Saturday, November 21, 2015

KU coach Bill Self says Cheick Diallo should be deemed eligible by NCAA … pronto

Two groups hired by KU indicate Mali native has met core coursework standards; ball remains in NCAA's court

Members of Kansas men's basketball team huddle around head coach Bill Self as he gives a talk prior to a practice, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 at Lahainaluna High School in Lahaina, Maui. Freshman Cheick Diallo did not practice as he has yet to be cleared to participate in team practices on the road by the NCAA.

Members of Kansas men's basketball team huddle around head coach Bill Self as he gives a talk prior to a practice, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 at Lahainaluna High School in Lahaina, Maui. Freshman Cheick Diallo did not practice as he has yet to be cleared to participate in team practices on the road by the NCAA.


Lahaina, Hawaii — Tired of waiting on the NCAA to “do their job,” Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self says the Jayhawks have taken the Cheick Diallo eligibility matter “into our own hands.”

To that end, Self says two groups hired by KU that include “experts with PhD’s” — have determined the 6-foot-9 freshman forward from Mali has “got plenty of core (coursework) to be eligible,” the exasperated coach said Saturday from the Westin Hotel in Maui, team headquarters for the 2015 Maui Invitational.

Self said KU submitted the findings of the two groups — one said Diallo had 15 of 16 core courses successfully completed; the other said he had 16 completed at Our Savior New American High School with courses completed in Mali putting him well over the requirement of 16 core courses — to the NCAA on Friday night, the Jayhawks expecting an answer ASAP.

“We are just real disappointed we haven’t received it (NCAA ruling) yet,” Self said. “We understand it’s a weekend, but to me a weekend is totally irrelevant due to the fact this young man has been waiting and has been put in limbo six months.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self: Enough is enough in Cheick Diallo case

KU coach Bill Self spoke to a few reporters following Saturday's practice in Maui and the main topic of conversation was the eligibility of freshman Cheick Diallo.

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“This is something if there was any partnership at all between the school and NCAA we could have worked through this,” Self added, specifically pointing out problems he has with the NCAA’s handling of this case. “It’s disappointing but hopefully he’ll be playing very soon.”

Self said the Jayhawks learned there was a “problem” with the NCAA Eligibility Center’s concern about initial eligibility of Diallo “back on Sept. 1.

“Since then we have asked in writing numerous times to respond (to request for specifics on problems they had with Diallo’s high school coursework). On Nov. 5th or 6th we were finally told detailed (information) what the issues were and it took us basically one week to get good information that they had months to get,” Self said.

That information was supplied by the two groups KU hired to look into Diallo’s case.

“If we had known ... if we were going to do their (NCAA) job for them and research all this stuff, then all we would have to know was back in early September what the problems were and we could have done this and this young man ... there never would have been a question about his eligibility at least from our standpoint,” Self said. “And based on what they have told us — because they said there’s nothing fraudulent, nothing going on that he has done wrong — it’s just the fact they didn’t believe the classes were of quality credit or quality enough. Experts with PhD’s we’ve been told now (said) that is not true.”

In fact ... “we found out there’s 10 courses (at Our Savior New American, which Diallo attended in New York) the NCAA did not count toward eligibility that these two independent review teams did count,” Self said.

Self did not name the independent groups hired by KU by name.

“One is a team that I believe covers curriculum for over 300 (school) districts,” Self said, “if I’m not mistaken Los Angeles being one of them. The other is a team of people that teaches people how to read curriculum in understanding what is design and core credit and all that stuff. We went in two different directions to make sure we were not thinking wrong in how it was presented to us. We are 100 percent confident these two entities read his stuff accurately.”

Self, who has been calm in his public statements throughout the process, admitted Saturday: “I’ve been upset the entire time.”

Even moreso lately because ... “the NCAA was given a list of 19 things 11 days ago on discrepancies or missteps or things that we really struggle with. They said they would respond to us in writing and they’ve yet to do that, so we decided to go ahead and take matters in our own hands.

“They brought up class attendance (of Diallo) which wasn’t true. They’ve brought up curriculum changes which weren’t true. They’ve brought up several things that weren’t 100 percent accurate. To say we’re frustrated that he’s not playing yet is an understatement. The NCAA received basically the same reports we received yesterday evening and we’ve requested an immediate answer. That answer has not been sent to us yet.”

