is basic due diligence by the FBI to at least review all Addidas contract partner schools.

Benz Junque 3 years, 6 months ago

If the FBI does nothing but read our apparel contract with Adidas, confirm that Gallo was not involved in it, then KU technically "has documents involved in the investigation". Just because they "have documents" doesn't mean that they have INCRIMINATING documents.

My assumption is that if you made the same FOIA request for info about ANY school's involvement in the investigation that you would receive an identical response from the FBI.

Joe Ross 3 years, 6 months ago

Suzi, the comment was not derogatory towards you or any other commentator here personally. There was no profanity. Nevertheless, I'm not upset about the comment being deleted and I can see why it was edited out. In a nutshell, I expressed incredulity that a scandal of the sort which we've been hearing about would affect Kansas, but I mentioned a possible scenario in which it could, isolating a particular person associated with the University. Hence the redaction.

Dyrk Dugan 3 years, 6 months ago

The Kansan’s comment, “but appears to contradict what Kansas Athletics officials said after the scandal broke,” is patently false. The spokesman said they hadn’t been contacted by the FBI in regards to the investigation; this doesn’t even address that. They acknowledge nothing; that even docs exist. ANYONE could have sent the FBI information about KU; including Adidas, rival schools.....ANYBODY. It’s a news story, where there is no news; hyperbolic nonsense.

Joe Ross 3 years, 6 months ago

Whether there is anything to this story or not, this comes at a bad time no matter how you slice it up. Big decisions are being made by high-level recruits right now. To think that the campus newspaper would have a hand in the sinking of the ship could cost Kansas in many ways, some of them ultimately financial, some of them sports-wise mainly having to do with recruits and who ends up here or going elsewhere, and in some ways BOTH.

Thanks, Kansan!

Andrew Whitehead 3 years, 6 months ago

A sensational headline, followed by a completely inaccurate statement that the FBI's response "appeared to contradict" KU's statement that the FBI hasn't contacted KU about the matter. Extremely amateur and sloppy journalism on behalf of the UDK. It makes them look like a high school paper.

Joe Ross 3 years, 6 months ago

...then again, there is a mass exodus of media outlets (read major newspapers and television networks) from just reporting the news to agenda-based reporting.

Andrew Whitehead 3 years, 6 months ago

Good point Joe. Although I wonder how much the coverage has actually become more biased and how much of it is simply the public noticing their bias thanks to it being pointed out by a burgeoning (mostly online) alternative media. I think back in the days when there were just a few networks, they didn't have to be as blatantly slanted; they simply all chose to frame narratives in a similar fashion as well as selectively limit what stories/angles they even chose to report on at all. More choice is certainly a good thing, but it does also come at the cost of more sensationalism and sloppy journalism.

Titus Canby 3 years, 6 months ago

One thing hasn't changed since the late 70s when I was in the J. School. Every journalism studetn wants to be Woodward and Bernstein. Wild accusations, whether true or false, always make news.

Clark Groseth 3 years, 6 months ago

I went to a different J-School and a failure to verify was dealt with harshly. Has that changed since (OMG) the 50's?

Ryan Zimmerman 3 years, 6 months ago

I guess we'll find out tomorrow if this has spooked Dotson at all or not...

Craig Carson 3 years, 6 months ago

I wouldnt think isnt like KU has been directly implicated and I really havent seen it plastered all over the news

Robert Brock 3 years, 6 months ago

Beware of siphoning information from "social media."

Gerry Butler 3 years, 6 months ago

I think it is total BS that the UDK even write ANYTHING with such limited knowledge about actually what the FBI does have. - Pretty screwed up reporting. - -Having said that like another person said to me IF and that's a big IF but IF we are in the wrong in all this some way I wouldn't think this would effect Devon decision that much. - This thing with the FBI is huge and their investigation is going to take quite some time - -then by the time they turn their report to the NCAA and IF again IF we are in the wrong in anyway - -it's going to be yrs before any punishment comes Devon would be gone more likely then not can't se this having that much effect on his decision

Craig Carson 3 years, 6 months ago

id rather the big IF be a NEVER...KU does not need this and I hate for Self to retire from KU with this looming over head..not to mention IF it takes years, then they find something, KU could be forced to forfeit years of victories...Id rather the FBI at least come out and say "we have concluded _ program to be clear"

Cary Ediger 3 years, 6 months ago

I think the FBI will move quick. Most likely they are trying to cut deals with ‘who they know did what’ and get them to throw other people/programs under the bus. The NCAA will be the one that moves slow. They will be hurting their cash cow if they ban teams from post season play or punish programs.

What the NCAA does mostly depends on if the program has/had guilty knowledge, for example Louisville. From what I have read the head coach and assistant coach had knowledge of what was going on.

