Seventy-five days after promising to fight for his eligibility, University of Kansas officials have filed a formal appeal of Silvio De Sousa's two-year suspension by the NCAA.
On Feb. 2, during an impromptu press conference before KU’s home victory over Texas Tech, Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long spoke with fire and passion about the suspension handed out to KU's sophomore forward on Feb. 1, which stemmed from his guardian’s role in a pay-for-play scheme that was part of a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball.
Kansas Athletics on Thursday morning announced it had entered "its formal appeal on behalf of men's basketball student-athlete Silvio De Sousa, challenging the two-season penalty De Sousa received from the NCAA for alleged violations that he was unaware of and from which he did not benefit."
The release added that KU officials would have no further comment until the process was complete.
Later Thursday, when the Journal-World reached him for comment through a spokesperson, Long said that there were reasons for the lengthy delay between the time of De Sousa's suspension and KU filing the appeal.
“This has been a detailed, collaborative process involving the University of Kansas, the NCAA and Silvio’s attorney,” Long said via written statement. “That process has resulted in the best possible appeal for Silvio.”
So now the matter is officially in the hands of the NCAA, and, according to its website, the body that will review the appeal is separate from the one that handed out the suspension in the first place.
De Sousa’s appeal will be ruled on by the Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff, which is made up of "a team within the NCAA's academic and membership affairs department."
According to the website, the SAR staff reviews each student-athlete reinstatement request individually, based on its own merits and set of specific facts.
Requests by the Journal-World of both the NCAA and KU seeking clarity on any timeline associated with the appeal have been unsuccessful, but a review of a 20-page document on the NCAA website may provide some guidance.
In a document titled “NCAA DIVISIONS I, II AND III COMMITTEES ON STUDENT-ATHLETE REINSTATEMENT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES,” which was updated last December, the NCAA lists two different types of appeals processed by the Student-Athlete Reinstatement committee.
The first is dubbed “Reinstatement of eligibility appeals – violations.” And the second is titled, “Waivers and extension request appeals.”
If De Sousa's appeal falls under the first category, the document indicates that "review of a violation appeal by the appropriate divisional committee via paper review will generally take seven business days.”
If the appeal somehow falls in the second category, the document indicates that review of the appeal can “generally take three weeks.”
Kansas coach Bill Self said Tuesday night at the team’s season-ending banquet that he was “still holding out for hope on Silvio participating at Kansas moving forward, even though we don’t have any answers on that yet.”
Throughout his time with the Jayhawks this season, De Sousa remained a visible part of the team even though he could not participate in the action on the floor.
Self on Tuesday praised De Sousa’s attitude throughout the season and reiterated that he believed the 6-foot-9 sophomore from Angola had been dealt “the worst hand anybody’s been dealt.”
One other potential factor in De Sousa’s immediate future is the looming early entry deadline for the 2019 NBA Draft, which arrives Sunday and could play a role in where De Sousa's career goes from here.
Self, in a recent interview with the Journal-World, said he would "totally understand and encourage" De Sousa to look into declaring for the draft, which would allow him to take advantage of new rules that deliver NBA exposure while retaining college eligibility.
If De Sousa decides to stay at KU for what would be his junior season, his status for the 2019-20 season will not be known until a ruling is made on his appeal.
As of today, De Sousa's suspension by the NCAA has him ineligible to play until the 2020-21 season.
According to a report by The Associated Press, the SAR's ruling on De Sousa's appeal is final.