Saturday, June 15, 2019

If KU Athletics receives allegations of recruiting violations from NCAA this summer, what happens next?

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)


If the NCAA sends allegations of major recruiting violations to the University of Kansas athletics program this summer, it may take at least a year before the case is resolved, an NCAA rules expert recently told the Journal-World.

KU basketball fans began bracing for possible allegations after NCAA official Stan Wilcox recently said the organization will deliver Notices of Allegations — the NCAA’s equivalent of indictments — to at least six college basketball programs this summer. The allegations will be for Level 1 violations, which are deemed the most serious and can include penalties such as scholarship reductions and postseason bans.

Although no programs have been named, Wilcox said two “high profile” programs would receive notices of allegations by early July. The other four programs should expect notices by the end of the summer, and the NCAA official said other cases are still in the works.

The NCAA began investigating KU and other programs after an October trial revealed corruption in college basketball recruiting. The trial also revealed coach Bill Self’s relationship with Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola, a former Adidas consultant. Gassnola 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.

While De Sousa has already served a season-long suspension for the student-athlete side of the scandal, KU Athletics could still be facing institutional sanctions.

It’s not clear if KU will be one of the six programs to receive allegations. But what happens if it does?

William H. Brooks, an Alabama attorney who has represented universities facing NCAA infractions, said the process could be a drawn-out affair.

“If they issued a notice next week, for example, you’d be hard pressed to get a hearing before the end of the year,” he said.

The NCAA process

The Notice of Allegations is a document that the NCAA will send to a university that outlines alleged violations of NCAA rules that its enforcement staff found through investigation. Brooks said the document will number each specific allegation with the level of seriousness.

Additionally, the document will include “mitigating factors,” circumstances that call for lower penalties, or “aggravating factors,” circumstances that call for harsher penalties, which help determine which penalties an institution might face if it is found to have committed the violations after the process is complete, Brooks said.

Once the NCAA issues the Notice of Allegations — which is normally not made public, unless the university makes it public or it is made public through open records requests — the university has 90 days to respond to the allegations in writing. Brooks said the university response is somewhat similar to when a person charged with a crime pleads guilty or not guilty.

“You either have to admit it, deny it and contest it, or a little bit of both,” he said of the university responses. “Then you put on some context, like an explanation as to why.”

The university can also argue certain mitigating or aggravating factors should or should not apply for each violation. Brooks said this often comes with a university self-imposing penalties, such as a self-imposed postseason ban, in hopes that the NCAA will be more lenient while it reviews its case.

Although the university has 90 days to respond, Brooks said it's not uncommon for the NCAA to give the university an extension. The response is then sent to the NCAA enforcement staff, which has 60 days to file a reply and a “statement of the case,” which outlines the overall summary of the case.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions, which is made up of attorneys and current and former university officials from across the country, will then schedule a hearing date, which gives the university and the enforcement staff a chance to make their cases. The committee will then issue a ruling, which often comes several months later, Brooks said.

When the Committee on Infractions makes its ruling, the university will for the first time see which penalties it is facing. If a university self-imposes penalties, Brooks said the university will be hoping the NCAA does not add any more penalties on top of those.

“You’re hoping they don’t add anything to it,” he said. “That’s what you’re shooting for.”

If penalties are sanctioned, the university then has the opportunity to appeal the decision and the penalties. A ruling on an appeal does not have any specific timeline, Brooks.

Brooks said he believes the cases Wilcox mentioned earlier this week won’t be resolved until sometime in 2020.

“It’ll be next year,” he said.

NCAA's public comments

Although the NCAA’s public announcement of coming allegations — which is against NCAA protocol, according to the CBS Sports report that broke the news — was “unusual,” Brooks said he didn’t have any problem with it.

Brooks said it “would be fair” to say the NCAA is likely making the statements to publicly show it is moving on a case that had become highly publicized after the FBI got involved and filed charges that eventually led to several convictions of fraud and bribery.

But not everyone is happy about the early notice.

Shortly after CBS Sports reported Wilcox’s comments, Dan Wolken, a sports columnist for USA Today, said in a tweet that he found Wilcox's statements “totally inappropriate” and “almost prejudicial.”

When asked why he thought so, Wolken said Wilcox should not be speaking with “any specificity” about current enforcement cases.

Wolken said he also thought Wilcox shouldn’t have commented on how universities could fare in a new NCAA infractions system, which sends up to five of the most serious cases to be decided by the infractions committee that will now include members outside of the NCAA.

Wilcox said the new system could be more restrictive or less restrictive, but he “wouldn't want to be the first institution to go through that process,” according to the report.

“It comes off as very unfair,” Wolken said of Wilcox’s comments. "I mean, if you want this to have any semblance of being a fair process, the No. 2 guy at the NCAA can’t be out there talking about outcomes or alluding to how hard schools are going to get hit before they are able to make their case."

Brooks said he understood Wolken’s point, but he personally did not have a problem with it because none of the universities or cases were named.

“I get it, but without being in the room I don’t really know how to take it,” he said. “If he had named schools, that would have been different.”


Brian Wilson 2 years, 4 months ago

In the first trial, Louisville and Kansas were at issue. This time around it’s South Carolina, Oklahoma State, Arizona, USC and two unnamed schools that are believed to be Creighton and TCU. But since Avenatti bloated...Oregon , Duke, UNC, an Kentucky have been added.