If Adidas/Nike or whoever alone was sending money to a recruit to get them to attend a school and the school knew nothing then not sure what the NCAA could/can do.

Going to be interesting watching this play out. Hope the best for KU.

Craig Carson 3 years, 6 months ago

I wouldnt doubt if shoe companies did go behind the schools back and offered benefits to kids to commit to certain schools..but good luck convincing anyone that schools, coaches didnt know about it..I really dont think Brad Underwood knew what his assistant was doing what he was doing, same with Sean Miller.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 6 months ago

Absolutely Underwood and Miller knew what was happening. They might not have known the specifics but they are liable for their programs. Willful blindness does not make innocence.

Craig Carson 3 years, 6 months ago

true they are liable, BUT..unless his assistants are wearing audio devices and body cams, there is literally no way to know everything those assistants are saying to the recruits, and shoe companies are gonna do whats best for THEM, not the schools..they dont have to disclose what they are doing for recruits to the schools..

Benz Junque 3 years, 6 months ago

It was totally irresponsible for this person to post that article with that headline and that article was filled with inaccuracies and incorrect leaps of logic. Youthful journalism fail big time.

Tim Orel 3 years, 6 months ago

I thought three of the five schools with coaches who were indicted were Nike schools, with one other being UnderArmor. I remember that Adidas had a staffer or two who were indicted (and they used to work for Nike), but why aren't Nike and their schools under far more scrutiny than Adidas? It seems like most of the smoke (not just this site, but ESPN and SI) is directed towards Adidas? Can someone help me understand why this is?

Craig Carson 3 years, 6 months ago

Nike will have its day next..the FBI isnt going to limit its search to just one shoe/apparel company..I think Louisville is what gave them reason to search Adidas 1st

Craig Carson 3 years, 6 months ago

I am almost 100% sure that when all is said and done, KU will be cleared from being involved in this scandal..but unfortunately, just having your name associated with this will give a lot of rival coaches ammunition to use against KU in recruiting AND it will reinforce a false belief among non KU fans that KU cheats...its like when you are suspected of murder..even if you are completely found innocent, the very fact that you had implication is enough for people to treat you like you were guilty..I just hope non of this affects KU from landing Grimes and Dotson

Matt Stone 3 years, 6 months ago

Totally agree Craig. Would hope Turgeon would not slander Alma Mater even by accident. Would bet Calipari has no problem doing it to get Grimes. Many options for the recruiters for Zion.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 6 months ago

Calipari got his coaching start at Kansas under Larry Brown. Also considering his relationship with Larry Brown, I doubt he would bad mouth KU or Self and jeopardize his relationship with LB.

Michael Leiker 3 years, 6 months ago

Anybody else hearing about KU MU hurricane relief exhibition bball game?

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 6 months ago

Not happening as long as Self coaches KU B-Ball

Craig Carson 3 years, 6 months ago

dude, you are either an undercover rival fan or just a pessimistic negative KU fan..if you are the latter, you can exit from this fanbase and be a bandwagon jumper cause all I read from you is non stop negativity..and dont try to fight back with "you dont like the truth, I tell it how it is"..cause imma call bull$hit right now

Michael Leiker 3 years, 6 months ago

I would like to think so, but I think this is real

Marcia Parsons 3 years, 6 months ago

To me the FBI response sounds like the form letter they probably always send out when someone asks them for information. It didn't seem to have any specifics in it at all.

Craig Carson 3 years, 6 months ago

it wasnt anything more than that..but leave it to someone to try and make news out of it

Robert Brock 3 years, 6 months ago

Is the UDK now the bag men for the KC Star?

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 6 months ago

Bingo, Titus!

Journalism today is essentially dead. There is little or no "hard news" today. It is all editorial, and in most cases without the proper disclaimers.

You probably have some "snot-nosed" kid at the UDK trying to sharpen his or her teeth for the big time!

Bryce Landon 3 years, 6 months ago

UDK joins the likes of CNN, MSNBC, NY Times, etc., as fake news.

Craig Carson 3 years, 6 months ago

you can add FAUX news and EVERY Trump tweet to that list as well

Bryce Landon 3 years, 6 months ago

CNN = Clinton News Network.

MSNBC = Main Stream National B**t Channel

Fox News and Newsmax are just about the only news channels that tell the truth the rest of the media doesn't want us to know.

Mike Bennett 3 years, 6 months ago

Matt Tait, this is a shoddy, ethically reprehensible article. Here's why I say it. The letter from the FBI clearly states it is a standard response (i.e. form) letter and should not be construed to indicate the documents in question even exist. You just copied the UDK which also failed to even acknowledge the FBI disclaimed the existence of any documents. It's a fricking form letter. Send the same request concerning Baker University and you will get the same response. As a so called journalist, send 5 letters to the FBI naming five other schools and see if you get the same response? I know you are too lazy to do it.

