Thursday, May 28, 2020

Depositions in Beaty lawsuit can be part of KU infractions case, NCAA committee chair says; decision could affect basketball case too

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long stands along the sidelines before kickoff with chancellor Douglas Girod on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long stands along the sidelines before kickoff with chancellor Douglas Girod on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.


KU has lost a ruling in its NCAA infractions case related to evidence involving its former football coach, and the ruling ultimately may play a role in the higher-stakes case against the men’s basketball program.

Depositions from University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long and two former football assistant coaches taken as part of former football coach David Beaty’s lawsuit against KU over his firing can be part of KU’s NCAA infractions case, a newly released ruling from the chair of the NCAA Committee on Infractions shows.

The April 21 ruling — obtained late Wednesday by the Journal-World — from committee chair Carol Cartwright, addressed to KU Chancellor Douglas Girod, states that relevant sworn testimony from Long and former KU assistant coaches A.J. Ricker and Garret Riley can be considered as evidence in the case surrounding KU’s alleged NCAA violations — which also includes serious allegations against the men’s basketball program.

The significant ruling also sets a precedent that may play a key role in how the allegations against the KU men’s basketball team are adjudicated, relying on a rarely used 2018 NCAA bylaw that says evidence in court cases can be used in determining infractions cases.

It also may allow a deposition from a former Adidas official who was at the center of the 2017 federal fraud case — and who is scheduled to be deposed in Beaty’s litigation — to be included in the evidence against the school.

Acting on a tip, the Journal-World on April 30 filed a Kansas Open Records Act request with KU for any communications the university or athletics department had received from the committee. After several delays, which the university attributed to the “scope of the request requiring further assessment,” the newspaper received the three-page ruling late Wednesday.

In it, Cartwright highlighted the positions of Beaty, KU and the NCAA enforcement staff itself as to whether the depositions should be included in Kansas’ case:

• Beaty and his legal team argued that the depositions give credence to his argument that Long and KU “concocted” low-level charges against him to justify not paying a $3 million buyout when Beaty was fired in November 2018. Beaty is accused of knowingly allowing more coaches than are permitted under NCAA rules to provide instruction to players.

• KU’s outside legal team argued that the depositions should not be included, as Long, Ricker and Riley were already interviewed as part of the infractions case.

• The NCAA staff argued that the depositions shouldn’t be considered as staff didn’t have the ability to be present during the questioning, Cartwright wrote.

The arguments from the three parties were not included in the materials the Journal-World received, but were described in Cartwright's ruling.

Cartwright ultimately concluded that Beaty had the right to include the deposition material since the “nature and timing of the information” could prove relevant to his defense. She also dismissed KU’s argument that the depositions weren’t relevant since the parties were already interviewed in the case.

“Whether interviews were already conducted doesn’t necessarily impact the pertinence of information in depositions,” she wrote.

Ricker's and Riley’s deposition transcripts have not yet been made public in Beaty’s case, but Long’s 400-plus-page deposition was unsealed in March. In the deposition, Beaty’s lawyers argued that Long had used different standards in evaluating alleged violations under Beaty’s watch versus those under current coach Les Miles — as well as basketball coach Bill Self.

KU Athletics has argued that the violations it self-reported under Miles were different from those committed under Beaty, as Beaty allegedly knew about the violations, and what happened under Miles’ watch was “inadvertent," the Journal-World previously reported.

Cartwright’s decision also sets a precedent that may play a key role in how the allegations against the KU men’s basketball team are adjudicated. The Journal-World previously reported that a key factor in the Committee on Infractions ruling would be whether it considers evidence from related trials.

An NCAA bylaw passed in 2018 allows evidence previously introduced in court to be included in its enforcement process and infractions decisions, as long as the facts are established by a decision or judgment and are not under appeal.

The bylaw is so new that it hasn’t yet been practically applied to an NCAA infractions case, but Cartwright’s interpretation of it could pave the way for court evidence to be used not only in KU’s case, but also in infractions cases involving North Carolina State University and the University of Memphis.

Cartwright called on that bylaw — Failure or Refusal to Participate in Interview — in her ruling, saying that the evidence could be admitted, and panels could consider that evidence even if there is no final judgement in the case. Even if KU, Beaty and the NCAA disagree on whether the depositions can be used — which they do — Cartwright said it could still be admitted as general evidence in KU’s violations case.

“Panels, however, must still assess and weigh the credibility of the information — considering the absence of the enforcement staff from the depositions — as they would any other information in the record,” the ruling reads.

The interpretation of the rule could come into play later for the men’s basketball program, as Beaty’s lawyers in the suit against KU have signaled they intend to depose former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola. Gassnola is the central figure in KU’s alleged misconduct and was at the center of the 2017 federal trial involving Adidas and pay-for-play scandals at various schools.

A KU Athletics spokesperson did not return a request for comment.

The timeline for the adjudication of KU’s infractions case is still unclear. The case has been referred to an independent panel called the Independent Accountability Resolution Process, but the council has not yet publicly stated whether it will hear the case.

