Originally published November 9, 2015 at 05:06p.m., updated November 10, 2015 at 11:06a.m.

Cheick Diallo’s legal guardian hires attorney as Diallo continues battle to become eligible

Alabama-based Don Jackson explains case

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo watches from the bench during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Diallo has yet to be cleared the NCAA.

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo watches from the bench during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Diallo has yet to be cleared the NCAA.


Kansas University freshman basketball forward Cheick Diallo’s legal guardian, Tidiane Drame, has hired Alabama-based attorney Don Jackson to assist him as Diallo attempts to gain eligibility, Jackson told the Journal-World today.

A Yahoo Sports report indicated Jackson had been hired by Diallo to work on his academic eligibility case with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Yahoo, in fact, indicated the NCAA has “received 2,000 pages of homework from Diallo’s Our Savior New American high school courses, and has requested middle-school transcripts as far back as sixth grade.”

However, Jackson told the Journal-World that at this time he is “formally representing his guardian (Drame)” as the NCAA looks into Diallo’s relationship with Drame, who like Diallo is from Mali.

“Obviously our goal is for the young man to be cleared,” Jackson said, noting he could ultimately get involved in the academic side of the case.


Kansas guard Wayne Selden puts up a shot over Cheick Diallo during Late Night in the Phog, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. At right is Brannen Greene.

“There’s nothing to it at all,” he added of Diallo’s relationship with Drame. “More than one player is involved in the NCAA investigation, another man from Mali as well who is at St. John’s, attended the same high school and is going through, to some degree, the same thing at this point.”

Kassoum Yakwe, like Diallo, attended Our Savior New American in New York and has not yet been declared eligible for participation.

“Tidiane obviously has connections in Mali, assisting kids in coming to the U.S. to attend school here. He has a relationship with this young man’s family and has had a relationship a number of years,” Jackson told the J-W. “The reality of the matter is this is just an excuse to justify keeping this young man off the floor.”

Asked if he will get involved in the academic side of Diallo’s case, Jackson said: “We’ll see. Hopefully he will be cleared at some point in the not so distant future.”

As far as the NCAA Eligibility Center having yet to clear Diallo, Jackson, who has experience in these cases said: “Candidly, this time of year there’s no credible explanation. I have been involved in literally dozens of these kind of cases including several now. There’s no credible explanation the Eligibility Center has to drag an investigation that started in June and is now in November. If they had not found any justifiable basis in keeping the young man off the floor, they should leave him alone. When these investigations occur, it’s a de facto suspension to keep the young man off the floor when there’s no finding of improper conduct.”

Diallo has missed one exhibition game and coach Bill Self has said he does not expect the case to be resolved by tonight. KU plays Fort Hays State at 7 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse.

Meanwhile, Self was asked Monday if he wishes he could openly campaign publicly on Diallo’s behalf.

Announcers such as Jay Bilas have tweeted that the NCAA should get out of the initial eligibility business and let Diallo play for the Jayhawks.

“I would say that in the situation we’re in, we are in a partnership with the NCAA. That’s by their bylaws. That’s by the mission statement of the NCAA. The NCAA and member institutions are a partnership to try to work together to come out with not necessarily the answer that we want or the answer they want but the right answer. So I can’t do what some will do (campaign) because that’s not the mission of this,” Self said.

“The mission of this is to do the right thing based on the information that has been compiled. It’s frustrating. It’s beyond frustration. We haven’t commented on it, but the process we have been told is still ongoing. Whenever the process is still ongoing. ... a lot of that is on us because we obviously aren’t content with the way the process is moving.

“We’ve got to do our job as far as to create a situation in which the process moves in a more favorable direction toward Cheick, if in fact that’s possible, which we 100 percent believe it is. Yes it’s frustrating but at this point in time I don’t have to say anything publicly because that will happen. That’s going to happen. It won’t necessarily have to come from the University of Kansas or the athletic department, but it’ll happen. It can’t help but happen. At some point in time when you see a 6-foot-9-inch kid sitting with a coat and tie on at the end of the bench, every camera that we play at is going to focus and the announcers are going to talk about Cheick. That’s going to happen. That doesn’t mean we’re planting seeds. That’s a fact of the matter. Every game we play (in which he’s) not suited up that’s going to be a topic of conversation. It’s not like we have to do it. Trust me the media will be our mouthpiece without question,” Self added.


