Thursday, April 19, 2018

Zenger doesn’t like ‘victim’ description for KU, expresses complete confidence in Self, staff in wake of college basketball scandal

Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger speaks during a Big 12 conference meeting in Irving, Texas, Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger speaks during a Big 12 conference meeting in Irving, Texas, Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)


Count KU basketball coach Bill Self and athletic director Sheahon Zenger among those also not thrilled with the description of the University of Kansas as a "victim" in the widening college basketball scandal.

“It is new territory,” Zenger told the Journal-World on Thursday. “I would say both Coach Self and I — there have been comments made in the past week about it — neither of us like the term 'victim.'”

Federal prosecutors have listed KU — along with Miami, Louisville and North Carolina State — as a victim in the latest indictment that alleges an Adidas executive and consultant orchestrated a pay-for-play scheme in college basketball. KU also highlighted the description of itself as a 'victim' as part of its official statement following the indictment. Last week’s indictment alleged that a mother and guardian of two KU players were illegally paid as part of the scheme.

“That’s the term they use in the (indictment), and therefore that is what you use early on,” Zenger said. “But neither one of us like that, but I don’t know what other phrase you use other than the (indictment) says we have been defrauded as an institution.”

Zenger said he thought the most important statement in the indictment as it relates to KU is that the “conspirators sought to conceal this information from the University of Kansas.”

The indictment uses that language regarding the other three schools as well. Unlike Miami, Louisville and North Carolina State, however, the indictment does not mention any KU coaches or officials as having done anything improper. Zenger expressed confidence that would remain the case as the investigation continues.

“We have complete faith in Coach Self and our staff that they go about things in the right way, and we have a very strong compliance unit here,” Zenger said. “They review all of our programs and all of our coaches yearly.”

Zenger said those compliance efforts have been going to “greater lengths” since September, when allegations surrounding pay-for-play at other universities first emerged.

The scandal has left KU with a decision on whether to extend its contract with Adidas. Two of the three defendants in the case — James Gatto and Merl Code — have ties with Adidas. Gatto is an executive of the firm, and Code was a consultant to Adidas during the time of the alleged crimes.

In September, just prior to the news breaking of the first round of indictments in the college basketball case, KU announced a multimillion-dollar, multiyear extension for Adidas to remain as the athletic apparel partner of KU Athletics. However, the deal has not been signed.

On Thursday, Zenger indicated KU was still working to complete the deal, but said KU and Adidas do need to have some additional conversations.

“What I would say is that over the years they have been a very good partner,” Zenger said. “As we move along toward the end of signing this, we need to monitor and make sure we have dotted all the ‘i’s’ and crossed all the ’t’s.’ And there needs to be multiple conversations between both entities.”


Robert Brock 1 year ago

If anything reeks of “victim” at KU, it is KU football. It’s like KU has committed seppuku. Unnecessarily.

Marius Rowlanski 1 year ago

I look at KU Football more as a Crime Scene Investigation.

[''] 1 year ago

Kudos to the worst football AD in college sports history (12-72) finally speaking up about Adidas. Yay.

John Brazelton 1 year ago

If KU football finally starts winning games what will you guys have left to talk about? The bowl game isn't prestigious enough?

Jay Scott 1 year ago

The Chicken Littles will always find a reason to whine.

Tony Bandle 1 year ago

JAY!!!!! Where the hell have you been?? Welcome back, my man!

Marius Rowlanski 1 year ago

Nope! We get a shot at the "Poulan Weed-Eater Independence Bowl" we should be all over it.

Even better, thinking of taking a nice Florida vacation in time to see the "Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl".

All these Bowls will one day be football history. Who needs prestige?

Al Martin 1 year ago

If we win three games this year, I'll be ecstatic. Seriously. And what the hell bowl game are you talking about?

Barry Weiss 1 year ago

don't tell me you are on the Beaty " we going bowling bus"

Craig Carson 1 year ago

i actually like the term victim...KU got defrauded, what else could you call them?

Jim Stauffer 1 year ago

Finally someone who understands the English language. Thanks Craig. Send your sentiments to Sam Mellinger.

Jonathan Allison 1 year ago

Zenger is finally saying the right things. We need to put the University in a position of strength. We should vow to aid in the investigation, to not allow this to happen again, and to seek to recuperate any damages or losses caused to the University. In other words The University should refuse to be a victim, and make certain that the guilty party is held accountable.

I don't know why you have to call them anything other than The University of Kansas, or as the LJWorld likes to put it "Kansas University".

