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Originally published May 7, 2020 at 02:44p.m., updated May 7, 2020 at 04:33p.m.

NCAA response highlights ‘egregious’ conduct, ‘defiant posture’ in alleged violations by KU

The NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis is pictured, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis is pictured, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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The NCAA delivered a scathing response to the University of Kansas this week regarding alleged violations in its men’s basketball program, citing “egregious, severe” conduct and emphasizing KU’s “defiant posture” in the case.

In a 92-page report released Thursday, the NCAA enforcement staff detailed its case for severe violations tied to recruiting by the KU men’s basketball program and coach Bill Self, as well as lower-level violations allegedly committed by the KU football program under former coach David Beaty.

The violations alleged to have taken place within the men’s basketball program, the NCAA argued, are “of the kind that significantly undermine and threaten the NCAA collegiate model.” Enforcement staff also took issue with KU not conceding that any Level I violations took place, saying the university was “indifferent” to how the alleged conduct may have adversely affected schools who recruited players in line with NCAA rules.

“The institution’s lack of timely cooperation and failure to acknowledge any responsibility for the alleged Level I violations are in direct contradiction to both the spirit and charge of the Commission and to the expectations of the membership,” the NCAA’s response said.

In a statement attributed to the University of Kansas that was posted to the KU public affairs website, the school said the enforcement staff’s reply didn’t change its position that no violations occurred in the men’s basketball program. The school has acknowledged that lower-level violations took place in the football program, and it self-reported those to the NCAA.

KU said the accusations against the men's basketball program are “simply baseless and littered with false representations.”

“For the NCAA enforcement staff to allege that the University should be held responsible for these payments is a distortion of the facts and a gross misapplication of NCAA Bylaws and case precedent,” the statement said. “In addition, the enforcement staff’s assertion that KU refuses to accept responsibility is wrong. The University absolutely would accept responsibility if it believed that violations had occurred, as we have demonstrated with other self-reported infractions.”

Later Thursday, attorneys for Self issued their own statement on the NCAA’s response, saying that Self “vigorously” maintains that the allegations are “groundless.” The statement called the NCAA’s version of events a “false narrative” and said that the response “has only reinforced Coach Self’s resolve, with the public support of Chancellor (Douglas) Girod, Athletic Director Jeff Long and all of KU, to defeat these meritless and irresponsible allegations once and for all.”


Adidas as a booster

A 2018 federal court case involving the Adidas pay-for-play scandal found that former consultant T.J. Gassnola intentionally hid illicit payments to potential recruits from Self and that KU was essentially a victim of fraud.

KU has leaned heavily on that finding in its defense of the violations, saying that while the payments almost certainly took place, the school and Self can’t be held responsible for third-party actions that they didn’t know were taking place.

In its response this week, however, the NCAA took to task that argument. NCAA rules, the enforcement staff argued, make it clear that athletic departments are responsible for the actions of their boosters. What’s more, the NCAA said, case precedent has well established that shoe companies that have marketing contracts with a university are a booster of that university.

When KU responded to the Notice of Allegations on March 5, it argued that the concept of an apparel company being a booster and representative of the university’s athletic interest was “novel.”

The enforcement staff’s reply quickly dismissed that argument.

“There is nothing novel in concluding that a shoe apparel company is a representative of the institution’s athletics interests,” the response said. “Shoe apparel companies are explicitly identified in the legislated definition and there is ample case precedent involving corporate entities as boosters.”

As the Journal-World has reported, KU has previously sent out a letter to area businesses reminding them of how they can properly interact with student-athletes. In that letter, it provides a definition of a booster, which uses athletic apparel companies as an example of what constitutes an booster.


Relationship with Gassnola

In its response, NCAA enforcement staff criticized how close KU allowed Gassnola to get to the “storied basketball program” and said KU ignored “red flags” for years which should have indicated that KU’s compliance staff needed to monitor his activities.