Jaston Archie 7 years ago

In other words, the NCAA denied Cheick's eligibility and KU has appealed that ruling. The NCAA is garbage, how is it that every single player has been approved, including those that went to the same special-ed high school as Diallo, but yet he hasn't been cleared. Sounds like they have a vendetta against KU

Steve Corder 7 years ago

It does seem to indicate the initial ruling was against his eligibility and that KU is appealing by submitting additional documentation before the NCAA announces.

It still amazes me that he qualified for admission to KU while not able to meet the NCAA's clearing house standards.

Eventually, someone has got to explain this.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years ago

I disagree. The Topeka Capital stated on November 2nd that there has been no ruling either way. I haven't seen anything that states he has been declared ineligible and is in the appeal process. Anything else is just speculation.

John Randall 7 years ago

Jaston – your allegations are, in several instances, simply FALSE. I guess people where I grew would call you a LIAR, as befits one who perpetrates untrue statements.

i.e. – the NCAA has not denied C.D.'s eligibility – merely obstructed their own procedures to prevent eligibility from being properly acknowledged. i.e. – not "every single player" has been approved as you claim – Others are receiving the same treatment. i.e. – "special ed high school" does not describe the institution in question (indeed any reference as any sort of "school" seems debatable). i.e. – the NCAA committee has camouflaged their vendetta pretty thoroughly. They are confident HCBS has enough character to avoid the gutter where this Eligibility Office spends so much time.

Michael Maris 7 years ago

If Cheick Diallo is ruled ineligible, this will be just another feather in the Power 5 Conferences individualized teams to vote yes (when the respective teams of each Conferences meet to vote to leave the NCAA and form an entirely new Collegiate Division with an elected Commissioner and board).

Danny Hernandez 7 years ago

The NCAA clearinghouse should be investigated!!! And why no congressperson or senator has taken them on means one thing to me, $$$. Go Roysls and Rock chalk

Marius Rowlanski 7 years ago

The NCAA Clearinghouse no longer exist although the NCAA Eligibility Center is basically the same thing. A minor issue just thought you might want that info. I agree that an independent investigation is warranted. Going back to sixth grade in Mali is such a complete overreach it defies any logical reasoning.

Bee Bee 7 years ago

Just when I think the NCAA, (National Communists Against Athletes) could not be a bigger joke, THEY PROVE ME WRONG.

Robert Brock 7 years ago

Perhaps you should ask Bill why he recruits guys with questionable transcripts.

Isn't KU a "blue blood"?

Shannon Gustafson 7 years ago

I'm not sure how much less informed you could be considering this has been covered ad nauseam. The other "blue bloods" recruited him as well, and nobody knew there were eligibility issues until well after we offered him a scholarship. Perhaps we should ask you why you don't know any of this and just assumed otherwise?

Helen Gross 7 years ago

If he had chosen NC Kentucky or Duke he would be playing now!

Joe Ross 7 years ago

Helen. Be informed. Not just opinionated.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years ago

Over 20 other universities, including Kentucky, offered him scholarships. Shannon is 100% correct. Don't understand why this recurring issue keeps repeating on every article about Diallo. Ad nauseam is being polite.

BrianandKati Robertson 7 years ago

The NCAA has become the judge, jury, and executioner for incoming freshmen and the Colleges that they are enrolled in. They claim to have the best interest of the student athlete at heart, but we all know that to be a lie. The real interest that drives the NCAA is the almighty dollar. They are making millions of dollars off the same student athletes that they can make or break. They are playing God with young men's lives with no governing body to oversee their actions. There are no repercussions on the NCAA for any wrong doings that may occur. The NCAA can pretty much do what they want, including personal vendettas against universities and coaches, which seems to be the case here at KU. Unfortunately in most cases its the student athletes that seem to be caught in the middle and get hurt the most. Throughout history any governing body that has had complete control over the institutions below them have NEVER been able to keep control because eventually the controlled institutions will rise up and take the tyrant down. I.E. (American Revolution) It is my belief that the members of the 5 major conferences will rise up against the NCAA and create there very own Collegiate Association. It sure can't come quick enough! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!!!!

Suzi Marshall 7 years ago

Maris, from above has the same conclusion.

If the Big 12 is again has a contending team and is again omitted from the college football playoffs, there will be a loud outcry. The Diallo thing will represent a multipart outrage, just not football.

Joe Ross 7 years ago

I'm sorry Coach, but if the "mission" keeps a good kid who's done all that's been asked of him while showing the effort and dedication Cheick Diallo has, then the mission needs to change.

This is wrong!

Joe Ross 7 years ago

By the way, Im convinced partially by arguments from some guys here and partially by words from Coach Self away from my earlier opinion that a ruling has NOT been made. I think it has and it came out unfavorably to Cheick Diallo. It seems we are in an appeals process.