By the way if the hangup concerns Diallo’s relationship with his guardian, Tidiane Drame, Self says that issue should have been addressed long ago, say last summer.

Obviously Self is hoping Diallo is cleared at any time, certainly before Monday’s 8 p.m., tip against Chaminade in Lahaina Civic Center.

“We’ve kept attorneys out of it as much as we can. We’ve kept it out of the media. We haven’t told anybody what’s going on. Here’s the bottom line. That’s it. This is it,” Self said.

In other words ... KU wants an answer — weekend or not — now.

Steamy practice: The Jayhawks practiced for 45 minutes at a Maui high school on Saturday. The building had no air conditioning system.

“Practice was spirited but we had to cut it way short because of the humidity and guys sweating. We couldn’t hang onto the ball and that had to be the primary reason we missed all our shots,” Self said with a smile, “because the balls were so wet. The floor was so slick.” KU will practice today at the Maui Civic Center which has air conditioned.

This, that: Self said freshman Lagerald Vick (scratched eye) would be able to play Monday. “He’ll wear goggles. He’s fine,” Self said. ... The Jayhawks were to attend a luau on Saturday night.

Greene update: About Brannen Greene, who has been suspended six games, Self said: “He’s still part of the team. I will never discuss what happens in the locker room or with a player publicly. We’ll look forward to him being part of the team, just not this week. He will not travel with us this week.”

Asked if this could be a learning experience for Greene, whose dad said had a debate (about minutes) with Self during and after Tuesday’s game against Michigan State, Self said, “Yeah I guess so.”


Dale Rogers 6 years, 7 months ago

Only if he's cleared by the NCAA. He has a waiver to practice and to make the trip but not to play.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

I got that Dale. I guess I should have asked: Will the NCAA clear Diallo in time to play in Maui?

Adam Collins 6 years, 7 months ago

About time we heard what's really happening. Self must be beyond frustrated to go so public. Thoughts on how the NCAA will respond?

KJ Quartermaine 6 years, 7 months ago

"Self must be beyond frustrated to go so public."

Yours truly,
Captain Obvious

Gerry Butler 6 years, 7 months ago

And here we go- - - -AGAIN. why is it people feel like they need to take some cheap shot at another poster? Would it be to much once JUST FOR ONCE to just stick with the subject at hand, and deal with what the article is about, instead of feeling the need to insult somebody- - -anybody that's on here? that's really sad. Adam just like anyone, everyone else has a right to be able to post, how they want to post without having to worry about some idiot feeling like it's their duty to insult, really? REALLY? have you graduated high school yet? that's the kind of thing a high school kid would pull. If you wanna come on make a legit comment about the article then GREAT, AWSOME but if you get on here just to see who you can insult- - -do us ALL a favor DON'T GET ON

Dale Rogers 6 years, 7 months ago

If this goes viral and gets enough exposure among national sports media then it could act as a catalyst to change the NCAA eligibility procedures, a change that is long, long overdue.

Once again, I believe if a student athlete meets the school's eligibility requirements then that athlete should be allowed to play until the NCAA deems them ineligible. At that point they would no longer be able to play but the team and the school would not be penalized for their prior playing time. Also, maybe this approach would spur the NCAA to fine tune their procedures so they could determine the ineligibles in a more timely manner.

Adam Collins 6 years, 7 months ago

My thoughts exactly. A student-athlete and a school shouldn't be penalized for the NCAA not doing its job.

Bill Corrigan 6 years, 7 months ago

Short of a favorable decision on Cheick Diallo's eligibility by the end of this weekend, perhaps KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little should contact NCAA President Mark Emmert to discuss this matter (on Monday morning, November 23rd).

Rodney Crain 6 years, 7 months ago

You can't win a fight with city hall[NCAA]. Another way to put it is there is no way to win in a battle against a bureaucracy. If you want a different outcome you are going to have to understand in depth what their issues are with each class and answer them to a level that they will be satisfied with. Or have the player test out of those classes to show he knows the information they are questioning. Unless this strategy has worked from some other school with the NCAA, in others words some precedent is in place, they are under no pressure to respond asap or with a change of response.

This is not 1 or 2 classes, this is 10. Such a dramatic difference is going to require better understanding. Maybe we know what that is and are not saying but this is going to be long uphill battle with a very low chance of success.

