Originally published December 5, 2018 at 10:27a.m., updated December 5, 2018 at 04:19p.m.

Report: NCAA won’t punish programs caught in Adidas fraud trial until after 2019 Final Four

FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, a player runs across the NCAA logo during practice in Pittsburgh before an NCAA tournament college basketball game. What some call the sleezy side of college basketball recruiting will be on display at a criminal trial starting Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, a player runs across the NCAA logo during practice in Pittsburgh before an NCAA tournament college basketball game. What some call the sleezy side of college basketball recruiting will be on display at a criminal trial starting Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)


NCAA sanctions on basketball programs caught up in the Adidas fraud trial won’t be resolved until after the Final Four this spring, NCAA president Mark Emmert said, according to a Yahoo Sports report on Wednesday.

Emmert, who was speaking at the Learfield Sports Business Journal Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York City, said investigations into schools have already begun.

“This whole incident has cast a very bad light on college basketball and we need to deal with it as effectively as we can,” Emmert said, according to the report. “We’re not going to have everything wrapped by the Final Four because these trials are still going to be going on.”

In November, the FBI gave the NCAA clearance to begin investigating some of the universities involved in the scandal but did not specify which programs. The University of Kansas had become a focus of the trial before it ended in October.

When asked if the NCAA would investigate and punish Kansas, Louisville and North Carolina State for their alleged involvement in the fraud, Emmert said the NCAA does not “talk about individual cases,” according to a tweet from reporter Adam Zagoria.

Emmert said the NCAA has “the manpower and the willpower” to address the scandal associated with the trial but cautioned that the organization is more of a spectator in the case, which has at least two more trials scheduled for 2019, according to the Yahoo Sports report.

“There are still ongoing trials, investigatory work being done by the U.S. attorney’s office, and we have to be respectful of that,” he said. “We don’t want to inadvertently obstruct any of that justice process. We’re moving forward as assertively as we can, while still having to respect that process. We’re going to do this as quickly as we can but there are still legal challenges out there.”

Additionally, Emmert said the NCAA is considering a new method to investigate and rule on major infraction cases, which would include appointing a panel of five people who don’t hold positions at NCAA universities. Emmert used outside business leaders or former politicians as examples of possible panelists.

The organization will vote on a recommendation in January during its convention to institute the new structure. If it passes, it likely won’t be in place until August 2019, he said.

In the meantime, few schools have taken action to discipline players or coaches who have been implicated publicly.

"We need to make sure that schools are fulfilling their role and holding everybody accountable," Emmert said. "But the NCAA as an association of member schools is built upon the notion of collaboration and collegiality, and there's a notion among the schools that they will all hold themselves accountable. So to the extent that doesn't happen, I think all of the members are not happy with that."

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey, during an interview session at the forum, said the lack of action has been notable.

"As a profession, coaches look at it and say, 'Wow, that's interesting,' maybe there should be more ineligible guys," Brey said. "But I sense that is coming."

During the October trial, testimony focused on KU coach Bill Self’s relationship with government witness T.J. Gassnola. The former Adidas consultant testified that he paid the families of players to steer them to KU, including $90,000 to the mother of Billy Preston and $2,500 to the guardian of Silvio De Sousa. Gassnola testified that he never told Self about the payments.

The defense in the case argued that the coaches, including Self and KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend, were aware of the payments to players.

The argument was not enough, as the jury found all three men facing charges — former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christian Dawkins and amateur league director Merl Code — guilty of defrauding universities, including KU, by providing money to players’ families to steer them toward certain programs.

Both the defense and the prosecution said the families of KU players received money, which could be of interest to an NCAA investigation.

De Sousa was cleared by the NCAA to play during the 2017-18 season, where KU won its 14th straight Big 12 conference title and made an appearance in the Final Four. In light of the information revealed in the trial, KU chose to keep De Sousa out of games during the current season until the NCAA clears him to play again, which has not yet occurred.

Preston, who never played an official game at KU because of eligibility concerns, played professionally this year for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers organization before being cut earlier this week.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Joe Black 1 year, 2 months ago

"Both the defense and the prosecution said the families of KU players received money, which could be of interest to an NCAA investigation." Actually, only one KU player's family received money. Preston never played for KU so his situation is irrelevant to any punishment. That leaves De Sousa. He had a "family" member receive roughly $2,500 in impermissible benefits. That should not amount to anything more than a slap on the wrist as far as KU is concerned. Suspend him for a few games and get on with it. In fact he has probably sat out more games because of how cautious KU has been than what he penalty would/should be from the NCAA.

Dane Pratt 1 year, 2 months ago

Agree. Silvio has more than paid for the mistakes made by others. It's the penalties against the program that concern me.