Joe Ross 7 years ago

By the way, I just dont get why Coach wouldnt have just told us that Cheick was declared ineligible and that they are appealing the ruling. What gives? Its not like that part of it is bound to secrecy/confidentiality.

Joe Ross 7 years ago

And finally, why doesn't the University also hire attorneys to represent its own interests in having Diallo cleared? The longer this wears on, it hurts us twice. Not only do we not have Cheick playing, but the issue becomes a distraction to the rest of the team.

Clear this kid, already.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years ago

Joe, I still don't believe any decision has been made. It seems to me that if we were now in the appeals process that someone would have reported just that.

Mike Riches 7 years ago

Thank you Yahoo for some real news on this story! I don't think I did 2000 pages of homework while I was in high school! I hope this gets cleared up today. If it continues Diallo may have a legitimate case against the NCAA.

I don't even want to think about how a young man from Mali can afford to retain an attorney....

Aaron Paisley 7 years ago

I don't think I had 2000 pages of homework/projects in college despite being in a major that was mostly writing long papers.

Keith Gellar 7 years ago

As much as i hate the NCAA and how they are handling the case, do we really know what the issue at hand is? all i have heard is speculation, nothing finite. Even the whole deal with submitting 2000 pages of homework? Do we know the NCAA asked for all this. I work as an auditor and run across this issue all the time. we ask clients for documentation and they stall and do everything under the sun to ignore us and then at the last moment, just flood us with unnecessary and irrelevant documentation hoping somehow we will pass them. just because we submitted 2000 pages of homework doesn't mean he should be cleared automatically.

my personal opinion- NCAA is sticking it to us for how we handled the Cliff A situation.

RJ King 7 years ago

What part of how we handled the cliff situation would piss of the ncaa? Trying to think back to how kansas made ncaa look bad, disobeyed, disrespected, and so on. Did Self call them out? I thought we made all the right moves, not playing him, etc. Help refresh . . .

Jim Stauffer 7 years ago

I think what it would be interesting if someone would post his grades from the sixth grade on and then top it off with his ACT and High School GPA and then ask the NCAA what kind of kids they want on the college BB scene.

Suzi Marshall 7 years ago

I bet many of those 2,000 pages, which probably includes his grades, will be made public .... and make the NCAA look foolish.

Jeff Coffman 7 years ago

Who keeps homework from the 6th grade...especially when they move halfway around the world?

The NCAA probably has declared him a partial qualifier like a couple of our bigs a couple of years ago. I think the Big 12 has said we don't let partial qualifiers play. So it is kind of an out for the NCAA, we declared him is your conference that deemed him unable to play. They are probably arguing (discussing) whether the partial qualifier is the right term, before they go to the Big 12.

Suzi Marshall 7 years ago

I don't know jack about this Jackson fellow, but his website ( provides some information. I like the idea he attended UVa Law and LOVE his look as a pitcher, which is were my son played in HS.

Eliott Reeder 7 years ago

Career Highlights:

  1. Representing former McDonald's All American Mario Austin following the NCAA's declaring him ineligible. His eligibility was restored.

  2. Representing former McDonald's All American Marvin Stone in connection with NCAA amateurism investigation. His eligibility was restored.

  3. Representing former McDonald's All American Michael Williams in connection with NCAA amateurism investigation. His eligibility was restored.

Michael Maris 7 years ago

If the NCAA told Coach Self that Diallo was cleared to practice. Then, why is this clearinghouse process continuing to drag on at a snails pace?

Is it the NCAA intentent to, once the season begins, Coach Self and the Jayhawks Administration won't have nearly the amount of time to continually check in with the NCAA Office.

Then, it looks like the NCAA is working their way towards these Universities using legal counsel to arbitrate these clearinghouse issues in the future.

Make the NCAA Board start using their profits in the court systems.

Marc Frey 7 years ago

The NCAA Clearing House must also be comprised by the same group of underwriters for a mortgage company whose main job is to look for ways to deny a person's/couples application. They keep coming back and asking for more information and go back further in time until they can find something they do not like.

Duane Buscher 7 years ago

HOLY SHT CALL THE LJW EDITORS!!!! HCBS just referred to the University of Kansas as the University of Kansas. Sht, now I did it, I'm sorry LJW I meant Kansas University...Kansas University! Don't ban me or get HCBS fired, I'm sure he didn't mean it either.