I get the frustration, I have it too. We need him.

I just do not think the NCAA really cares about that, they are operating under a what is a good for all is good for one policy. They rarely rush to do anything why this would be different? That does not make sense they would rush to do anything here and it certainly is not going to motivate them to rush because we found someone else who agrees with us and made it public. We appear to make a good case but getting a bureaucracy to admit that does not happen overnight if at all.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

A good analogy RC but with one major difference. It might have no effect on the Diallo case but it will in the future.

The NCAA needs member schools much more than member schools need the NCAA. Like all bureaucracies, the NCAA has become too big to make quick obvious judgments. Everything goes through this long complex procedure which is totally unnecessary.

Either the NCAA pares down the process or the member schools will at some point revolt.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 7 months ago

Marius keep in mind that the schools themselves agree to play within the rules of this governing body. This is a choice. Not much of a choice but its our decision. Its very hard to win a suit against someone you agreed to join and play within their guidelines, which in a way you helped to create as a member school. You have to show harm, damages.

Just because a player cannot play because he is not eligible but still attain classes at the school is a difficult case to me. He is still getting an education, room and board and able to practice, and workout. Is his draft position, thus his future job being effected? Maybe, They could say which job do mean, the one he may get with his degree, or the one on a court? Its gets cloudy fast.

I hate this, due to process this poor player is sitting, but he is not the first nor the last. Its hard to be a trail blazer and it will not be quick to change their built in bureaucracy.

Jay Hawkinson 6 years, 7 months ago

Well played by KU. First they got the waiver for Cheick to travel to Maui. If he's not cleared he'll be on the bench for all of our games and in the stands for many of the others. Then Self goes on this rant and they leak Zenger's letter to the NCAA. If Cheick isn't cleared before the tournament starts, the announcers will mention all these blistering criticisms during every game. Bilas is usually on the Maui crew, so even better. KU is basically threatening to turn the Maui invitational into a week long infomercial about why Cheick should be cleared.

The NCAA have into pressure on the Tacko Fall case. Hopefully KU isn't being so bold that the NCAA feels the need to take a stand to show that they can't be bullied.

Gerry Butler 6 years, 7 months ago

Agreed Jay. I think it's got to a point now where we are going to finally get a decision soon- - -real soon, it could be as soon as by tomorrow night. The longer it takes for the NCAA to drag this out, the worse they are looking, could be they just bow their necks and say nope we are not budging BUT if nothing else in the end run they are really digging a hole for themselves,alot of other schools from the power 5 conferences are finally gonna say enough is enough and break off away from the NCAA like they have talked about, then where they gonna be? The NCAA says they look after the best interest of the individual- - - REALLY? they are looking out for the best interest of Cheick? Coach Self said he has 16 core credits making him eligible just from Our Savior, little lone his other, plenty of core ready classes. Plus he received an A & a B in the summer classes he took at KU. We sent a copy of the 6 page letter that we sent to the NCAA, we also sent a copy of that to ESPN, there is gonna just be more and more pressure applied, the kid speaks 4 foreign languages fluent come on.

Bill McGovern 6 years, 7 months ago

It is rare that coach Self speaks publicly about his frustration with the NCAA, but it is good to hear. I can't imagine how Diallo must feel sitting out of games - this young man has an incredible talent and has worked his butt off to get were he is. Let the guy play!

Steve Zimmerman 6 years, 7 months ago

Indeed, it is a good step taken by our admin/coaching staff. NCAA needs to be pressurized. I wonder who can investigate NCAA dirty deeds - instead of them being always the ruler and get to decide. This is not democracy. It's almost like dictatorial - more or less. They are not always right.

Gerry Butler 6 years, 7 months ago

agree Bill, I guess ESPN has spoken with Cheick and he mentioned how frustrating, and disappointed he was, they need to get this fixed soon

Bill McGovern 6 years, 7 months ago

(where he is) had to correct it before the grammar Nazi could.

Len Shaffer 6 years, 7 months ago

Brian Bosworth got in a lot of trouble for referring to the NCAA as "National Communists Against Athletes," but truer words were never spoken ...

KJ Quartermaine 6 years, 7 months ago

And on a side-note, Tyler Self seems to always have his hand on a teammate

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

Who sits through a game only watching what happens on the bench?

