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Friday, April 5, 2019

NCAA ‘aggressively’ pursuing evidence in college basketball corruption trial, NCAA president says

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks during a news conference at the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks during a news conference at the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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The NCAA is “aggressively” pursuing evidence obtained by the FBI for the college basketball corruption trials, NCAA President Mark Emmert said.

Emmert, who made the comments Thursday during a news conference for the NCAA’s Final Four basketball tournament in Minneapolis, Minn., said the NCAA has filed a request in a U.S. District Court in New York City for the FBI's evidence to be released so that the NCAA could use it in its own investigations into whether basketball programs caught in the scandal — including the University of Kansas — violated any NCAA rules.

The NCAA provided a transcript of Emmert's comments to the Journal-World after a reporter asked for an update on the NCAA's request for evidence.

“We petitioned, and we're going to continue to argue aggressively that they should provide that information so we can get to the facts, since there's so much interest, not just on our part, but across the country and knowing what really transpired there,” Emmert said, according to the transcript.

Emmert noted that the NCAA needed to file a request for the evidence because it is not automatically available. If the request is granted, the NCAA can then use the evidence as part of its own investigations into the recruiting scandals without needing to find the evidence on its own, which is a relatively new NCAA rule.

“I'm very excited to see that process move forward,” he said, referring to the request for evidence.

In a separate court filing in March, prosecutors representing the U.S. government in the case said they intended to oppose the release of the evidence, noting the NCAA had requested 24 exhibits of evidence that were not admitted into an October trial.

Lewis A. Kaplan, the federal judge overseeing the case, has not yet ruled on the NCAA’s request. Two more trials related to the scandal are scheduled for April and June.

In October, a jury found former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christian Dawkins and amateur league director Merl Code all guilty of fraud. In March, the three men were sentenced to months in prison.

The trial centered on whether the men’s admitted effort to channel secret payments to the families of top recruits, luring them to major basketball programs sponsored by Adidas, including KU, was criminal. At stake was a fortune in revenue for the basketball programs and potential endorsement deals for the players if they went pro, both the prosecutors and defense have contended.

During the trial, testimony focused on KU coach Bill Self’s relationship with government witness T.J. Gassnola. Gassnola, a former Adidas consultant, testified that he paid the families of players to steer them to KU, including $90,000 to the mother of former KU player Billy Preston and $2,500 to the guardian of current KU player Silvio De Sousa. Gassnola testified that he never told Self about the payments. Gassnola is awaiting sentencing in a separate but related federal case.

The defense in the case argued that the coaches, including Self and KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend, were aware of the payments to players. Despite the argument, the jury found all three men guilty of defrauding universities, including KU, by providing money to players’ families to push them toward certain programs.

Evidence in the case the NCAA is pursuing would include the text message transcripts of Self and Townsend discussing recruiting with some of the men convicted in the case.

Comments

Suzi Marshall 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Is thing FBI investigation some kind of sick joke or what? The NCAA is the criminal entity here, not the players and Adidas people. It's like the FBI has opened a criminal investiagtion on the shop keepers the Mafia is shaking down. Also the fact that Duke is not directly involved speaks to their cowardice who to pick on as Duke has far too many influential alums in Government, Banking, Wall Street to be able to get away with it. It should not escape anybodies attention that it's Mark Walker who has introduced the 'Student-Athlete Equity Act,' which would make this investigation a moot point.

Dane Pratt 2 weeks, 3 days ago

That's all well and good for the future of college sports but it's after the fact. As of the FBI investigation it is an NCAA violation to compensate players. Your point is moot at best.

Suzi Marshall 2 weeks, 3 days ago

It absolutely is not moot at all. This bill will become law probably before the NCAA can do their investigation. We shall see.

Pius Waldman 2 weeks, 3 days ago

n October, a jury found former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christian Dawkins and amateur league director Merl Code all guilty of fraud. In March, the three men were sentenced to MONTHS in prison. De Sousa punished YEARS without a fair trial. NCAA is a fraud.

Jeff Foster 2 weeks, 3 days ago

What an effing joke. The NCAA has known about the dark side of apparel company's involvement in college sports (and I say sports, I'm sure football is involved as well given it's the BIG money sport) for years! Now, they've never developed ANY evidence themselves, since it would hurt their revenue stream, so they want the FBI to hand over the evidence they acquired over thousands of hours of surveillance and wire taps and other means. Well done NCAA, way to try to copy someone else's homework to turn in as your own to try and score the 'A.' Well, it's confirmed, the A in NCAA stands for A-hole.