The university, the NCAA said, “failed to control and monitor the relationship between Adidas’ representatives with its storied men’s basketball program,” even if Gassnola was acting in his own interests — as KU has argued.

“This failure led to T.J. Gassnola, a convicted criminal and then Adidas outside consultant, having unfiltered access to the men’s basketball program and allowed for Gassnola and Adidas to profoundly influence the institution’s recruitment of elite men’s basketball student-athletes,” the NCAA said.

The NCAA says Self knew in 2012 that Gassnola and his AAU basketball team had been sanctioned by the NCAA. By 2014, a compliance officer with KU learned that the sanction of Gassnola was due to Gassnola’s association as a runner — or someone who helps recruit players — for a professional sports agent.

Yet, the NCAA notes, both Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend “regularly consulted” with Gassnola on recruiting elite basketball prospects. Self and Townsend allowed Gassnola access to closed basketball practices and shoot-arounds where he was allowed to interact with student-athletes, the NCAA said, and Gassnola was also allowed into a secure area for families waiting for their student-athletes to come out of arena locker rooms.

In addition, Gassnola was given tickets to sold-out events from Self’s or KU’s allotment of tickets, the NCAA said.

Later in the document, the NCAA highlights excerpts from interviews with KU officials that compare Gassnola to a mob-like figure.

“Kansas athletics administrators who observed Gassnola between 2013 and 2017 described him as looking like ‘an old mob guy,’ having the ‘same rap sheet as Lucky Luciano,’ ‘a scumbag,’ ‘a phony want to be,’ ‘a parasite taking advantage of kids,’ an ‘entertaining bullshitting hustler’ and ‘a Tony Soprano’ look-alike,” the response said.

In its March defense against the alleged violations, KU argued that even though Gassnola represented Adidas, he was acting in his own self-interest when he made illegal payments to potential Kansas recruits — therefore, KU couldn’t have committed NCAA violations since Gassnola acted in his individual capacity.

“The evidence however, based mainly on trial testimony, fails utterly to support a conclusion that Adidas or any Adidas employees acted as representatives of the University during the period in question,” KU’s response read. “Individuals formally associated with Adidas acted in their own interests when they gave money to the family and guardians of student-athletes.”


Timeline

The response from the NCAA enforcement staff is one of the final steps in the case, which began when KU received the NCAA’s original Notice of Allegations in September.

KU issued its defense against the allegations on March 5, after the NOA was amended several times. The NCAA enforcement staff then had 60 days to respond to that defense, meaning that its deadline was on Tuesday, May 5.

KU said in a statement on its website that the NCAA replied to KU on Wednesday, May 6. The response document, though, was dated May 4, and wasn’t posted to the university’s website until Thursday. The Journal-World first requested the response via the Kansas Open Records Act on May 4 and was told KU didn’t have the document.

Now that KU has received the response from the NCAA, the next step in the process will be to schedule a hearing before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions or through the Independent Accountability Resolutions Process, which was formed in 2018 as a way to handle the more complex cases that emerged from the federal investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting.

The IARP is a five-person panel of decision-makers who have no direct ties to the NCAA. Decisions that come from the IARP are final and no appeals are granted. It is not yet known when a hearing in KU’s case will take place or which body will conduct that hearing.

All told, the allegations carry potential punishments that could keep the basketball program from the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1989 and result in a long-term suspension for Self, in addition to scholarship losses and other penalties.

Comments

Ryan Mullen 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I think the University knows it's hosed. Why else would they lower season ticket prices for this upcoming season? I hope I am wrong. The timing of lowering the ticket prices is also a red flag.

Mike Barnhart 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Ticket prices were lowered because of empty seats. Why did the best team in the country have empty seats for the first time in 30 years? Was it price gouging? 60 inch TV's? Millenials? OAD's? Or maybe the stink of scandal?

Eric TheCapn 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Why else? How about more fairness to the people in the rafters and/or tanking decline due to a deadly, global virus that thrives on social proximity.

Michael Leiker 3 weeks, 5 days ago

So when do we know what the punishment is going to be?