Does it bring back memories of your experiences in athletics?

RJ King 6 years, 7 months ago

not really possible. KJ is still in kindergarten.

Brianna Zaleski 6 years, 7 months ago

What does it mean that Self was debating Brannen's mins w his dad during the game? Or did I read that wrong?

Jim Roth 6 years, 7 months ago

Dad said Brannen was debating with Self during and after the game. Dad wasn't debating.

Phil Leister 6 years, 7 months ago

It's weirdly written above, but it says that Brannen's dad said Brannen had a debate about playing time during and after the game. It wasn't the dad debating with Self.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

I think it was after the fact. In other words, HCBS was debating about Greene's minutes during the game with Greene's father after the game.

I hope that doesn't make things even more confusing.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the chancellor will get involved unless she is too busy scheduling mandatory diversity training for all students.

Brian Zachary 6 years, 7 months ago

Did I hear thinly veiled threats of lawsuits? Cause I heard something about "we've kept the lawyers out of it"

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 7 months ago

Even if Diallo is cleared by Monday, I hope Bilas does that game just to hear him light up the NCAA for not doing a damn thing for Diallo.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

I've grown tired of the whole 'Dick Vitale' production but give him credit also w/his FREE DIALLO comments during the Kansas/Michigan State game

Buck Bukaty 6 years, 7 months ago

KU has drawn a line in the sand for the NCAA. How apropos given their trip to the beach! Any suspicion that issuance of a travel waiver was precursor of a timely final approval is apparently unfounded. It seems the Good Guys have upped the ante from a Game of Chicken to a Game of Thrones! Score one for the Good Guys!

It would never fly given the NCAA’s commitment to Democracy (sic), but if you want to put an end to such eligibility reviews dragging out, put every case in one basket whereas no one is approved/rejected UNTIL they are all resolved, the end game being all are determined BEFORE practices commence. RCJH!!!

Jim Baker 6 years, 7 months ago

“This is something if there was any partnership at all between the school and NCAA we could have worked through this,” Self added...

A harbinger of things to come? Watch your steps carefully, NCAA!

Adam Collins 6 years, 7 months ago

According to a similar story on ESPN:

Zenger said Kansas' investment in investigating the case is "approaching six figures on all levels.'' He said the money was well spent because of the number of "serious and legitimate misrepresentations attributed to NCAA process, unfounded verbal statements and inadequate professional standards.''

It's insane that KU has to spend nearly $100,000 to do the NCAA's job for them. Also in the article:

"We still haven't been told anything definitively in any area," Self said. "We've made six visits to Our Savior, and the NCAA has made zero."

Not sure how this is an "investigation" by the NCAA...

Tony Bandle 6 years, 7 months ago

WHEW!! I finally have escaped the imprisonment of the Russian Mafia only to discover that the football team is 0-11, KU lost to Izzo [again] and Chieck is still not eligible.

I'm gone for six months and nothing has changed!

If any of you EVER get a chance to go to the Maui Tourney, grab it. It is the best!!

Dickie V chanting " free Diallo" on national television has started the ball rolling, so don't be surprised if by game time tomorrow, he becomes eligible. It will be great for ESPN ratings, of course.

By the way, how are all of you guys and gals doing?

Bill McGovern 6 years, 7 months ago

well with the football team in their current state, KU losing another Champions Classic game, and still no Diallo, I don't really want to live anymore.

Brad Farha 6 years, 7 months ago

Where have you been, and welcome back!

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 7 months ago

Welcome back, Tony. You are always a breath of fresh air.

Jaston Archie 6 years, 7 months ago

What an opportune time to criticize the NCAA. First Brannen Greene now the NCAA, Self is doing and saying anything to deflect blame away from his poor coaching. It's everyone else's fault but when will he be held accountable for his pathetic offense and poor results

Greg Ledom 6 years, 7 months ago

I guess your talking of the same coach who is working on his 12th STRAIGHT conference title, has an NC title and two final fours to his credit. You know, sometimes theres players in the mix as well and they have to do what their asked and produce. Look, I'm not saying I agree with coach on everything he does, but come on man.

Dustin Peterson 6 years, 7 months ago

You'll have to explain to me what Coach Self did or did not do to earn your disapproval.