Mike Maddox 1 year, 2 months ago

There's also the issue of the alleged $60k Maryland booster payment to SDS's guardian. If there's a chance this took place, you can't play SDS.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 2 months ago

Good grief, so does this mean Silvio could miss this entire season?

Doug Longstaff 1 year, 2 months ago

Yeah, doesn't seem likely that Silvio will see the court as a Jayhawk as again.

I assume, behind the scenes, that the schools and the NCAA are negotiating penalties as we speak. It is a self-governing organization, after all. It would be better for all parties if they can come to an agreed upon set of punishments before they release what they are. Nobody wants a lot of bellyaching and calling more attention to the ridiculous system that is the NCAA.

KU would probably be very open to accepting a lot of punishment scenarios that don't involve forfeiture of victories or ineligibility for the NCAA tournament. Recruiting restrictions and loss of scholarships are likely scenarios.

Danny Hernandez 1 year, 2 months ago

KU did nothing! Why should they accept any penalty!!!!!

Danny Hernandez 1 year, 2 months ago

you know what? here say doesn't convict! thats's where I've been, where have you been? living under the proverbial scandal bs you must be guilty line? You must feel Coach Self knew and are prepared to stake your life on it! he said she said, that's all it is. damn, don't give up ppl, fight it.

Bee Bee 1 year, 2 months ago

National Communists Against Athletes

Dane Pratt 1 year, 2 months ago

The pursuit of athletic excellence is one of the core values of the NCAA. Unless they can assure KU that in the event of a penalty the punishment will not include vacating wins, Silvio will never step foot on the court.

Ben Berglund 1 year, 2 months ago

The only core value of the NCAA is money in their pocket.

Jeff Polaski 1 year, 2 months ago

The same goes for the member schools or they'd allow athletes to market themselves to shoe companies while in school.

Dillon Davis 1 year, 2 months ago

Zagoria also said that punishment is going to be up to each individual school. So does that mean it's up to Self whether or not to play Silvio and then just accept the consequences after March? To me this means that the NCAA isn't going to make a decision on Silvio this year and basically tempting Self to play him by saying "It's up to you how you want to handle punishment, but just know that if we find something in March, you'll vacate wins."

This is very unfortunate for Silvio that he can't get a straight answer from the NCAA and let him do what's best for his future.

Danny Hernandez 1 year, 2 months ago

It's also unfortunate for Kansas and their fan base. Either Coach Self knew or he didn't! It's that simple

Barry Weiss 1 year, 2 months ago

I could not find that part about the punishment is going to be up to each school. Can you provide a link? I hope that is right.

Dillon Davis 1 year, 2 months ago

None by Adam Zagoria

Rick Holmes 1 year, 2 months ago

So why is Duke still playing Zion Williamson, given that they signed him and Coach Townsend was saying (in the conversation listened into by the FBI), that particular recruit would not sign without an incentive (paraphrasing)? It would seem that would be enough to put them under the microscope. I am sure I missed something, however.

Dane Pratt 1 year, 2 months ago

Would seem very risky for Coach K. I can only assume Duke did not leave a paper trail like KU did.

Kit Duncan 1 year, 2 months ago

There were no specific allegations of money/benefits actually changing hands to get Zion Williamson to go to Duke. On the other hand, Silvio's guardian was alleged to have taken bribes in specific amounts to steer Silvio to Maryland (which SDS decided not to do) and to pay for his online classes to complete his college eligibility. Since KU in general, and Bill Self in particular, are now aware (publicly) of allegations of bribe-taking by Silvio DeSousa's guardian, Silvio is being held out of games. He was held out last season until the NCAA ruled he was academically eligible. (The committee on academic eligibility was behind that investigation, not the committee on infractions which will be handling any further investigations.)

Jeff Foster 1 year, 2 months ago

Maybe the bigger issue on SDS is, if his guardian took the $20K UA allegedly paid him to go to Maryland, the $2500 is a moot point, he's ineligible from then on. So the games he played in last year would be forfeited as would the FF and conf championships, if they erased any games he played in. Guessing he'll never play another game for KU, this won't be settled until he's long gone playing overseas. :-)

Kit Duncan 1 year, 2 months ago

KU is counting on the NCAA not penalizing them for the guardian's infractions if Silvio has not played a game since the allegations against the guardian have come to light. If KU maintains its innocence and claims only to have played Silvio last season once he was ruled academically eligible by the NCAA, they may be able to insulate the school from any infractions. Technically, Silvio is currently being penalized since he is being withheld from competing.