Brett McCabe 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Obviously Adidas acted as a booster. Obviously, Self knew what was up. Can we just get on with it? Why the charade? All those NC’s over the last ten years were worth it, weren’t they? And those city-league championships?

Eric TheCapn 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Please go find something that makes you happy other than trolling Kansas athletics.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 3 weeks, 5 days ago

The NCAA criticized KU on multiple occasions for a lack of cooperation in the basketball investigation. “While the institution cooperated in the football investigation, the enforcement staff was disappointed by the institution’s posture in the men’s basketball investigation. The institution’s lack of timely cooperation and failure to acknowledge any responsibility for the alleged Level 1 violations are in direct contradiction to both the spirit and charge of the commission and the expectations of the membership.”

KU self-reported the football violations, so yeah, they cooperated on those and did the NCAA's job for them and KU is accepting punishment for those.

I'm sure the NCAA doesn't want KU to fight its authority or assertions of basketball violations and just roll over, take their licks like most universities do, and say, "Thank you sir, may I have another." Not gonna happen, shouldn't happen.

While I understand the comment by the NCAA, "“There can be no doubt the men’s basketball allegations are egregious, severe and are of the kind that significantly undermine and threaten the NCAA Collegiate Model,” the NCAA is already in full support of undermining its current NCAA Collegiate Model, so is that really even an argument anymore?

Mike Hart 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Karen: And why do you think that KU "self-reported" level 1 allegations for the football program? They had a $3MM incentive to self-report, that's why. They have no problem going public and commenting on the Beaty situation. Basketball is the cash cow for the University... and KU has circled the wagons, with AD and Chancellor even claiming they had never even had a conversation with Townsend about his Gassnola interactions. SPARE me. Stop acting like KU is a victim of the NCAA. KU put ourselves in this position and pointing the finger at the NCAA does NOTHING to take away or to justify KU's recruiting practices. Multiple incidents over multiple years. Coincidence? Be real....

Thomas Harrison 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Will KU take this issue to court very soon to prevent horrible consequences to the basketball program?

Bryce Landon 3 weeks, 5 days ago

KU should fight the NCAA every step of the way on this! And to Thomas Harrison's point above, they should take the NCAA to court if the NCAA levies sanctions against KU for this baloney!

ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK BASKETBALL!!!!

Mike Hart 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Bryce, how do YOU know... and how do WE know this is baloney? KU won't release any of the records... won't say a word publicly about this. They will talk about football indiscretions to avoid a $3MM payout, but not a peep publicly on Townsend. Sue NCAA for what? We are in no position to know what's true.. what's not... or what truly happened. Sue the NCAA... ridiculous

Dale Rogers 3 weeks, 5 days ago

When Party A accuses Party B of wrongdoing and Party B replies that no way are they guilty, then, of course, Party A will describe Party B as not cooperating because they wouldn't admit guilt. That's essentially what is said in the part about non-cooperation.

I think it's time to take this one to court, outside of the NCAA but with the NCAA as the charged party.

It's also maybe time for the Power 5 conferences to come together to develop an alternative oversight facility, then to say goodbye to the NCAA. Many ducks, such as media contracts, need to be considered but it's time to begin the movement. The NCAA will never admit they were wrong.

Spencer Goff 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I would like Adidas to pony up too, they have to realize this is targeted at their big properties, all the while protecting Nike's valuable assets.

Greg Ledom 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Take the gloves off and go down fighting at this point!! Adrian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Randy Signor 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I think that not immediately dropping to our knees and kissing NCAA butt has annoyed them. I stand with the university; the NCAA is notoriously political and petty-minded and vengeful. We're indeed hosed.

Spencer Goff 3 weeks, 5 days ago

How dare you say you didn't do what we say you did!?!?!

Spencer Goff 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Thank God Duke self-investigated paying Zion though, I mean, how could Mark Emmert have slept at night knowing his Nike school that is paying his side salary MIGHT have paid an athlete!? And we all know, you don't pay amateurs in a billion dollar industry, its unethical...

