Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Kansas Athletics monitoring charges against Adidas exec; feds have not contacted KU

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim, second from right, and FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney, Jr., right, hold a press conference to announce the arrest of four assistant basketball coaches from Arizona, Auburn, the University of Southern California and Oklahoma State on federal corruption charges, Tuesday Sept. 26, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim, second from right, and FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney, Jr., right, hold a press conference to announce the arrest of four assistant basketball coaches from Arizona, Auburn, the University of Southern California and Oklahoma State on federal corruption charges, Tuesday Sept. 26, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)


University of Kansas officials are monitoring allegations against a high-level Adidas executive but have fielded no inquiries from federal investigators about a probe into college basketball recruiting practices, KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony told the Journal-World Tuesday afternoon.

Although KU was not referenced in a Tuesday morning news conference led by acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim in New York City, which revealed more details about the investigation that produced more than 100 pages worth of findings, KU does have a long-standing sponsorship agreement with Adidas.

Last week, the KU athletic department announced the extension of its contract with Adidas, with the partnership now lasting for at least the next 14 years and including a $191 million price tag that is expected to help the athletic department as it pursues a stated goal of $350 million for facility upgrades in football, basketball, volleyball and baseball.

James Gatto, the global marketing director at Adidas, was one of the 10 men charged with using bribes to influence high-profile athletes in their choice of schools, shoe sponsors, agents and financial advisers.

In recent days, Gatto had touted the deal Adidas reached with KU on his social media pages. Marchiony, though, said Gatto “had nothing to do” with the recent negotiations between KU and Adidas.

As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, Marchiony said KU had had “no contact from the federal government” about the probe and added that KU officials had been proactive in their quest to find out more information about the situation.

“We’ve been on the phone with Adidas,” Marchiony said. "And we, along with Adidas, continue to monitor the situation.”

Along with Gatto, four of the 10 charged were assistant coaches at highly visible college basketball programs — Chuck Person of Auburn University, Emanuel Richardson of the University of Arizona, Tony Bland of the University of Southern California and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State.

Three of those four schools are affiliated with Nike and the fourth, Auburn, is an Under Armour school.

Kim said at the end of the news conference that the investigation was ongoing and many college basketball analysts across the country described what went down Tuesday as merely “the tip of the iceberg.”


Bryce Landon 5 years, 2 months ago

"Interesting" isn't the word that comes to my mind. More like "captivating" and "troubling".

John Fitzgerald 5 years, 2 months ago

I don't care what comes to your mind. Most of the stuff that does isn't logical and makes me question your intelligence and sanity.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 2 months ago

And I don't care if you question my intelligence or sanity. If I want to be psychoanalyzed, I sure as all hell wouldn't ask you to do it.

Lance Hobson 5 years, 2 months ago

I think we all are holding our breath that we don't get muddied by this.

Robert Brock 5 years, 2 months ago

The U. of Louisville is really sweating some bricks right now. Possible Death Penalty. 💀

Shannon Gustafson 5 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, they've got a REAL problem on their hands now. Being on probation for major violations and then having more major violations pop up while still on probation is certainly a serious matter.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 2 months ago

The skull emoji says it all. I wouldn't be surprised if Louisville players were already looking for a way off their sinking program.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 2 months ago

AD Tom Jurich and Coach Rick Pitino have been fired.

Tracey Graham 5 years, 2 months ago

They weren't fired. They were placed on administrative leave.

Barry Weiss 5 years, 2 months ago

This is truly a bad day for college basketball. I'm sure many have always suspected this type of stuff was going on, I just hope and pray none of it touched our program.

Thomas Green 5 years, 2 months ago

I most certainly am not an expert on the inner workings of the Department of Justice, but I would guess the major players have all been charged at this point. They did an incredible job of keeping the lid on this prior to today’s announcement. I believe the normal mode is after the original rat spilled the beans, they work to shake down as many implicated individuals as possible to find out all they could before attempting to get any indictments. It is slightly possible one or more of the players indicted tries to make a deal to help themselves and implicates someone not yet know. I’m of the opinion they already have it pretty well nailed down at this point though. I am also of the opinion that the Department of Justice does their best to make big cases like this seem bigger than they really are. They love to have the public pat them on the back and what better way to do that than to talk big. I don’t doubt this was going on, I just hope no one even remotely associated with KU other than the Adidas connection is involved.

Craig Carson 5 years, 2 months ago

I think KU is pretty safe in regards to being involved in brides an allegations

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 2 months ago

Where has the NCAA enforcement been with all this going on? How long has the UNC and Louisville situation been going on? The NCAA has a shady history of selective enforcement and willful blindness going back to the Wooden days at UCLA with Sam Gilbert. Apparently the NCAA has become so inept or corrupted they can not manage collegiate sports. I read the 100 page indictment and 'player 10' sounded like it could be someone like the Alexander family.

