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Andrew Wiggins' KU basketball gear appearing and disappearing on craigslist

The sports memorabilia business is no joke and each year millions of dollars are spent by fans and collectors who seek autographs, equipment and other memorabilia from their favorite athletes.

This certainly is nothing new to Kansas University sports fans, many of whom spend hours after basketball games waiting for their favorite players to come out and sign autographs, but what went down Wednesday may be a first.

Tuesday night I came across a post on craigslist.com that advertised “100% authentic” Andrew Wiggins practice gear for sale.

The post included five photographs of practice shorts, a practice shirt and a pair of adidas high-top shoes that the seller claimed were autographed by Wiggins, the No. 1 hoops recruit in the Class of 2013 whom KU landed back in May.

The entry said the price for the gear was negotiable and also referenced that a friend of the seller’s was one of the head managers for the KU basketball team.

When I placed a phone call to the number listed to see how the seller got the gear or if it was, in fact, legit, I talked to a young man who claimed that his buddy had posted the items for sale. Understandably, he did not give out any more information than that and said he had to go because he was at work. Within five minutes the post had been deleted and in its place was an empty screen that simply read, “This posting has been deleted by its author.”

Although this specific post was taken down, there remained another post right next to it with similar wording that offered Andrew Wiggins and Mario Chalmers’ autographed shoes. However, that post included a different phone number. I’ve been told that these types of advertisements have appeared on the site throughout the summer and began showing up shortly after Wiggins arrived in town. Big surprise.

KU associate athletic director for public affairs Jim Marchiony said KU’s team managers in all sports are told specifically not to distribute team gear to anyone other than coaches and players.

“No question about it,” Marchiony said. “They know what’s right and what’s wrong. And I have a hard time believing that one of our managers would do something like this.”

Marchiony’s main concern was finding out where the gear came from and if it was legitimate. Regardless, he said its existence as an item for sale on craigslist did not reflect poorly on Wiggins in any way. That, from where Kansas fans sit, is welcome news considering the hot water that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel finds himself in for allegedly autographing and profiting from signed helmets and a stack of photographs featuring the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.

By day’s end, Marchiony said KU officials had collected the gear from the would-be seller. Marchiony said he was confident that the signatures on the memorabilia were not penned by Wiggins in the first place. Add the entire fiasco to the list of things that get put on a university athletic department’s plate when the projected No. 1 pick in next year’s NBA Draft comes to town.

One of these days soon, Wiggins is going to be allowed to simply play basketball and that should make everything else around him irrelevant.

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Comments

justanotherfan 8 months, 1 week ago

All of these issues just keep showing that the NCAA thinking and rule book is completely backwards and ridiculous.

Texas A&M could have Manziel autograph a football and sell that football at auction for whatever amount of money someone would pay for it - probably a pretty fair amount - and the university could keep that money for themselves. There is no argument that could convince me that its fair to say Manziel (or any other high profile college athlete) should somehow not be entitled to get some portion of that profit, considering it's THEIR AUTOGRAPH that has the value.

The whole argument about getting an education is frankly ridiculous. There are hundreds of kids at these same universities that are on academic scholarships. There are absolutely NO RULES that prevent them from profiting from their skills while on campus. If you are a biology student on academic scholarship, no one begrudges you if you earn some money by doing research, or by working for a doctor's office or pharmacy or whatever. No one is clamoring for sanctions if a pre-law student gets a free lunch from a prominent attorney. No one says a thing if a business person gives an MBA student a cushy internship just because they attended their alma mater. These things happen EVERY SINGLE DAY and no one bats an eye, but for athletes it is somehow different.

The-you're-on-scholarship-at-a-prestigious-university-and-that's-a-privilege way of thinking has been the NCAA's saving grace for almost three decades now, but that way of thinking is dying. The NCAA will lose it's control over D-1 football soon, probably in less than a decade. When that happens, D-1 men's and women's basketball will follow. News flash, folks - over 90% of the NCAA's revenue is generated by men's and women's basketball (D-1). The NCAA simply cannot pay its bills if the D-1 member schools decide to break away.

Times are a-changing. As 741hawk said above, the major schools are going to break away eventually. Remember during conference realignment when the NCAA just sat on the sidelines while schools shifted all over the country. They were powerless to do anything. The presidents, ADs and conference commissioners knew that then, and everyone else recognizes it now. The SEC, Big 10, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Notre Dame will probably break away to form a new structure regulated by the conference commissioners (similar to the way the BCS was/ is, but in all sports). And when that happens, players will get paid.

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REHawk 8 months, 1 week ago

This is the kind of news which leads to investigations. If, indeed, someone clocking dollars or reduced tuition while working for Kansas Athletics actually was involved in posting these sale items, then it is time for Marchiony and Co. to rattle some cages bigtime. The last thing we need is for Andrew Wiggins to be forced to sit out a nine game suspension, a la J. Selby. Although Andrew might be completely innocent or unaware of the situation, his name is likely to be linked to the case of Johnny Manziel; and the perception by some sportsfans will turn negative in a heartbeat.

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orbiter 8 months, 1 week ago

"Before anyone brings up the video game issue, if given the option of having your likeness (not your name, but just your likeness) in a video game but you didn't get paid for it, versus not having your likeness in a game, what would you choose?"

--Ridiculous. Bragging rights as payment? Seriously? Who do you work for? EA or the NCAA? Or have you just never wanted or worked for anything?

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jhawkrulz 8 months, 1 week ago

If you buy that I've got some ocean front property in let's go with Kansas to prevent from infringing on a copyright.

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Ron Prichard 8 months, 1 week ago

Before anyone brings up the video game issue, if given the option of having your likeness (not your name, but just your likeness) in a video game but you didn't get paid for it, versus not having your likeness in a game, what would you choose? Kids think--and rightfully so--that it is cool to have a video game that is played worldwide have a character in it that represents their likeness. "So what if I'm not getting paid, I'm in a video game, bro!" Talk about bragging rights with your buddies later in life. There are very few of us on this message board that would say no to that even if we didn't get paid one cent.

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matthew2600 8 months, 1 week ago

I got a line on Jon Voight's car.

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Steve Jacob 8 months, 1 week ago

Read is the NCAA was a business, it's net growth since 1980 is 8% a year, better then McDonald's. The NCAA will soon lose in court and start paying players, and all hell will break lose.

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actorman 8 months, 1 week ago

"... each year millions of dollars are spent by fans and collectors to gather autographs, equipment and other memorable mementos from some of their favorite athletes."

Yeah, but how much is spent on memorabilia from athletes OTHER than Johnny Manziel?

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Ralster Jayhawk 8 months, 1 week ago

If he needed cash money, he would have signed with Kentucky and WorldWideWe$ (just jokin', no slam on Kentucky, just the public perceptions...)...Hey, Wiggins is a class kid, who will be signing the #1 pick contract in less than 1 year...lets hope he has the type of season that everybody hopes for him.

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Suzi Marshall 8 months, 1 week ago

I've alway felt bad for the players with regards to this sort of thing. Everybody but the players themselves can make some money. Why can't a "tip jar" be set up for the players to split up when they do those autograph sessons?

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Jim Erickson 8 months, 1 week ago

If he needs some cash for autographs, I know a guy...

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