Suzi Marshall 3 weeks, 5 days ago

This NCAA selective enforcement on such a BS affair, which is now resolved, is a joke. I'm elated KU is supporting Self. I've talked to countless KU alums and nobody seems to give a damn about this case. The only excitement I can see is 'a roll of the eyes. Self should hire Linn Wood (Nick Sandman's lawyer) sue the NCAA for defamation.

Mike Hart 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Suzi, what is "BS" about it? And if countless alums don't give a damn about this case, that's because they just want to enjoy their basketball program and its success and search for every reason to look the other way if KU has any culpability. Sickens me to see so many of "us" staunchly and blindly defend the University and the basketball program, when the University has constantly shuttered us out from knowing any details. If KU was clean on this, they would be shouting out to the world explanations for all the charges against us... shining bright spotlights on what actually happened... versus what is alleged to have happened. They would be publicly waging a battle to exonerate KU, Self, Townsend...you name it. Self should sue the NCAA for defamation. That requires at a minimum that what is being said about him is FALSE information. So if Self did nothing wrong, then you can damn sure bet he will sue for defamation. Here's my guarantee: You will never hear or see of Self filing a lawsuit against the NCAA for defamation. Never gonna happen... I find it really discouraging how many of us can't look at this objectively and instead... look to point fingers at what OTHER Universities are doing ... or what the NCAA is doing. I don't give a damn about all that. Win fairly... follow the rules. The logic of many on here... is that if someone commits murder and they have evidence... and there are others who commit murder who get away with it.. and the government is a bunch of ##$@!... then the murderer shouldn't be charged and punished. I don't CARE what the situation is with other Universities. I care about what happens at KU and with its programs. I do NOT want to win this way. I'd rather have players playing at KU because they want to, not because they or their parents/guardians were financially enticed. Disgusting...

Suzi Marshall 3 weeks, 2 days ago

If you can't see why/how it's BS, then it's way to involved to go into it in a comments section. The KU alums that I'm friends with are almost all in senior levels of business, medicine, the law, and military. The central thing we all universally feel, which I've said on this site many times, is the NCAA has run a criminal organization. They were regularly found in violation of the Sherman Anti-trust laws and never adapted. UCLA during the Wooden years was the most egregious violator of all time...yet the NCAA wouldn't touch them. Duke, likewise today. However, I hold noting against Duke and admire Coach K. The NCAA has held these kids in what could be described as the worst form of 'indenture servitude.' By denying them rights to their own 'image and likeness' is the worst kind of violation to American traditions and indeed to our Constitution, which is the Supreme Law of the Land. Kansas will BBQ the NCAA in District Court, the Appeals Court and the SCOTUS. The NCAA with their comments has slandered the name of KU and Coach Self. We should sue them and put this sick tormented dog out of the misery it producers.

Barry Weiss 3 weeks, 3 days ago

I agree with Suzi. Anyone who thinks this is not selective is not looking at Nike and their schools. I've never felt a university should be required to control all of the actions outside its own employees. players, parents, shoe company employees, its just too difficult and all of the other top programs struggle with that. If the NCAA wants to come out with some better way for all schools to control this fine, but to hammer KU it just wrong.

Scott MacWilliams 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Just did a look back at the UNC scandals that ran from 2010 to 2016, involving hundreds of athletes in multiple sports. Wow, in the end, " On August 26, 2010, the NCAA began a separate investigation of North Carolina football that involved possible academic fraud involving a tutor in the university's academic support program. The NCAA found UNC guilty of multiple infractions, including academic fraud and failure to monitor the football program.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) then completed its own investigation in October 2017, finding no violations of its rules, largely due to the fact that the NCAA does not have oversight authority for university academic programs."

So really a concern for the student-athletes? amazing hypocrisy....