Brad Farha 5 years, 2 months ago

It reminds me of the famous Tarkanian quote : "the NCAA is so mad at Kentucky, it will probably slap another two years' probation on Cleveland State."

Darrel Stice 5 years, 2 months ago

An article I read wisely pointed out that the FBI has far more resources - i.e. wiretapping ability, subpoenas, etc. - to investigate these things than the NCAA has access to. While the NCAA likely knew these things were occurring, they simply didn't have the ability to prove anything. It went on to point out that the feds rarely lose cases they prosecute, so they must have an abundance of evidence against those they've indicted. I fear this is only the beginning, too. Sad day for college hoops.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 2 months ago

The NCAA has plenty of leverage to do a proper investigation. If a school, such as UNC or Louisville, is not fully cooperating, the NCAA can threaten to turn the investigation over to the DOJ. In fact, I would not be at all surprised if it were the NCAA that tipped off the Feds of this kind of illegal activities. That is my hope.

If Kansas is clean, which I hope, it would be quite an irony with Self being the President of that basketball organization. Once again, as it was with Allen, the responsibly to clean up college basketball would be in the lap of the University of Kansas.

Gerry Butler 5 years, 2 months ago

It has been said in other articles that the NCCAA lacks the time & the manpower to follow through on something as big as this as to where the FBI does

Jay Hawkinson 5 years, 2 months ago

One common thread in these cases is assistant coaches getting a cut of the action. I'm sure our program isn't squeaky clean, but one reason I'm optimistic we won't be swept up in this is that we pay our assistants enough that they wouldn't need to take a risk like this for a few thousand in extra cash.

I do worry a bit about the Josh Jackson recruitment, though. He was said to have close ties to Adidas.

Marcus Balzer 5 years, 2 months ago

The scenario that would worry me is Andrew Wiggins. Nike guy throughout high school and AAU and was assumed to be again when he went pro. Some what surprisingly he signs with KU and then lands an endorsement deal with adidas.

If you believe what ESPN is saying that is exactly what they are referring too.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 2 months ago

I don't agree. You left out the most important part – a monetary transaction funneled to get Wiggins to play at KU. I have complete faith in Self landing top level recruits without resorting to funneling funds to them or their family. Alexander was suspended immediately when it was found that his family had improperly received money from a third-party source.

Yonatan Negash 5 years, 2 months ago

I like where you're going with that but I think it's purely circumstantial.

Andrew Wiggins, committed to Kansas because the Harrison twins committed to Kentucky and they were vocal not wanting Andrew on the team.

Andrew is a different cat, I should know I live in Minneapolis and have watched many of his professional games with the Timberwolves.

Andrew being his own man, he decided on committing to Kansas and avoiding any chance of playing with the Harrison twins.

As for the shoes, I honestly don't believe it played a role in his decision to commit to Kansas. Once, Andrew turned pro, I'm sure Adidas, Nike, Under Armor as well as others approached him to sign up with them. Obviously, Adidas had the advantage.

Besides, Andrew Wiggins comes from a solid family and would not knowingly do anything stupid.

However, I do have other players in mind that could be an issue

Steve Jacob 5 years, 2 months ago

Assistant coaches are paid to get the best players or they lose jobs. So they pay players, hire prostitutes, cover up crimes, change grades, you name it, to keep jobs.

So far KU seems out of this, but not sure they can take Adidas money anymore.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 2 months ago

If Kansas is clean, which I believe will be part of the final outcome, why would we stop taking money from the program's major commercial sponsor? Three of the schools involved were sponsored by Nike. Do you expect all the other Nike schools to drop their sponsorship?

Yonatan Negash 5 years, 2 months ago

KU has approximately $2.1M in recruiting budget, that's more than enough to pull a player or two per year.

Note, KU has the highest recruiting budget in the nation. We're either using the money responsibly or it's completely miss-managed.

Brian Wilson 5 years, 2 months ago

KU does get one or two players a year.....but nothing close to what UK does. Kind of shows how hard it is even with a huge recruiting budget to recruit players when families are being paid.

Austin Lopez 5 years, 2 months ago

Wow! Talk about a bombshell being dropped....

Matt Gauntt 5 years, 2 months ago

There are certainly a lot of head-scratching moves by high school athletes and the schools that they pick. To say that it is 100% related to excellent recruiting on the part of the school is a bit naive. Schools that have less than stellar records picking up multiple 5-star recruits? Seems fishy.