1 year ago

“..we have a very strong compliance unit here” yes, see: Billy Preston, & BP automobile. very ‘proactive’. “dr” z is a bs-machine. get rid o him. RCJH

Jay Scott 1 year ago

"Proactive" would be if the Jayhawks had sniffed out Preston's issues before he played so that all his games wouldn't be forfeited.... That would have been proactive!

Oh, wait....

Richie Wilson 1 year ago

Nothing wrong with the description of 'Victim". As long as you break ties with Adidas. You can't stay with someone who has made you a victim.

RJ King 1 year ago

Yes, but unlike the dating pool, there just aren't that many options. As Zenger states, the overall history with Adidas has been positive.

Many who have bailed at the first drop in the stock market look back a few years later to at least question their knee-jerk reaction.

Steve Corder 1 year ago

Chad, I don't see a line in the article where you asked a specific question. Were you not allowed to ask questions?

Tony Bandle 1 year ago

Does the term "Plausible Deniability" ring a bell?

Victim is someone who has lost his family in a fire or been shot by an assailant. To use this term regarding an act of fraud is ridiculously insensitive. The use of this term in KU's situation is just in terrible taste.

Dave Miller 1 year ago

How about "defauded institution" to describe KU's situation in this matter?

Jim Stauffer 1 year ago

Dictionary definition of victim: 2. One who is swindled or tricked; a dupe.

Jonathan Allison 1 year ago

I agree. The University of Kansas is a large and powerful institution. While technically or legalistically the University may be the victim of the crime... Aesthetically (in my opinion) the term simply doesn't fit.

Kit Duncan 1 year ago

"Victim" is really not a good term for KU's situation. Most synonyms for "victim" are in the "fool" category, such as "dupe", "prey", "sucker", "patsy", "pushover", "sap", "chump", "stooge", et al. A few terms that might fit are: "injured party", "aggrieved".

Bryce Landon 1 year ago

Bill Self has always sat players when eligibility issues have come up, even when it hurts his team short-term. If he had any inkling that there was something amiss with Silvio's eligibility, he would have sat him too, or not brought him aboard mid-season. Also remember that the NCAA cleared Silvio to play. I trust Self and the coaching staff to do things the right way, even if it hurts the team short-term.

Jonathan Allison 1 year ago

I agree. Self has benched players like Cliff Alexander and Billy Preston even before the NCAA declared them ineligible. He has waiting to play guys like De Sousa and Cheick Diallo and many other until the NCAA grants them eligibility. All signs point to the fact that Self and KU do what they need to do to ensure that they are playing by the letter and intent of the rules.

Jerome Cottner 1 year ago

I agree 100%. If our players do any little thing Self will suspend/sit them regardless of the game. Based off past player sittings that frustrate all of us fans I just don't see it in this case. The NCAA cleared Silvio and I have full confidence that had Self known anything otherwise Silvio would have been on the bench with the transfers.

Jim Stauffer 1 year ago

I really think the NCAA is handcuffed from doing anything to KU unless our culpability is determined. There are too many situations such as the Duke players, Arizona coach and player to allow them to punish and institution that knew nothing.

Carolyn Hunzicker 1 year ago

Great Softball program---- Great Baseball program--- Great Football program---- Great Womens Basketball program

Jeff Coffman 1 year ago

I prefer instead of victim that we use the term that we have been "Zengered". This seems like the term that we have been in for a number of years. It feels like Zinger, but without the punchline.

Synonyms of "Zenger". I got the "beaty"down from my comrades, or we've had the "Sneider" kicked out of us. I'm sure King "Girod" will come to the rescue. These seem to feed into the kind of mantras that KU has been feeding.

Antonyms - We have a "Self"less ambassador of the program or we have a "Price"less coach to lead our team.

Dane Pratt 1 year ago

If after following the rules and doing our due diligence we are forced to vacate wins due to the unscrupulous practices of a third party then yes, we qualify as a victim.

Bill Pitcher 1 year ago

"Vic" is better than "perp." Hope the new contract includes strong indemnities and a liquidated damages clause.

Alan Dickey 1 year ago

“Federal prosecutors have listed KU — along with Miami, Louisville and North Carolina State — as a victim in the latest indictment … ‘That’s the term they use in the (indictment), and therefore that is what you use early on,’ Zenger said. ‘But neither one of us like that, but I don’t know what other phrase you use other than the (indictment) says we have been defrauded as an institution.’”

I have searched the indictment several times both electronically and optically, and it does not contain the word “victim.” I don’t know why people keep saying and reporting that. It described KU’s circumstances (being deceived as part of a scheme that could only succeed if KU was not aware of it) that, arguably, is consistent with victimhood. But the indictment did not use that word. It's poor reporting to not mention that in this article that essentially suggests otherwise.

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