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 6 months ago

Until Matt shows us more detail to his reasoning I agree with Mike. The KC Star today has an article that clearly sets forth the statement by the FBI which indicates they were not in any way saying one way or another whether they had papers on KU. They were simply giving the same statement they would give to any request about any school.

Now, we all are aware of the size and impact of our agreement with Adidas should be causation for the FBI to possess copies of that document, but that hardly qualifies as sound evidence the FBI has a dossier on KU and is investigating them.

Chad Lawhorn 3 years, 6 months ago

Hi: The letter from the feds is confusing. We did have an article posted Thursday that said it was unclear what the FBI was acknowledging. Then, we did some more reporting to better understand the letter. Here is a summary of our current understanding: 1. The key is understanding the difference between EXEMPTIONS and EXCLUSIONS in FOIA law. 2.The letter has two parts to it. Part one states: “The material you requested is located in an investigative file which is EXEMPT from disclosure . . .” Part two starts with “For your information, Congress EXCLUDED three discrete categories . . .” and then goes on to explain what those exclusions are. That paragraph ends with the sentence: “This is a standard notification that is given to all our requesters and should not be taken as an indication that EXCLUDED records do, or do not, exist.” 3. Some people have taken that last sentence to apply to the entire letter. It does not. It applies only to that one paragraph that explains the law on excluded records. Thus, that sentence does not cancel out the key sentence of “The material you requested is located in an investigative file . . .” That sentence is the confirmation of the FBI possessing some KU-related documents. As our article notes, we have no idea what those documents are, or whether they have any significance. They could be as simple as a document about another subject that extraneously mentions KU. We have made no judgement on what any of this means. We do, however, recognize that the stakes are large with this FBI probe of college basketball. A good journalistic rule of thumb is that when the stakes are large, small details become more noteworthy. At the moment, that is what this article is: A small detail but one of note. Thanks, Chad Lawhorn, Editor.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the clarification Chad. Rock Chalk

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 6 months ago

I believe most of the complaints are directed toward the UDK and their incendiary leap to judgment.

Joe Ross 3 years, 6 months ago

Yes. This is my feeling also, Suzi. And with the stakes high BOTH on the impact of this investigation on the program itself and on recruits who would consider or remove consideration of Kansas, then much more care should have been taken by both the authors and the editor at the UDK. Websites of fans at the University of Kentucky have already issued glancingly inflammatory pieces in response to the UDK's article:

"This is still bad news for Kansas just to be linked to the ongoing scandal rocking college hoops. To what degree that may be remains a mystery, so it’s far too early to speculate what kind of damage this could cause to one of the blue-bloods of college athletics."


These stories, true or not, could and may work themselves into the attention of recruits and, despite the unknowns relative to the investigation, could affect their decision one way or the other. The UDK was careless in it's characterization that the information they gained from the FBI was incongruent with what has been publicly announced from the ADs office, giving the possible appearance of impropriety. Though astute readers can filter out what was being said from what was NOT being said, the UDK should issue an article that is corrective of what is obviously a false interpretation of the ADs comments and an acknowledgement that their reporting was much less careful than what it should have been. They've certainly shot us in the foot.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 6 months ago

Nice clarification, Chad. However, that legalese is mostly mumbo jumbo to the average reader. The fact is that, given the apparent "confusing" language and the meaning of it, the article should not have been published until all of the underlying language was clarified. Otherwise, you are kind of like the person who forwards all of the e-mails he/she gets without checking about the veracity/meaning of them.

Like I said, honest journalism is essentially dead in this country. Walter Cronkite is probably spinning in his grave. Although he was a devout liberal, you never saw it expressed in his news coverage. I respect that.

It reminds me of what Lyndon Johnson said about his demise surrounding the Vietnam War. He said that he knew he had lost when Mr. Cronkite eventually came out against it. That was a day when Walter Cronkite was one of most respected persons in the country in those annual surveys. Now the media has approval ratings down in the teens. So sad!

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 6 months ago

We've learned a lot more about Cronkite and how CBS/NBC/ABC essentially towed the 'party line." Where was Cronkite and the others in '63-'65 when the major combat commitments to S. Vietnam were being made? How much did Cronkite report on the made up reports about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident with the Maddox? Prior to Tet in '68 how often did he criticized McNamara/LBJ or JFK.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 6 months ago

All good points, Suzi. Just goes to show that a one-sided press is the most dangerous group in the country. Until Fox News came on the scene, you never got the "conservative" view. It is no wonder that they are the most watched of all the cable news channels by far.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 6 months ago

The press has the right to be free, but by being so one-sided and left-leaning, they have abused that right.

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