Layne Pierce 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I totally agree with Suzi (as usual), this is an attempt at selective enforcement. In fact it is in addition an attempt to look tough by bludgeoning a prominent school. There is if we look at what has been published from the NCAA response, nothing new from the original charges, except for "egregious", meaning we are not rolling over and saying "I'm a cockroach, drill sergeant, I'm a cockroach."

I do believe that this is worth going to actual court over. If I believed we had really done something illegial, or in direct violation of NCAA rules, and if there was concrete evidence of such wrong doing, not innuendo, or unverifiable assumptions, then I would be the first to haul down the flag and surrender for our punishment. That is simply not the case here. The NCAA case is weak, and unproven, and makes assumptions that are not part of the stated NCAA rules. KU is only guilty by association, and if so, then all the schools with shoe company affiliations of any kind are guilty, and the entire Ncaa should be put on probation.

No, this is a matter of finding a whipping boy to make up for the relationsnhip with shoe companies, that should have been banned period by the NCAA. It was not, so you cannot single out one school to be the martyr.

I believe we should go to real court, and sue the NCAA for defamation of character, and we should start talks with other major schools to reform or replace the NCAA. This kangaroo court has got to go.

RCJH

Dane Pratt 3 weeks, 5 days ago

How can you claim this is selective enforcement when no punishment has been rendered. There are a number of other schools under investigation as well and so far no one has been penalized including KU. And you want to sue the NCAA? For what?

Len Shaffer 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I would assume no one is talking about suing yet. But it would be good to be ready to go that route if necessary,

Dirk Medema 3 weeks, 5 days ago

After seeing what happened with Silvio, it is no surprise the NCAA took this position. They’re upset over being shutdown from processing Alexander and others. There likely will be penalties but only about half the book.

Brian Skelly 3 weeks, 5 days ago

If shoe companies are boosters,   then aren't all college athletes (or at least all P5 conference) ones ineligible?

Maybe the whole point IS to attempt to eliminate the shoe companies influence -- which the NCAA has hated forever.    Problem is,  at this point, they have more influence with basketball the NCAA does.    By far.    Why do you think you see the top prospects going overseas or now to the G-League.   The NCAA matters less and less by the year.

The NBA figured the NCAA's charade years ago and simply got tired of dealing with their BS.  I remember 15-20 years ago the NCAA told the NBA they wanted the NBA to pay the freight for virtually all the NCAA's athletes development... not just the basketball teams.   Tone deafness at it's finest.     That's why since the NBA simply doesn't care about the NCAA's issues.    It's why there's never been ANY coordination between the two since.   Unlike the NFL, MLB, and NHL.

 I don't like KU's name being dragged through the mud with all this,  but it's not going to change, so they might as well fight this.   Even if it means going to court outside the usual paths.

Brianna Zaleski 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Did the NCAA just seriously accuse us of a lack of timely cooperation? Lol, that’s rich.
I seem to remember Cliff Alexander, Chieck Diallo, Billy Preston, and SDS’s cases with the NCAA, literally taking months upon months. Hell with Cliff and Preston, they just quit, they got so tired of waiting. And w SDS and Diallo, the NCAA only moved when they started to get some bad national press from the likes of Bilas, Vitale, and others.
While I seem to remember D. Ayton’s case being cleared up in a matter of about 48 hours. James Wiseman’s was decided quickly as well. I know there are plenty of others, please chime in... The NCAA has been sticking it to KU for years, and it’s time to punch the bully back. The good news is, that KU appears to be up for the challenge. I think they might figure, someone has to fight back, why not us. It’ll gain us huge respect, and certainly pave the way for some overhaul of some sort.
If we’re going to get bludgeoned w penalties anyway, we might as well go down swinging.

