Advertisement

Originally published February 27, 2019 at 03:32p.m., updated February 27, 2019 at 04:16p.m.

KU wants $1 million in restitution from convicted men in college basketball corruption trial

From left, former Adidas executive James Gatto, former sports agent Christian Dawkins and former amateur basketball league director Merl Code arrive at federal court in New York in these photos from October 2018.    (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

From left, former Adidas executive James Gatto, former sports agent Christian Dawkins and former amateur basketball league director Merl Code arrive at federal court in New York in these photos from October 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Advertisement

The University of Kansas wants the three men convicted of fraud in the college basketball corruption trial to pay more than $1 million worth of restitution to the university, according to a document filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday.

William M. Sullivan, an attorney representing KU, said in a letter to the court that the university wanted restitution from former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christian Dawkins and amateur league director Merl Code to cover the cost of legal fees and two athletic scholarships the university gave to athletes who were actually ineligible to play because of the men’s action.

“The damage done by Mr. Gatto’s and his co-conspirators’ greed cannot be overstated,” Sullivan wrote in the letter. “Their actions have impaired the University of Kansas’s ability to continue to fully use those resources for both the benefit and welfare of its student-athletes, as well as for its ongoing mission of educational and community development and enrichment.”

The two athletic scholarships referenced in the restitution request were given to former KU player Billy Preston and current player Silvio De Sousa, according to the court filing. Preston never played in an official game during his one season with KU because of doubt surrounding his eligibility. De Sousa, however, played for the team during its run to the Final Four in 2018 and the NCAA recently ruled him ineligible to play for KU until the 2020-2021 season.

KU’s total requested restitution is $1,136,424. Similar letters of restitution requests from attorneys for the University of Louisville and North Carolina State University were also filed but involved less money. Louisville only requested restitution of about $31,000, and NC State requested about $258,000.

In October, a jury found Gatto, Dawkins and Code all guilty of fraud for the scheme.

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.

Earlier this month, the three men filed court documents asking for probation rather than prison time for their convictions.

But prosecutors filed documents on Tuesday arguing that the men deserve jail time for their convictions because of the seriousness of the offenses and to deter future illegal actions by others. Along with their argument, the prosecutors included the letters from the university lawyers requesting restitution.

The three men are scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday.

During the 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 Preston and $2,500 to the guardian of 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 steer them toward certain programs.

The restitution requested by KU covers:

• $112,731 for two athletic scholarships and financial aid the university provided to De Sousa and Preston.

• $346,393 for legal fees the university paid in response to the NCAA investigating De Sousa and Preston.

• $308,472 for fees the university incurred to cooperate with the federal investigation of the Gatto, Code and Dawkins crimes.

• $289,886 for professional service fees the university incurred to respond to federal subpoenas related to the men’s crimes.

• $78,942 for fees the university incurred to prepare Jeff Smith, KU Athletics senior director of compliance, as a witness to testify and to have an attorney present during the trial.

Comments

Freddie Garza 6 months, 3 weeks ago

So in other words, we're still pretending that the Athletic Dept and Coach Self had no idea what was going on, eh? I don't blame them, that's the game the NCAA set up to be played. But pretending that you had no idea? Come on now, bruh.

Brett McCabe 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Time for this all to stop. Bill needs to step aside. Thank you for everything, but putting the program in peril was your choice. And, if you are like DYRK the dumb**, you don't care what we stand for.

You can absolutely win without cheating. And, if you can't, then you are just a better cheater. Go pro Bill. We can hire a coach tomorrow that can win without cheating.

Brett McCabe 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Because you prefer this? Or because you lack the vocabulary to construct a full paragraph? If you love KU, then you need to step up - not back. Losing Lenny's are the sure sign that things are awry.

Time also for Jeff Long to step up and end this. I want to be proud of my University - not constantly defending it. Ever since the Josh, Cliff, Chieck, Silvio, Billy fiasco(s), it's been pretty hard to defend this program.

Of course, we have the all-time greats of Kelly, Andrew and Joel - three guys who never accomplished anything and one - Joel - who was the first version of "shutting it down", we can all look back on and say "What great Jayhawks!".

Stuff needs to stop. Needs to stop as soon as this season ends. What needs to go away is the "s'plainin". It's not worth it. Time to move on.

Joe Black 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Self needs to go as soon as Coach Calipari and Coach K step down. Everybody know it was going to take $150,000 to get Williamson to come to your school. KU wouldn't pay it and the kid ends up at Duke. Hmmm, why are the national guys not harping about that? Duke is ESPN's darling so they will never bad mouth them or demand answers. I know Bill Self personally and he is a stand up guy. He errs to caution if anything is remotely iffy. Yes he recruited one and dones in an attempt compete and they haven't worked out as well as he would have liked, it doesn't make him a bad guy. How is it "hard to defend this program" in the case of Billy Preston?? That is a stupid statement. KU and Self did exactly what you should do if you find out a player took improper benefits, you sit him until it is cleared up. Same with the Cliff Alexander case. As soon as it was discovered that his mother got improper benefits, they sat him. Those are cases of integrity and doing the right thing. You obviously think that a coach can control every little detail of a player and the player's family's action. That is just not a reality and cannot be done.

Dirk Medema 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Or because it's all that really needs to be said, Brett.

Dane Pratt 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm sort of with you except for the part about giving Bill his marching papers. There has been way too much smoke coming out of Lawrence and it bothers me when we have so many players who are on the cusp of eligibility. I have no doubt that recruiting is a dog eat dog business but I often ask myself if the players we are recruiting are worth the risk. The risk seems awfully high considering the penalties. Is it really worth it?

Bee Bee 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Was Self found guilty of a crime by a jury? Did I miss something?