Seriously though, this feels like the last straw for HCBS and the NCAA, wouldn't be surprised is he ends up in the NBA in the next few years.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years ago

Maybe HCBS will have the opportunity to coach Diallo at the next level. Diallo could have played in one of the various leagues and made a considerable amount of money but instead, stays to play for free at a university and the NCAA punishes him.

I don't get it.

Joe Joseph 7 years ago

The real crooks in all of this are the high schools that don't do their due diligence in making sure these student-athletes are qualified for NCAA athletics. Chances are, these kids had no idea they were/weren't taking/obtaining the necessary transcripts. It's not a coincidence that nearly every single case of eligibility includes some sort of private school. Shame on the administrators and counselors of those institutions.

John Fitzgerald 7 years ago

Wow ... If this is in the appeals process expect the NCAA to drag their feet. They don't like to be wrong and overruled. This should all but confirm Diallo won't be playing for at least the first part of the season, if at all. And to Joe's point, why hasn't Self cleared the air? My guess is the NCAA has threatened him because of all the negative backlash they would get. They want to drag on the appeal and hope some of the backlash dissipates. This is truly a sad story. Does anyone know if UK's guy has been cleared? Skal Labissiere (sp)?

Caden Ford 7 years ago

Skal was cleared already. So were other players from OSNA high school that played with Cheick. It's just crazy to see how all these other players who have very similar issues are perfectly fine....

Dale Rogers 7 years ago

I still think:

  1. If the student-athlete meets the university entrance requirements he should be deemed eligible until the NCAA determines he is not eligible.

  2. If he is deemed not eligible for sports per the NCAA, at that point he is off the team and there is no penalty for prior sports activity.

As it is today, the student-athlete is penalized by not getting game experience and the growth that implies, even if that student-athlete is eventually determined to be eligible. There is no reason to hurt the student-athlete while the NCAA goes through it's "process."

Luca Rossi 7 years ago

Guilty until proven innocent, the way of the NCAA.

Joe Ross 7 years ago

NCAA out of control!

"Charania...also revealed other details about Diallo's NCAA case. He said the NCAA has received 2,000 pages of documents regarding Diallo's coursework at Our Savior New American in Centereach, N.Y. He also said the NCAA has requested coursework from Diallo as far back as SIXTH grade."

Definition of "Prospective Student-Athlete" [Bylaw 13.02.12]

"A prospective student-athlete is a student who has started classes for the NINTH grade."

Looks like the NCAA has overstepped even the limits it put upon itself in the Diallo case. Doesn't seem like they'll be satisfied until they're able to search Diallo's mother's uterus for grades.

Joe Ross 7 years ago

“We’ve got to do our job as far as create a situation in which the process moves in a more favorable direction towards Cheick if in fact that’s possible,” Self said, “which we 100 percent believe it is.”

The statement is internally consistent, but why does Coach first express doubt that winning eligibility is even possible, and then express the highest confidence that it IS?

I'm confused as to what Coach feels our chances are.

Joe Ross 7 years ago

Im sure he doesnt know. But that doesnt mean he doesnt have a feeling about our chances. He's been in meetings and he's heard what the specific issues are. He knows whether or not there's been a ruling. If its gone unfavorably, he knows what must be done to put forward an appeal, and probably has been given some idea of what it takes for an appeal to be successful.

No, he doesnt know. But what does he feel our chances are?

Brett McCabe 7 years ago

I believe that the Mizzou football team should refuse to play until Diallo is declared eligible.

Joe Joseph 7 years ago

Could you imagine if there actually were a way to boycott the NCAA without penalizing a particular University? Stuff would get done at the NCAA in a hurry...

Dale Rogers 7 years ago

I would think member schools and/or conferences could band together and tell the NCAA they want this process changed or they will consider developing an alternative to the current NCAA. If you get the big five conferences speaking out together about this, something will happen.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years ago

Okay Brett - easily the funniest and most clever post of the day!

Doug Cramer 7 years ago

The NCAA needs to make public statements in front of the press as to why these athletes aren't being cleared.

Otherwise they don't look good when fans / public don't understand why the dam investigation is being drug into the ground.

I remember going through this with Josh Selby...and it really hurt his performance that year.

Michael Maris 7 years ago

I agree, the NCAA should have to face Jay Bilas and answer the questions for all of the potential student athletes collegiate career being held up by their laziness in clearing and declaring them eligible.

Jay Bilas holds a Law Degree and is a practicing North Carolina Lawyer, so he would be the appropriate individual who could legitimately ask the NCAA the questions on their procedures and practices and their ability to foul up a potential athlete's collegiate career.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years ago

But the NCAA answers to no one - which is exactly the problem.