Mike Hart 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Your memory / recall isn't very accurate. It was Nov 16th, 2017 when the Billy Preston "car" situation was announced and he started to sit out KU games while KU conducted its own investigation. KU didn't complete their own internal review and submit their findings to the NCAA until Dec 23. That's FIVE WEEKS LATER... and it was submitted just prior to the Christmas holiday and while all Universities are on holiday break. It was Jan 18th when Preston signed a pro contract. So realistically, the NCAA wouldn't have even started to review his case until January... and that's 2 weeks before Preston announced he went pro. HARDLY months of waiting on NCAA. Here's the real question: Why did it take 5 weeks for KU to present their case/findings to the NCAA on behalf of Billy Preston? THERE... is where you should lay the blame.

Robert Brock 3 weeks, 5 days ago

The Bird of Prey (NBA) has picked over most of the meat of the long-dead NCAA carcass for a long time. The NCAA, in hoops, can never come back to life.

Jeff Coffman 3 weeks, 4 days ago

So KU doesn't allow one player that was paid to play the game once the payments were identified and for some reason they are the problem? I don't get this argument by the NCAA.

This might be the sword the NCAA dies on.

Mike Hart 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Uh... if you recall..Billy Preston texted his mother on Nov 16th as follows:

"Preston texted his mother three times, saying: “The NCAA dude just came to my floor. He said something about my car and how it’s bought in FL and all that. Text me back!” Player responded in a series of four messages: “Tell him you don’t know where it was bought. Your mom and nana handled that. You don’t know. IDC what they say to you.” The next four words were each in separate texts for emphasis: “YOU. DONT. KNOW. KNOW.” “GOT YOU,” Preston responded. Player replied once more: “If they ask you about a person say.. ‘I don’t know’ ... ‘I would have to see their face.’”

So you see... the NCAA was already snooping on Nov 16th. It was then the very next day - Nov 17th... where KU announces that Preston is sitting out the game due to the financial picture surrounding the car. So it isn't KU being proactive and sitting him out on their own. The NCAA was already involved and snooping. And this is AFTER all the payments to his mother Nicole Player... so KU knew this was a can they did not want opened. That's probably why it took from 5 WEEKS to "self-investigate" and present their findings to the NCAA.

Joe Black 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Mike, Are you really that dumb or are you just trying to be argumentative? Was it the NCAA or KU who discovered the issue? Who cares, the main point is: as soon as a problem was discovered they sat Preston and he never played a minute of a game at KU. No violation, no problem and certainly no penalty. End of story on Preston.

Mike Hart 3 weeks, 3 days ago

No, you’re the idiot: Read again please:

“ "Preston texted his mother three times, saying: “The NCAA dude just came to my floor. He said something about my car and how it’s bought in FL and all that.”

Mallory Briggans 3 weeks, 4 days ago

If part of the investigation was the recruitment of Zion Williamson ....who said he needed money in his pocket to play at Kansas ......but chooses Duke a Nike school and goes pro and chooses Jordan Brand a Nike spinoff .......but Duke self investigates allegations and found nothing stinks to high heaven ... Preston never played .....Silvio lost a year but was cleared.......Ayton who said Kansas was the only school that really recruited him magically signs with Arizona ...not to mention Miller getting caught on tape about playing Ayton .......where was the benefit for Kansas .The landscape for college basketball will be changing ...with the G league now the OAD going away the " dash for cash " will be more evident . But what we will end up with are good players who want the college experience ....who actually want to win and proudly represent their chosen school and Im good with that .

Jeff Coffman 3 weeks, 4 days ago

LJW...highlights the un-auditable terms used in the report on its headline. Egregious and defiant, both those are subjective and LJW is showing a bias of reporting by only highlighting those terms.

Layne Pierce 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Look, it is clear that the NCAA wants to hit us and hit us big. So we need to come right back at them. No organization should be permitted to be arbitrary in its punishments. The NCAA treats Duke and North Carolina and Kentucky with one brush, KU with another.

It is clear from this that the NCAA is out of control in its rules and its enforcement. There answer for their short-comings is to penalize the hell out of KU, and maybe Arizona.

If the NCAA should be worth anything it should be transparent, judicial process. No it is not a court, but when it comes to false accusations, innuendo, heresay, and arbitrary punishment, we have to insist that it act like one.