Tim Orel 5 years, 2 months ago

You wouldn't be referring to Misery, would you?

Humpy Helsel 5 years, 2 months ago

There is a shock wave of anxiety running across college basketball right now. This kettle of fish has been brewing for awhile and the day of reckoning has come. This isn't the NCAA, this is the U. S. Justice Department. There are very likely a whole bunch more dominoes to fall. They have the process lined out and they are going for the pressure points telling these guys if you want to stay out of prison for a good long time, you better play ball. We know the system has been corrupt for awhile, and the chickens are coming home to roost. KU's involvement, or not, will surely surface. The University of Arizona just cancelled their media day for the new basketball season. Whew! Yikes! Any current player named will more than likely be declared ineligible, now or in the future stretching back to the day of signing. That spells forfeitures, firings, and loss of championships, etc. The NCAA was cut out of the process until now and they have to play catch up. They will be trying to save face (who us? who would have known?) or risk their precious image getting smeared in the mud. The face of college basketball will never be the same going forward if this becomes a widespread scandal which is entirely possible, if not likely. Watch for a tendency to blame the kids who are just trying to take care of themselves and their families, who have gotten sucked in by leeches that prey on their talent and their poverty. My Sunday school teachers always said "be careful who you point a finger at because there are three more pointing back at you."

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 2 months ago

Humpy – you regularly make some of the most informed posts here but I'm holding my breath that your worst-case scenario doesn't come true.

Anybody who tries to spin this in a way that blames or even partly blames the student athletes are hypocrites. I know everyone here loves KU and college basketball but we all know the system in place as far too many flaws.

Barry Weiss 5 years, 2 months ago

This is a bad deal, and they claim it is only the "tip of the iceberg". The Arizona Assistant coach that was indicted for taking I think around 20,000, some of which he gave to a recruit, was making 235,000 per year. So it makes you wonder, why risk everything for that? What scares me is that Arizona is up there in the elite level. I was hoping this was only going on at the more mid level programs and that the name of the university and head coach was enough for these elite players to come. I guess not. I'm worried. How are our Assistant coaches? I hope they are squeaky clean. We do not need this!

Robert Brock 5 years, 2 months ago

NCAA Enforcement is lousy because the NCAA does not have subpoena power. They can be stonewalled easily.

Steve Corder 5 years, 2 months ago

What is the big surprise? ....None, except how many head coaches get swept up in the net, as these assistants spill their guts.

1) One-and-Done teenagers, told since early Jr High/High School of their "specialness" 2) Multi-million dollar contracts 3) 6 & 7 figure university basketball staff salaries with accompanying pressures to "perform" 4) Insatiable donors and fans demanding greatness 5) Little if any real academic standards 6) Poor or middle class families blinded by the flash of cash or the promise thereof

The human condition...mix in greed and money and this is but one example of the product and the lengths with which people will go to grab it.

Tracey Graham 5 years, 2 months ago

I have a feeling a lot more schools are going to end up being part of this mess. Especially since this is supposedly an ongoing investigation.

None of this is a surprise. Shoe companies have been paying players to steer them to certain schools and/or to make sure they will sign with the company once they go pro, for at least 25 or 30 years. And it's only gotten more involved in the past decade or so. Now Everyone has their hand out...the players, the families, the assistant college coaches, the head college coaches, the AAU coaches, etc.

Joseph Bullock 5 years, 2 months ago

I wondered how Deandre Ayton, after KU was the only team recruiting him when he was really young, and by most accounts was pretty much 100% Kansas, then all of a sudden, picked Arizona! We will have to wait and see if there is anything to that-but Arizona is one of those schools! And about Cliff Alexander-his mom got a ‘LOAN’, that was not legal for her to get (per NCAA guidelines)- the place she got the loan was required to make it a ‘Public Record’! She obviously did not do what all of the parents of our Athletes are told to do, which is to check with the University Staff, before doing anything like that. And obviously, whoever guided her in that direction, which I think may have been someone who wanted to ultimately be Cliffs agent, was not forthcoming with her-but it’s still her fault! So let’s state facts here, and not spread rumors! I believe our Assistant Coaches are 100% clean, and have total Integrity!

John Meehan 5 years, 2 months ago

Players are going to be investigated, the one I would keep an eye on is Carlton Bragg. did not work out with self and transferred to ASU an Adidas school. There may be something with him, not at ku but possibly with ASU landing him.

Craig Carson 5 years, 2 months ago

um Myabe,,I think ASU was one of those schools that he believed he could start at..Look at Kyle Wiljer who left UK for Gonzaga..

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