Craig Carson 1 year, 2 months ago

Now that we have a time frame this should give Silvio all the info he needs to make a decision..can't see him sticking around if he knows for certain that he won't play...why sit when u know you can make $$ in Europe ....I'm still being hopeful and confident that KU won't face ant stuff penalties like vacating games or post season name...

Kerby Rice 1 year, 2 months ago

If Silivio De Sousa is not allowed to play than there is no way that Bruno Fernando of Maryland should be allowed to play either. Bruno is a fellow Angolan and has the same guardian in Fenny. I've long wondered if the $60,000 from Maryland was for both players' commitment and that is why Fenny only needed around $20,000 to "get out from under" the debt Maryland booster. Silvio can't play and Bruno is averaging 15 and 10 while working his way on to several 1st round mock drafts.

Michael Maris 1 year, 2 months ago

Great point. The one thing that stands out in my head is, the NCAA protects the ACC, Big Ten & SEC Elite Schools. So, Maryland being a former ACC and now B1G School, they're probably under protective consideration from the NCAA.

Mike Hart 1 year, 2 months ago

"protective consideration from the NCAA". That's crap... right, like the Big 12 is scrutinized and treated with less priority than Big 10, SEC and ACC schools. 100% nonsense..

Mike Greer 1 year, 2 months ago

KU is the school with the most on the line, that's why Silvio sits and Zion plays. KU is the one with all the streaks, conference titles, NCAA tournament appearances, etc. Duke can play Zion and if the NCAA declares he's ineligible after the season they may have to vacate this year's accomplishments, but they don't have record streaks on the line.

Michael Maris 1 year, 2 months ago

What if Duke happens to win the National Championship? You think that Coach K would be fine with losing the banner and media coverage and attention that comes from winning the National Championship?

Mike Greer 1 year, 2 months ago

No, Coach K would be mad as hell, but, it would be a NC won with a player he knows has an eligibility risk based on the information that came out at the trial. Coach K isn't blind to that information, he's just made a choice. He'd rather win a NC and run the risk that the NCAA can't prove anything on Zion, than sit him out and run the risk of not winning a NC. I think Coach Self is in a different situation with Silvio. KU has more than just this season at risk, just ask Billy Preston.

Creg Bohrer 1 year, 2 months ago

That's because they don't intend on doing anything to Duke. We saw that in the N.C. investigation and it's the reason college basketball is being investigated, but not football. Too much money at stake.

Keith Gellar 1 year, 2 months ago

this is the most asinine comment ever. really shows how full of it our fans are.

really, becuase KU has streaks, conference titles, the ncaa will punish ku? cuckoo alert. KU also has only 1 ship since 1988. by your logic, ncaa should be killing nova and duke. they have a lot more to show than us.

Mike Greer 1 year, 2 months ago

No not at all, obviously your ability to comprehend the English language is being tested. It's about which team has the most to risk by playing a player whose eligibility may be in question. Has nothing to do with the NCAA punishing one team more than another, that's absolutely silly to assume. If KU is punished by vacating wins, it has a lot of streaks that will end, not just this years results, but streaks that are years old. If Duke receives the same punishment, for the most part they loose this years results, which could be a NC, but it would be a NC that they knew they got by playing a player with eligibility issues. Obviously, for Duke it's worth the risk, for KU that doesn't appear to be the case. What's the difference between the two programs, streaks.

Danny Hernandez 1 year, 2 months ago

Personally, IF I'm Kansas, I play Silvio. He hasn't played in 6 games and that is more than enough of a suspension. I take the chance! I'm tired of Kansas fearing the NCAA. Coach Self and the Athletic Administration took the right course with Billy Preston but enough is enough!

Fight the NCAA's rule that even if a parent or guardian or relative for that matter accepts an impermissible benefit unknown to said player that he is penalized. WHY?


Mike Hart 1 year, 2 months ago

...unless there is more out there that comes out about KU's knowledge / participation in recruiting impropriety associated with DeSousa.. in which case (if true): Kansas is prudent to NOT play DeSousa.

Danny Hernandez 1 year, 2 months ago

Then you are stating that Coach Self is guilty and he should resign immediately. I'd hope that IF Coach Self was guilty, he'd have a class similar to Coach K's or Cal's cause he sucks at cheating then.

Creg Bohrer 1 year, 2 months ago

I agree. Play him and force them to make a decision.

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 1 year, 2 months ago

watching great lottery picks play or hang banners and keep the bench warm? decisions decisions. let the kid play.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 2 months ago

A $2500 payment would require 1/3 of the games to be suspended. It'll likely be about game 13 or 14 where that decision should be made.

Craig Carson 1 year, 2 months ago

Jeff, I really dont think Self has given 2nd thought to playing Silvio..I think he intends to leave him on that bench until the NCAA says otherwise

Brad Watson 1 year, 2 months ago

We will get penalized..get ready for it...