RCJH

Jackson Coleman 3 weeks, 4 days ago

KU needs to take this to court. The NCAA statement has a tone that's emotional and whiney, not substantive. Scare tactics get their judgment in court, and this one looks like a loser.

Greg Bowles 3 weeks, 4 days ago

This is the biggest FUBR in NCAA history! For some reason they like picking on Kansas and not any other blue blood program. I would be the first to say, if these accusations are true, and they can prove them with undeniable evidence, then Kansas must face the music. But, there are too many inconsistencies in the NCAA's investigation to determine guilt. If sanctions are handed down, I would hope the university would tie them up in court, and make fools out of them. We already know they are!

Armen Kurdian 3 weeks, 4 days ago

If I remember right, the NCAA compelled KU to declare Gassnola a booster regarding DeSouza's case; they would not even open his appeal until KU did that and KU was told it was a 'mere formality.'

This absolutely has the smell of some overzealous attorney for the NCAA trying to make a name for him or herself in pressing forward with a prosecution they know is weak at best. By trying to look aggressive, they hope to scare KU into submission.

I don't remember in this school's history, or any other for that matter where a school has put its foot down and called BS because usually the evidence is pretty solid against a school.

NCAA will hand down punishment, KU will go to court, and KU will win. A judge is going to look at this and say how the heck can you hold a school responsible for the actions of an independent third party when you even acknowledge the fact the school had no idea these actions were being taken?

Mike Hart 3 weeks, 3 days ago

That's just it. The school DID have every idea (at least Self and Townsend") as to what Adidas was doing. They (Adidas) weren't an "independent" 3rd party. They had a LUCRATIVE contract with KU Athletics... and the texts from Self and Townsend are at a MINIMUM... circumstantially damning. Really strange how things like this (preston, Diallo, Josh Jackson, DeSousa, etc).... just happen by "bad luck" to KU.

Brad Avery 3 weeks, 4 days ago

An excellent, objective analysis of the concept of sneaker company as boosters is offered in the Athletic. https://theathletic.com/1799201/2020/05/07/what-happens-if-the-ncaa-succeeds-in-labeling-sneaker-companies-as-boosters/

KU is not the only school who has used Adidas representatives to help recruit.

Stuart Corder 3 weeks, 4 days ago

The NCAA is absolutely right when they claim that there is precedence regarding this.

NCAA vs. Oklahoma Board of Regents, 1984.

The Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA, claiming the NCAA’s rules were a restraint of trade. I’d say multi-million dollar sponsorship deals certainly have something to do with “trade”, although I’ll admit that I am no expert.

https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/468/85/

Steve Ramsey 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Seems to me there are two issues. One, the technical argument with the NCAA, whether the shoe guys are or are not to be considered boosters. Two, the court of public opinion, in which image is everything. There still may be room for compromise with the NCAA on the former, as it is in no one's best interest financially or otherwise to completely hammer KU hoops, but, with each passing press release, I'm guessing the room for compromise gets smaller and smaller. As to the latter issue, the court of public opinion, it doesn't look real good and for most people out there? I'm afraid there's going to be a more or less permanent asterisk by everything Kansas. Just my opinion.

Barry Weiss 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Given the the "real" court case turned in KU's favor, I'd bet on KU prevailing in this. The NCAA appears to be relying on how this appears, but the court case was decided on court testimony. This matter really needs to be in the appropriate court of jurisdiction after the NCAA process is complete.

Layne Pierce 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Given that the NCAA needs a sacrificial victim, just how does a school defend itself in the current NCAA system? There is no smoking gun in this case, only a stink bomb. Townsend looks bad on the tape, but primarily if you already have your mind made up. There is nothing in what I have seen that is clear and definitive. The NCAA came out stinking with the trial involving Adidas, and somebody has to pay for that, so the NCAA image can be restored.

How can KU, as was determined at the trial, be both a cheat and a victim at the same time?