The IARP has confirmed it will hear infractions cases involving programs at the University of Memphis and North Carolina State University. The decisions from the panel, unlike those from the Committee on Infractions, are final and not subject to appeal.


Spencer Goff 1 year, 6 months ago

If only we could have seen this coming! Oh wait.... Obviously only one person did not see this coming.

Len Shaffer 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't even need to read the article to know what an unmitigated disaster this is. The decision not to just pay Beaty his freakin' money could well end up being one of the worst moves in the history of KU sports. Just pathetic.

Dane Pratt 1 year, 6 months ago

Who could have predicted this? EVERYONE except our AD.

Brian Wilson 1 year, 6 months ago

Jeff Long may go down as the worst AD and worst decision KU ever made. Looks like Beatty and his attorneys are sitting pretty. KU should settle and get an agreement that leaves the NCAA standing at an empty trough...and quick.

Jeff Foster 1 year, 6 months ago

I think that ship sailed. I loved Bob Frederick, hated Perkins and felt bad for Zenger, but Long is just so self-serving and continues to make poor decisions. Just unlikable and so far proving to be disastrous, IMO.

Dane Pratt 1 year, 6 months ago

I like Zenger, he was a good AD in every area but one. He managed to hire two of the worst head football coaches in KU history. And he was a football guy. Go figure.

Creg Bohrer 1 year, 6 months ago

Man you talk about a bone headed move by not just paying Beatty. Why did KU hire long?

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 6 months ago

I think Long has done a pretty good job, but this thing is a head scratcher. It really just looks bad. We're not privvy to all the internal facts and machinations, but...well there you go.

That said, is it legal to take a deposition for one thing and use it for another? The NCAA is not a court of law, I don't know how the law applies here.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

Why did KU hire Zenger...he hired the Beaty disaster...

KU's basketball issue is whether or not Adidas is a Booster, which in court has already been proven that they were not. This could also give us an assist.

David Kelley-Wood 1 year, 6 months ago

Sickening, disgusting, embarrassing. Some misplaced pride needs to be swallowed. Pay Beatty his (expletive deleted) money! Ah, but "that would require the reversal of a Custer decision."

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

KU needs to delay...delay...delay...delay, by then the Power 5 (or 65) will leave the NCAA.

Mike Hart 1 year, 6 months ago

It amazes me how little anyone cares that we have shady recruiting practices. We got caught .. we knew the risk.. and regardless of what other Universities do... we likely have lost on this gamble. Jeff, stop saying the courts have already vindicated KU. They did not. The Townsend and Self texts were deemed inadmissible, since KU was not on trial. It was deemed irrelevant to Adidias activity.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

Show me one player that played that was paid?

Every player that ended up playing sat. If KU was going to sit every player that it paid, why even recruit them. Your logic that Adidas paid our players and we are shady because the players then sat rather than played at KU is absurd.

The fact is every single player that was paid, did not play at KU. The lone exception is SDS and he served a suspension before playing.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

Also the Townsend and Self texts were in the trial, don't make up things.

The inadmissible item was illegal wiretaps by the FBI (sound familiar), and they were inadmissible because they were partial, allowed no follow-up, and were taken out of context.

Please don't make up things to serve your purpose.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

Mike, I care a lot. And I think many others do.

Where there is smoke, there is generally fire. If this was all happening at Missouri, there’d be blood in the water on this same dboard.

We hired the wrong Chancellor. He hired the wrong AD. And both of them combined can’t push back on a dirty basketball program that would rather drag us through the mud than admit fault.

I don’t like cheaters. I don’t like enablers. I don’t like mansions built for 6-month students.

I formerly sold athletic apparel to college programs. I actually designed the KU that Mason used on the helmets. But the most impressive guy I ever met was the AD at the US Merchant Marine in NY. He said that D3 was the only real athletics at the collegiate level. No scholarships. No shoe contracts. And nobody there for any reason except for the love of playing. And no parents.

I’d be happy to see KU go D3 tomorrow. All this Drama Mamma crap is tiresome. I’d just like to go watch a good game and be proud of KU again.

Dane Pratt 1 year, 6 months ago

If we go to D3, might as well tear down AFH. It would be a colossal waste of real estate to play in a 16,300 capacity arena when a high school gym will suffice.

Brian Wilson 1 year, 6 months ago

Yeh...No on D3!

KU and it's leaders have the same issues most of our leaders today have. They are over paid, over privilidged, power hungry, and think they should be allowed to get away with everything. I hate to say it, but politics, police, or school admin, we need to create a legal system that prosecutes everyone equally. when you go to court it should be in front of a jury...not a judge...and you are either proven guilty or you are innocent. Too many people trying to be in charge these days. I don't also don't like cheaters, enablers, or people that think they are so much smarter or better than others and think they can't be replaced. People that abuse their postion like that ought ought to be fired, have all their credentials and certifications canceled and then prevented from ever having a job in that industry again. They can start from scratch and go work in some other industry.

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