I would think KU's risk in this may end comparatively small to others when the Nike trial ends. And from what i understand the FBI interviewed many Nike employees. If you lie to the FBI it's a felony for perjury so......IMO, this summer is gonna be ugly.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 4 months ago

Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC have already pled guilty and Louisville is a lock. The sixth could be us or it could be NC State, South Carolina, Creighton or TCU. I do not like our odds.

Mike Hart 2 years, 4 months ago

I think you guys are forgetting about LSU.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 2 years, 4 months ago

What I don’t like about the NCAA’s comments is they seem to trying to intimidate schools with the threat of new, harsher penalties - even before the cases are heard. Even just announcing that the allegations will be coming on a relatively specific future date seems like they’re trying to create an ominous and threatening posture that will obviously be leaked and made public almost immediately. Kangaroo Court.

Jeff Coffman 2 years, 4 months ago

So the NCAA broke rules by commenting about universities. I believe that would aid in any defense.

Barry Weiss 2 years, 4 months ago

Its unfortunate that this process is so protracted. The time delay helps no one and hurts everyone. Not much for us fans to do until more information comes out. What little that has come out does not amount to a hill of beans to me. Stuff goes on everywhere. Don't ruin our sport trying to make things perfect, it won't happen.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 4 months ago

The NCAA said at least 6 with other cases in the works. If we are not one of the six we most certainly will be named later.

Spencer Goff 2 years, 4 months ago

My guess is Arizona and LSU are the "high profile" colleges. They have direct ties to their head coach involved in payments to players that actually played at their university. In our case, our knucklehead assistant was discussing a player that eventually played at an immune school, the NCAA won't touch Duke... well, at least not THAT type of touching. It would be HANDY to have that kind of relationship with a governing body. U C WUT I DID THAR!?!!

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 4 months ago

Unless something new and unusual develops, KU Athletics should be prepared to litigate adverse NCAA actions. We can't sit around to be victims of arbitrary NCAA criminal activities.

Jeff Coffman 2 years, 4 months ago

Preston received payments - Never played in a KU game, was sat when KU realized he had been paid. Guardian and payer created a lie about seeing each other to cover up payment. No penalties (never played).

De Sousa - Alleged payment by Maryland to attend, but never attended Maryland. $2300-$2500 payment made to take classes. Once this allegation was made, KU sat the player for an entire year (typically an amount is 1/3 of a season). NCAA penalized for two years, appeals committee reduced to 1 year. KU could be questioned about the payment of $2300 when he played and technically was not eligible however, the player has served the entire punishment.

Williamson - An alleged leaked FBI wiretap, where only a piece of the information was leaked. No context or knowledge was disseminated. The player received no known payments from KU to attend. Player never played for KU. Asst Coach never made an offer in the leaked context only inferred that we would need to see what we can do. (although most without context would infer a job, housing, and a cash payment beyond $100k), one could interpret that it was a lost cause and just would figure it out, maybe moving onto the next player, or see what kind of housing or assistant coaching positions would be available. Either way no payment was made and no offer was made.

What else am I missing, if this is the case, I find the only question could be De Sousa's play in his Freshman year, but everything has already been rendered for each of these cases.

David Klamm 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm with you Jeff. The conversation with KT was never verified because the judge refused to allow the wiretap to be admitted as evidence. The judge also denied the NCAA access to any wiretaps not used as evidence in any of the hearings. What we don't know is if they found anything of significance when they did their own investigation into KU. All that info would be separate from the court hearings. Certainly Jeff Long and Self would have a pretty good idea if anything was concerning. Side note - if Bill Self is worried about KT he's not showing it because KT is out recruiting kids from the 2020 and 2021 classes.
I also think it would be a risky proposition for the NCAA to declare Gassnola as a booster for KU when he had relationships with multiple NCAA schools. That's the nature of any of these guys, be it Nike or Under Armour. If an NCAA school has a contract with a major shoe company, I guarantee there is somebody that has some kind of personal relationship with the coaches of those schools and goes out of there way to get kids to schools that they have contracts with. It's the nature of any business model, otherwise it's called a charity.

Stuart Corder 2 years, 4 months ago

  • Oklahoma State
  • Auburn
  • USC
  • Arizona

^^^These schools all had assistant coaches arrested in the trial.

  • Louisville
  • N.C. State
  • TCU
  • Creighton
  • UConn
  • Maryland
  • Clemson

All had assistant coaches fired, self imposed investigations as a result of the trial.

  • LSU
  • Duke
  • UNC All either being investigated by the NCAA, or self imposed “internal reviews”.

Because Preston never played an NCAA game, and because KU played “better safe than sorry” within Silvio De Sousa, I’m not sweating a serious KU infraction. I anticipate us not ever using the 13th scholarship, either to carry it over or to sacrifice it to NCAA judgement.

LSU, Arizona, and Louisville are the schools that appear to be in the most dire situation based on publicly available information that I have come across.

UNC and Duke both had freshman phenoms directly implicated in the trial, but Nike appears to be protected.

What boggles the kind is how Calipari & U.K. have managed to remain unscathed. Calipari is to O.A.D. players what Walmart is to discount shoppers.

Craig Carson 2 years, 4 months ago

If the NCAA tries to sanction KU by saying Gassnola was a booster then KU needs to sue...the NCAA FORCED KU to classify him as a booster before they would even consider the DeSousa situation..thats entrapment....and the $2500 that was supposedly given was for academics..not a car or over should be a non factor..and keep this in mind,it took the FBI coming in with federal authority and resources to uncover all this..that's how well hidden it was...can't expect a compliance office at a university to discover this

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