David Klamm 2 weeks, 3 days ago

If I remember correctly, it's not just about wanting access to information the FBI did the groundwork on, it's about having access to all kinds of information that the NCAA as an entity shouldn't have access to. Amongst all those wiretaps is tons of personal information for all kinds of people that weren't being investigated or wasn't pertinent to the investigation. The judge was pretty harsh in his statement when he said that wasn't something he could ever grant access to. I'm not sure the NCAA had the foresight to consider that they might not just be granted full access to this information when the FBI cases were completed. Jeff - I like your reference - the NCAA needs to do their own homework.

Suzi Marshall 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I don't know what the NCAA expects to receive from the FBI. Today the DC Circuit reaffirmed previously established case law by the SCOTUS (I'm not sure where the DC Circuit gets the idea they had the authority on this...) that Grand Jury testimony needs to remain protected. The NCAA needs to do their own homework. https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/0/C303D80209541E01852583D3004E0F21/$file/17-5149.pdf

Alan Dickey 2 weeks, 2 days ago

“[T]he DC Circuit reaffirmed previously established case law by the SCOTUS (I'm not sure where the DC Circuit gets the idea they had the authority on this...) that Grand Jury testimony needs to remain protected.”

I think you’re misreading the McKeever decision. The DC Cir. was not reaffirming Supreme Court decisions. Instead, it was holding that they suggest that the Rule 6(e) exceptions to the prohibition on disclosure of grand jury testimony are exclusive, which the Supreme Court had not expressly held.

Barry Weiss 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Did Emmert mention Kansas by name or is that just Dylan of the JW writing the article that way? Seems like the JW gets its jollies over trying to find KU guilty.

Ashwin Rao 2 weeks, 3 days ago

That same question came into my head. If Kansas was not mentioned, then this is a case of shoddy journalism.

Dane Pratt 2 weeks, 3 days ago

That seems a bit harsh. No fan of Emmert but the burning in hell desire really needs to be reserved for the likes of Hitler, Tojo, Stalin, et al. He's an overpaid, incompetent bureaucrat not a mass murder.

DaNeille Dani Davis 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Then Duke needs to go down too. Zion Williamson should not be able to get away with his demands.

Freedman Moor 2 weeks, 2 days ago

I very clearly recall people trying to climb down my throat with their shoes on for predicting (before the season) that this would be Bill Self's last year at Kansas. Well, I just happen to an ESPN reporter in my car (Uber) who asked Self that same question with respect to NBA openings, he told me that Self told him, "I'm not running from this". I'd prefer to believe that this is true, but I also clearly recall roy telling reporters that he didn't "give a hsit about North Carolina".

David Klamm 2 weeks, 2 days ago

So, in other words, you are still wrong at this point. This really isn't news. Bill Self has made multiple public statements that he will not be walking away from this and has in fact said he sees himself coaching at KU much longer than he thought he might when he took the job.

Freedman Moor 2 weeks, 1 day ago

So in other words, my assumption wasn't that far-fetched if Self is being asked the same thing by sports writers. Try again.

Mallory Briggans 2 weeks, 2 days ago

in a nutshell the ridiculousness the NCAA is when Kyle Guy had to take down his wedding registry " because it might be a NCAA violation " ........ And since Zion blew out his shoe comes the call to pay players by politicians yet Desouza is suspended 2 years over 2500.00 that his guardian allegedly received
The FBI wiretapped Sean Miller of Arizona and LSU's Will Wade dicussing payments yet nothing has happened up to this point. although LSU suspended Wade not the NCAA Politicians Shoes companies TV deals The NCAA and Cheating coaches all intertwined for the " GOOD OF THE STUDENT ATHLETE "

Spencer Goff 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Look, I want us all to be honest here... you, me, and Mark Emmert. We know revenue sports athletes get paid. You know, I know, Emmert knows. So to the NCAA I say, “I will stop saying that you don’t know what you are doing when you admit that you know EXACTLY what THEY are doing and act openly instead of ‘enforcing’ these sham rules.” You cannot stop the flow of money, just be up front about it. If I had to choose between punishing Duke or opening up the system I choose the latter, but I am not sure the NCAA has any interest in either. The NCAA could be a better organization, it should be better, but it first has to be honest about the nature of revenue sports today.

Mallory Briggans 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Spencer you are right .......you cant stop the flow of cash ,given the economic backgrounds of some of the players If it was proven that Zions mother received money that has now surfaced Zion is done at Duke ,so its Dukes problem now Zion is on to the NBA ...I live in the Dallas area and I was in a fast food restaurant by SMU .I struck up a conversation with 2 SMU football players we talked for awhile until they left . One of the players told me he was headed to the ATM get some cash .........he told me some of the players had cards and all he knew was that it was always cash in his account......he didnt know where it came from as well as a player i talked to who "waited " tables at a high brow restaurant where the boosters frequented that tipped very well. For the NCAA to enforce all the things that go on is a task they dont want unless its so blatant that they have to

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