Bill Horton 7 years ago

Diallo speaks three languages fluently, which is at the very least two more than anybody at the NCAA speaks.

Scott Proch 7 years ago

OR maybe the Jayhawk football team should refuse to play until Diallo is deemed eligible. That would cause less pain on two fronts!

Glen Miller 7 years ago

This is what happens when you go after these kids that have only been in the states for 3 years and went to 2 or 3 different High Schools. At the end of the day, I believe that the majority of the onus resides on the NCAA and the High Schools for not providing these prospective students better due diligence and better guidance to ensure that these types of things don't happen. This kid did what he was told and trusted those who were responsible for his education... just as it should be. The fact that they let him down, when that was their main purpose is disappointing. There is ABSOLUTELY ZERO reason that he shouldn't have a ruling by now other than he's been denied and KU is in scramble mode. They are saying it's ongoing, but I'm pretty sure that means we didn't like the outcome and we are doing everything we can to change it. I feel bad for Diallo most, but I also feel for our school who has already accepted him academically, our coach who can't give full attention to his team and our other players who just want their brother out on the floor with them. As fans, we get frustrated and want answers, but this is a young mans life being messed with. basketball is secondary at this point.

Kristen Downing 7 years ago

Sheesh guys, from what I'm reading this sounds like it is no longer about his education eligibility, but about the adult guardian he lived with for awhile. There is always going to be privacy issues with the NCAA and Bill Self limiting their ability to talk. Just like in the legal system until it is resolved. No conspiracy against KU. Should they just stop investigating if they find out something? Or maybe, they should just let in all KU players, no questions asked? How would you rationally improve this system? I say these lawyers need to lean on the NBA and the union to let these kids go straight to the NBA.. Let their Dleague develop their players, not the colleges.

Brett McCabe 7 years ago

Kristen, I wrote a long post the other day and then deleted it and went to cuddle with my plush unicorn, but you've inspired me.

I'd much prefer that we somehow get back to a true student-athlete model. The error is that everyone blames the NBA for this problem. The problem is that NCAA institutions and coaches don't have the gumption to adopt a simple rule: schollies count for 4 years. This change dries up the demand for OAD's, reduces the appearance that our hallowed university is simply a farm-club for the pro's, and reduces the annual drama - if only a smidgen.

Get rid of the OAD's and what would you have? Full arenas, plenty of ESPN content and large piles of cash. In fact, the only change is that everything gets better.

Now it's time for Brett's Basketball Bonus Bit: The ball should not stick.

Suzi Marshall 7 years ago

I really don't understand how you identify as a commie because almost overtime you provide details regarding bball, the NCAA ops, OAD (above), or individual responsibility, I'm in total agreement.

One thing I've considered when it comes to guys attending college for a short period is why not think of it like they are Basketball majors. When they learn job well enough to get a good job...get the job. How many years did Bill Gates attend year? However this really only applies to a few schools, i.e. Kansas, KY, UNC, Duke (wow...suppose that to be the Houston final 4!!). For the vast majority of these kids, who largely come from bad personal situations, I feel the University owes them every possibility for an education to better themselves.

Brett McCabe 7 years ago

Maybe you are a commie in your heart of hearts. Consider the possibilities...:)

Rodney Crain 7 years ago

You have outdone yourselves with this topic everyone.

Covering, and this is just a summary: paranoia, drama, conspiracy, boycotts, changing the NCAA, redefining eligibility, leaving the NCAA, hiring lawyers, suing the NCAA, social media free Diallo petition, bypassing individuals privacy rights so you do NOT get upset by the process, appeal something that has not been ruled on yet, link of this or that, comparing cases that are not similar to make a point, and on and on it goes.

Outstanding job everyone.

Thanks for the laughs.

Suzi Marshall 7 years ago

You have such a unique way of saying such thoughtful and loving comments.

Brett McCabe 7 years ago

Rodney, I've often wondered what it must feel like to be you: someone who thinks that he is the smartest person in the room when, really, he's just an a**hole.

Joe Ross 7 years ago

Unprovoked attacks fit the bill for "a**holish". Dont become the kind of person you evidently detest.

Just sayin', bruh.

John Randall 7 years ago

Didn't a famous philosopher once put forth the conjecture:

"To determine an individual's lack of character, it is sufficient to give that person a little bit of power."

Would that also apply to individual administrators in a regulatory association being granted a LOT of power?

Ashwin Rao 7 years ago

Just curious, how did NCAA end up resolving Alexander's case? I know that he is no longer in College, but should they not have at least given a final verdict?

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