This whole concept of you did not know, the kids had snuck into your liquor cabinet, while you were out of town, but you should have, and therefore you are guilty, is completely bogus, and unamerican.

The NCAA is supposed to prevent cheating in College Athletics, as specifically defined in its bylaws. It is not supposed to search for scapegoats for its mediocre or poorly established policies. If KU is guilty of something, then every school with a shoe contract is guilty of the same, and every school should be put on probation, until they get NCAA approval of any contracts.

This is like the death penalty, where is the room for compromise?

Stuart Corder 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Adidas is an apparel company within an industry that exists outside of NCAA control.

It hosts AAU tournaments, various events (camps, meet & greets, etc.), and it markets itself on social media...all things the University of Kansas and the NCAA itself does. The difference is that Adidas, KU, and NCAA each advertise for themselves. Nike, Under Armor, Russel, et. al. all do the same thing. Sometimes, those industries intertwine and partnerships and sponsorships are formed.

Any Adidas payments made were not made on the behalf of KU, but on the behalf of Adidas. That’s certainly not the action of a “booster”.

Make no mistake - this is all about NCAA losing control over their universities, in the very same way that professional sport teams have lost leverage over pro athletes because of sponsorship deals.

Bottom line - this is the United States of America. I was under the impression one’s talent and work ethic is supposed to be rewarded, rather than stifled and controlled.

...that’s what socialism and fascism leads to because it is required to ensure equity of standards. The KU men’s basketball program is literally the birthplace of the sport, so it’s fitting that the KU men’s program will be “hero” to young basketball players of future generations when they are considering where to commit. ;) There is a reason KU and Bill Self are confidently defiant.

Layne Pierce 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Good points Stuart. It seems that rather than deal in a realistic manner with the problem of shoe companies, the NCAA wants to make a sacrificial lamb out of KU, so that it can claim some kind of false victory and retribution against the companies that they cannot control.

The fact is the NCAAA needs to meet with the shoe companies and workout an agreement of some kind that would bind everyone to the same playing field. Then and only then should schools be punished, and or shoe companies banished from the college sports scene.

Obviously KU is not a very good cheater, because routinely we lose recruits to other schools. Are there shoe companies paying more, or could it be that different young men are looking for different things when they choose a school.

I know this is too deep for NCAA to consider, but anyway...

RCJH

Jackson Coleman 3 weeks, 2 days ago

"Egregious" and "defiant behavior" sound like an offended prom queen with hurt feelings. Or more to the point, an aging autocrat with a weak argument who's trying for sympathy. Time to give the NCAA the coup de gras in court.

Matt Stone 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Well it should get real interesting now that Zions agents acknowledged him getting benefits at Duke! Bout damn time! Duke better get some damn bad press and sanctions!

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2891051-agent-gina-ford-zion-williamson-got-illegal-benefits-from-duke-nike-adidas?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_medium=referral

Dane Pratt 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Come on Matt, Duke did their own internal investigation and determined there was nothing and that's good enough for the NCAA. They're squeaky clean. Don't believe me, ask Coach K.

If we go down, Duke sure as hell better go down too.

Stuart Corder 3 weeks, 1 day ago

The NCAA is “PETA”.

Duke/UNC are “Carol Baskin”

KU & other blue bloods are “Joe Exotic”.

Layne Pierce 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Interesting thing is to see how it all comes down, did Adidas or Nike pay Williamson, and did Coach Mikey know about it, or is this just another example of an out of control situation, that the NCAA has not really dealt with, and the schools, are caught in the middle. If someone encourages a student to go to Wichita State is that a recruiting violation. Just because they are a Wichita State fan, no. What if they give that person $5000 to sign with the Shockers, and Wichita State does not know anything about it. And what if that person is a shoe salesman, actually an athletic shoe salesman, and Wichita State does not know about it. The salesman wants WSU to do well, because they wear their shoes. So he encourages said athlete to go there.

It is all so sweet that right now you cannot blame the universities, unless you can show a direct clear cut quid pro quo, then its a different ball game.

RCJH

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