James Smith 6 years, 7 months ago

Ok Jaston there is always those who are followers and happy with Self's results. The 11 Championships is about the Phog. Coaching is truly proven in the tournament. We get high seeds every year so the first round is an easy win and many times playing within 200 miles of home. 11 Championships and only 2 final fours. Kentucky has had been in 3 of the last 4. Like you I am not happy with the early exits and now we don't have the talent to compete with the elite teams. Self is losing his luster and not many highly ranked players want to come to Kansas. Self has to adjust or the AD is going to have to make a tough decision. KU made Self and will be hard to cut bait.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 7 months ago

We need Diallo now. No doubt about it and jokes, i guess, about having to beat out Landon and Jamari for playing time will be a moot point. A week ago we were being optimistic and thinking by the first of the year Cheick would be cleared. I hope, Self, has real information that makes our 5 star practice player an imminent game player.

"We" also have been concerned about our lack of recruiting for 2016 and why can't we get the early signers to possibly avoid the stuff that follows if we don't. So far we have PF 6'8" Mitch Lightfoot. Our needs are all over the spectrum but I have been whining about bigs to allow us to compete more successfully in the post season. According to rivals we are in the lead with 6'10" PF/C Marques Bolden and along with Houston leading with 6'9" PF Jarrett Allen. We are also listed as strongly in the mix for #1 Josh Jackson a 6'7" SG. 2 out of these 3 top 20 recruits would make our day and all 3 would be a top 5 class for sure.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

I would NOT be surprised to see Diallo coming off the bench behind Traylor for some time even if he became eligible in Maui.

Self will not be able to keep Traylor in the starting rotation for long after the criticism starts but he will stick with him as long as possible.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 7 months ago

It is reasonable to expect a non starting role for a while.

Micky Baker 6 years, 7 months ago

File a lawsuit against the NCAA for a couple of million bucks. This is outrageous that they cannot make a decision in the amount of time that the NCAA has had. It almost seems like the NCAA is trying to sabotage The University of Kansas.

Adam Collins 6 years, 7 months ago

I saw other posts about it possibly being payback for Cliff Alexander going silent at the end of last year. Not sure how much support there is for that claim, though.

Micky Baker 6 years, 7 months ago

If it turns out that it is the NCAA acting like petty whiners, then there should be a major dust up over that. I hope it doesn't come to that. The NCAA needs to clean house and grow up.

Darrel Stice 6 years, 7 months ago

I know this is off the topic of Diallo, but I hope BS has the guys drinking PLENTY of fluids. We don't need any cramps like what we've seen in the past.

Free Diallo and RCJH!!

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 7 months ago

In the grown up leagues when players are suspended they are allowed to play pending an appeal. The NCAA should let him play and set a timeline for making a decision instead of dragging their feet (or in this case their knuckles) indefinitely. If Cheick does not meet the standards then so be it, but this is not fair to him. How does he get those games back that he missed?

Kit Duncan 6 years, 7 months ago

From the article above:

"By the way if the hangup concerns Diallo’s relationship with his guardian, Tidiane Drame, Self says that issue should have been addressed long ago, say last summer."

I think Gary buried the lead.

My bet is the holdup has to do with Diallo's relationship with Drame. Drame is more of a "handler" than a guardian, and is responsible for bringing numerous basketball players into the U.S. from Mali. He of course has the parents' permission to do what he does, but questions have arisen whether money exchanges hands between "guardians" like Drame and parents of foreign students.

Add in the major shoe manufacturers sponsorship of the summer leagues these kids play in and more questions come up about who is getting paid and whether deals are being made with one-and-done players. If Diallo weren't a solid OAD I think he would have been cleared already. But since he will almost certainly go pro after this season the NCAA has to have its ducks in a row before he is cleared to play. Otherwise, the NCAA has little ability to penalize him after he has gone pro and only the school and his former teammates are left to suffer the consequences of his actions... if any rules were violated.

Bob Zielinski 6 years, 7 months ago

Hasn't the NCAA been circling around his academic record, even going back to his 6th grade year in Mali though? It seems that the NCAA's outward focus has been around academics, even in the cases of other players from the same prep school, as opposed to guardian/handler relationships.

David Kemp 6 years, 7 months ago

Marshall got a quicker ruling on changing entire eligibility rule on freshman football. Time for chancellor to call out NCAA for ruling. For something that started in 2014 the answer by now should be pretty clear.

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