Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bill Self: Lawyers fighting hard for Cheick Diallo’s eligibility

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 on Tuesday.

“It comes as no surprise to me,” KU coach Bill Self said Tuesday night, following the Jayhawks’ 95-59 exhibition win over Fort Hays State. “We were all hopeful it wouldn’t come to this, but I wouldn’t blame ‘em. If I was a parent, I’d do the same thing.

“We have representation that’s fighting for him hard,” Self added of Diallo, “but now they’ll get double representation. It could get pretty interesting.”

Interesting as in a possible lawsuit filed by Diallo against the NCAA at some point if they don’t declare him eligible?

“I think from the perspective ... I’ve been told (they’ll do) whatever it takes,” Self said, “which I hate but hopefully it won’t come to that. If it does come to that I wouldn’t be surprised if they (Diallo, Drame and Jackson) take a pretty strong stance.

“Although Cheick has representation, this is going a big step further because now it’ll be a situation in which we don’t control what is being said,” Self continued. “It’ll be someone representing them with no interest in Kansas or the NCAA. We’ll still fight for our university from that standpoint. Obviously they are not totally content the way the process or lack thereof has played out and the timing of it. They are going to fight for him.”

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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 J-W 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.

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“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.

“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, again like Diallo, 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.”

Self said he’s OK with the Jackson coming aboard. “We fought our butts off. I’m frustrated but the whole thing is the NCAA knew this was going to happen,” Self said. “You’ve got to give us something. You don’t give us something they will take matters the best way they see fit. They are going to fight for the kid.”

— See what people were saying about the game during’s live coverage

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Fort Hays State


Michael Lorraine 6 years, 9 months ago

Looks like he's going to finish a semester of college before he "graduates" from high school.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 9 months ago

2 semesters. He took summer school classes at KU as well.

Doug Cramer 6 years, 9 months ago

Self has been a very patient guy in the past when it comes to NCAA eligibility issues. The patience has ran out, and my guess is Self has likely lost all respect for them.

If the NCAA pisses off too many Bill Self's, universities will eventually want something different.

The NCAA should be serving the universities...not the other way around.

Joe Joseph 6 years, 9 months ago

Exactly. The NCAA exists only because the Universities allow it to. If enough presidents, chancellors and athletic directors wanted to do something about it they certainly could.

It's beyond time for the NCAA to face a little heat.

Kent Noble 6 years, 9 months ago

This is penny annie for the NCAA to keep this young man off the floor. If NCAA hasn't found anything by now let Diallo play basketball. Now that attorneys are involved the NCAA has the ball in there court. They can keep this tied in court for several months. If it wasn't for College Athletics the NCAA commitee wouldn't be making those high paying salaries and drawing millions of dollars off Collegiate Athletics. The NCAA needs to focus on North Carolina's bougus class room that's been going on now for 28yrs. There worried about Chieck Diallo?

Forrest Ranjer 6 years, 9 months ago

As Chris Piper shared Jay Bilas' thought, "The guy speaks three languages. Why shouldn't he be in college?"

Steve Corder 6 years, 9 months ago

I am totally at a lost to explain the lack of analysis by the media closest to the situation.

This appears to be a lot more about money and the African athlete-pipe line to US basketball programs than academic eligibility. I smell $$$ in the "relationship" mentioned.

Brian Skelly 6 years, 9 months ago

There's some kid who's going to UCF who's in a similar situation. Or at least on the surface it appears that way. I dont know if its apples to apples, but his thing has been dragging on as well. They're trying to pull transcripts and homework from elementary school on this kid. Really?

Look, I dont know what will happen. I think Self has always been willing to toe the NCAA line good or bad. But if its gotten to this point, and now the frustration has become public its obviously pretty bad. The NCAA once again seems to shoot itself in the foot with this stuff. What hasnt been know by now?

Curious to see how this pans out for all parties involved.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 9 months ago

There's an easy fix to this situation for the future. When you go to the website of a lot of these private schools, there's a page that show's all the organizations that show the accreditation of these schools. Have the NCAA accredit these schools so that when someone comes to the US or wants to go to a basketball factory prep school, they know the school they're going to is to allow them them NCAA eligibility and not get held up like the OSNA kids or the UCF kid with the 3.6 GPA that graduated from some small Christian HS.

Omari Miller 6 years, 9 months ago

Tacko Fall is the kid at UCF. He had a 3.6 GPA coming out of high school and is an engineering major at UCF, with nothing but A's and B's so far. His case and Diallo's are the two really moving the needle with sports media folks - Diallo's because it's most prominent and Fall's because how starkly unjust it seems.

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