Dirk Medema 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Just a self-appointed judge & jury or 2.

Dane Pratt 6 months, 3 weeks ago

It's possible you missed something because this has never been about Bill Self committing a crime. It's about the possibility of NCAA infractions who don't deal with judges and juries.

Creg Bohrer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

That maybe a little over the top.. I think the whole system needs to be overhauled start paying the players a small salary, change the penalties to more severe if they get caught taking money over what is allowed and get rid of the age limit for the NBA.

Jay Scott 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Brett...the same clown that supports a corrupt hag like Hillary thinks Bill Self should resign.

What kind of field day would a mental health provider have with Brett...

Brad Farha 6 months, 3 weeks ago

please, no politics. plenty to argue about without bringing politics to a sports site.

Jay Scott 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Sorry Brad. Politics is central to Brett's insanity. He used a Hillary logo as his avatar.

Freddie Garza 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I personally don't AT ALL think Bill Self should resign or be terminated. He didn't make the rules, the NCAA did. I fully believe, as anyone with a working brain does whether they admit it or not, that Coach Self fully knew what was going on under his nose.

But he's not doing anything differently than what Coach K, Izzo, Calipari or anybody else who is consistently successful does. THAT'S JUST HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED.

If you honestly think that we could have even remotely as successful a program as we do without some "extra incentives", then I have some beach front property in Wyoming that I'd love to sell you.

Coach Self is just the man under the spotlight AT THE MOMENT. Coach K himself is on record as saying that this whole episode is "not a big deal". WHY would he make that kind of statement? Well, because he's as guilty as anyone else!

All I'm doing is pointing out how ridiculous we look by pretending to be the victims somehow. Or pretending that the guys in charge of the program didn't know.

Dyrk Dugan 6 months, 3 weeks ago

It’s just like any other game you participate in “bruh;” Do you play to win? Or do you just show up to lose? The game is on; and it looks like KU has chosen to fight, and fight to win; and that’s a good sign.

[''] 6 months, 3 weeks ago

And go get it from POS Fenny as well. He screwed KU and Silvio -- he needs to pay.

Jay Scott 6 months, 3 weeks ago

You're half correct. Brett's not a KSU/MU troII....

Dane Pratt 6 months, 3 weeks ago

In court Gassnola testified KU was unaware of the payment and now we're suing him. In a criminal trial this would act as encouragement for Gassnola to reveal some dirt on KU to lighten his sentence. Wouldn't it do the same in a civil case?

Robert Robinson 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Did I miss something? You people are acting like the title of the article is, "BILL SELF wants $1 million in restitution from convicted men in college basketball corruption trial". Is "Bill Self" also the one requesting money be paid to Louisville and NC State? This is pretty much a non story really. It's not a rare for someone to request restitution after wrong doing. Gassnola testified, under oath, that KU didn't know anything. Turning around and saying he lied under oath in a trial that is over isn't going to reduce his sentence

Brian Wilson 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Probably result in Perjury charges. He just needs to keep quiet.

Tony Bandle 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The best defense is a good offense......or is it the other way around???

Stuart Corder 6 months, 3 weeks ago

So KU is suing for court costs. That’s all well and good - but what about Silvio De Sousa?

What’s the latest on his appeal to the NCAA decision? Will De Sousa - whom the NCAA acknowledged was not aware of nor benefitted from illicit payments - be able to recieve any money as restitution? If so, would that be an impermissible benefit? LOL

Dyrk Dugan 6 months, 3 weeks ago

If people are not smart enough to figure this situation out (Brett), that KU is doing the right thing in defending itself against an FBI created scandal, then we have nothing to discuss. KU HAS been doing the right things; we HAVE shut down kids from playing because of eligibility issues; we shut down kids in the current situation. This “scandal” pales in comparison of what’s happened in the past, the UNC academic fraud; and whatever set ups are happening and have happened with AAU teams. Everybody needs to take a deep breath, and not knee jerk react that KU is the most corrupt school in the country, based on changing headlines.

Brian Wilson 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Well, KU is not the most corrupt, and I have to say as a KU grad, that people from Lawrence, KU Students, as progressive as some are, are some of the nicest people having a great sense of fairness with in them, and so it is not surprising to me that our fans hold themselves and those around them to high standard and are bothered by any innuendo that KU is involved in cheating or corruption. One of the reasons why Lawrence, KS is so loved.

Barry Weiss 6 months, 3 weeks ago

This thing will probably get more ugly as we go along. I fear the time "could" come when the university "may" have to distance itself from our coach's. I hope not, I think HCBS is the best coach out there, college or pro. Its probably going to turn on all of the texts or recorded phone calls that the NCAA can get their hands on. I think they only have some at this point. The ones that have been reported all seem pretty sketchy to me. Could be taken any number of ways. It is pretty ballsy though that we are going ham on this group.

Brad Watson 6 months, 3 weeks ago

To be a fly on the wall....the conversations that must be going on......interesting times indeed

Ashwin Rao 6 months, 3 weeks ago

All these opinions from readers are coming out of nowhere and with no facts to back them. This is a multi-million dollar business, with artificial rules that make no sense. I will be surprised if any of the universities in the US will come out clean if someone audits them against the NCAA rules as it stands. I am not condoning any behavior by anyone/any organization, but people need to take a chill-pill and just let folks that know more facts try to iron this out. I am glad that the courts were brave enough to keep NCAA in their place. If NCAA has no basis to keep Silvio from playing, then they should let him play.

Blake McFarland 6 months, 2 weeks ago

You all are so funny. Bill Self will not get fired for this, as that would mean KU admits guilt, which it never will.

Everyone needs to chill on this one. The time will come when Duke and Kentucky get theirs.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.