David Kemp 1 year, 2 months ago

At this point not sure what NCAA can do. They have lost control of the big picture. The money greases the wheel and it starts with Nike adidas underarmour ratings and on and on. When they changed the rules on high school draft and allowed one and done they opened Pandora’s box.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 2 months ago

The NCAA didn't change the draft rule or open Pandora's box. The NBA made the rule and was just getting rid of their own Pandora's box that was ruining their businesses. How the NCAA handles amateurism is not a major concern of theirs.

David Kemp 1 year, 2 months ago

I meant “they” in general not the ncaa. Nonetheless this created an environment for scrutiny.

Creg Bohrer 1 year, 2 months ago

At this point it seems they're going to delay the decision until after the season ends to let the flames die down. I doubt we'll see any major penalties happen to any school.

Joe Baker 1 year, 2 months ago

Play Silvio NOW, next game. This is ridiculous if there is no "punishment" coming from the NCAA. Yet Zion plays? This is stupid. Please don't give me a stupid lecture about vacating wins and how smart it is to sit Silvio. Geesh

Joseph Bullock 1 year, 2 months ago

In the case of Silvio, what normally happens, is the money is paid back, and the players sit out a certain number of games-that has even happened when it was actually a player who took the money! The bigger issue is what may be in the rest of Coaces Self and Townsend’s text messages, if anything!

Danny Hernandez 1 year, 2 months ago

still conjecture because One can deduce whatever they want from the messages. Maybe it means this and maybe it means that! Beyond a reasonable doubt and a preponderance of the evidence still aren't met

Barry Weiss 1 year, 2 months ago

Personally, I am anxious for the other trials to get going so that some other schools and their coach's get thrown out there in the media.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 2 months ago

There are a lot of slippery slopes out there with this.

1) One of my favorites, if a team now sees a team as a competitor, have a booster pay them $20,000 or some amount. That player is now ruled ineligible and never gets to play. It wasn't even a booster from their own school. This is the Silvio case, some Booster from another school allegedly paid our player.

2) If someone says that a person wants money, special benefits, or some other arrangement, it now is a violation.

3) Two people talking behind the scenes without knowledge from others, exchange money through a fraud and illegal wires, now place a risk on a University, a Player, and coaches. As the Federal Government even said those three are the alleged victims. We have to be careful because we could see this cause a lot of regulation in the NCAA and one of the biggest hang-ups with the NCAA is too many regulations already. Piling on keeps making it harder for them and the universities to manage.

I'm not saying KU or any party isn't free of guilt in this, but I've been very clear, that the only payment that was made by a first party was the $2300 for educational purposes. It is also clear the player and coaches were unaware of how this money was given to the player.

All other allegations were for players that never set foot on a KU court as a player.

The most we should consider is a recruiting restriction; however, that would be a stretch.

Dane Pratt 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't like it when the NCAA vacates a season due to a player being ineligible. If they cleared someone, let the season play out. If that player turns out to be ineligible after the fact, punish them with sanctions. Theoretically, the efforts of players and coaches could be eliminated over $2,500.

Brad Watson 1 year, 2 months ago

What will the penalty be?....hard to say without knowing all the info.....the problem is so wide spread that it will result in the NCAA actually talking to all the coaches and ADs somewhere and spend as long as it takes to come up with a suitable system for all ...and the 2 sides together reform the system...everyone is guilty to some can't punish when that happens...the reforms need to be other choice if you want to have a rule rule book...... no NCAA

Brad Watson 1 year, 2 months ago

I personally would not recruit one and done kids.......I think freshman should sit a year also...old school ideas aren't always bad.

Mike Greer 1 year, 2 months ago

The issue is that if you don't recruit the best talent you aren't going to have the best team. To me, one and done is a horrible idea, but those are the cards we have, thanks NBA. Freshman sitting out a year, now are you not only eliminating one and done players, but also just good or really good players, that want to contribute as quickly as possible. It's going to be a slim recruiting class if that's the path you follow.

Personally, I'd like the kids to be able to make a choice, either go pro after HS or make a 4 year commitment to play college ball. I'm not in charge and that's probably not going to happen.

Craig Carson 1 year, 2 months ago

here is the issue with what you said about "one and dones"...1) Silvio wasnt a OAD player..if he was he'd be gone already..but he didnt come in with a lot of NBA fan fare and 2) unless the kid is a top 10-15 kid, you really dont know how long they plan on staying..mostly, the guys who tend to be OAD are guys either rated in the top 20 or kids that had a better than expected freshman season and shot up the NBA draft charts.....

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