Originally published April 10, 2018 at 09:25p.m., updated April 10, 2018 at 10:25p.m.

Bill Self responds to allegations in federal indictment regarding illegal payments

Kansas head coach Bill Self takes questions from media members about recent updates involving Kansas in the college basketball bribery case following Kansas basketball banquet on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Lawrence.

Kansas head coach Bill Self takes questions from media members about recent updates involving Kansas in the college basketball bribery case following Kansas basketball banquet on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Lawrence.


It was a night usually reserved for celebrating another recently completed Kansas basketball season, one that comes around every year and is often one of the highlights of the season in many ways for so many Kansas fans and even the KU coaches and players.

But Tuesday's postseason banquet, which took place at the DoubleTree Hotel and featured more than 620 people packed into a ballroom dotted with 59 tables, played out with a bit of a somber tone, as, just a couple of hours before the banquet began, the KU program officially became tied to the ongoing FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.

Sure, Kansas coach Bill Self delivered when he was on stage, cracking one-liners, ribbing players and coaches and sharing fond memories of a season that began with an exhibition victory over bitter rival Missouri and ended at the Final Four. But when the banquet was finished and the reality of what Kansas is facing returned to the forefront of his thoughts, Self spoke with a measured tone about a federal indictment, filed Tuesday, that alleged that the families or guardians of two KU basketball players were illegally paid by a shoe company executive during their recruitment.

“I haven't read the entire information or whatnot; I've seen parts of it,” Self said. “It came out right before the banquet so I haven't had a chance to really study it. What I do understand is that the University of Kansas was listed (and) there was some wrongdoing that occurred that was affiliated with Kansas. I did not see anywhere, nor do I believe that we were thought of to be anything other than a victim in the situation.

“I'll reserve comment further, in details, because I've been told that that's (what) I need to do, and let the university speak to specific matters. As far as what I know and what I've seen, it's disappointing, certainly. It took away from what was a really nice evening tonight, from a thoughts standpoint, but it doesn't and it shouldn't take away from us feeling good about what's going on within our program.”

Asked if he had discussed the indictment with any of his players, past or present, Self pointed out the timing of the news breaking about KU's involvement.

“This just came out at 5:30 or 5 o'clock today,” he said. “So, no, no, no. Nobody's talked to me about this at all. Nobody.”

While it remains to be seen whether KU's involvement goes beyond the families of two players, who were not named, and what might come as a result of it, Self maintained a strong stance that he did not believe the KU program had done anything wrong.

“No, I do not. I do not,” Self said when asked if this could be “the tip of the ice berg” for allegations against KU. “Then again, I'll be honest, I haven't seen exactly what was written and I don't know all the details about it. But I do know that that would not be part of the role in which we would play at all. I'll look forward to hearing more about it. When you say tip of the iceberg, tip of the iceberg in college athletics? I don't know that this is the tip. I think the tip was probably back in September. But I do think this adds to it, without question. I'll just have to wait and see how it plays out because I don't know anything more than what you guys do.”

By some measurements, KU has the largest apparel deal in college athletics with Adidas, the company for which defendant James Gatto serves as an executive. Self was asked about KU's connections to Adidas.

“You have an apparel company and we are obviously a big player with them,” he said. “That's not saying anything positive or negative. Those are facts. Of all the schools that are out there affiliated with apparel companies, we would be one of Adidas' biggest schools. So, yeah, there's some unknowns there that obviously would be a concern to anybody that is involved in the sport right now. But I'm not to the point where I feel like there's been wrongdoing on behalf of anyone associated with us.”

As for the banquet itself, which featured a highlight video of KU's run to its first Final Four since 2012 and third under Self in 15 seasons, the adoring crowd and proud players ran through all of the same, time-honored traditions that have been a huge part of the banquet for years, including Self thanking everyone who made KU's season possible — from support staff and administrators to players and parents — post-banquet photographs and autographs and the handing out of the Danny Manning Mr. Jayhawk Award, which is given annually to the KU basketball player who epitomizes, in every way, what it means to be a Kansas basketball player, on and off the court.

“I'm not a big believer in individual honors at all,” Self began. “But it's very, very easy to say who should win this award, and it was easy for me, without question. They came in together, they're going to go out together. There's no way you can have one without the other. Devonte' Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk.”

KU's senior backcourt duo and noted best friends who have been mentioned in the same breath throughout their KU careers as often as peanut butter and jelly or rock and chalk, then spoke briefly at the podium, thanking Self for the honor and reminding everyone what their time at KU meant to each of them.

“It's been an amazing four years,” Graham said, after, fittingly, giving Mykhailiuk trouble for being “scared to speak up here.” “I loved every day here and I appreciate the award, coach, best coach in the nation. He brings the best out of all of us.”

Added Mykhailiuk: “It's been a blast to be here four years and be a part of this team and this program. Rock Chalk.”

With that, Self returned to the microphone to officially close the chapter that was the 2017-18 Kansas basketball season.

“These guys have done good,” he said. “But it ain't good enough. We started working out (for next season) yesterday and we're going to start grinding here pretty soon and we certainly have recruited well and have some really, really good players coming in here that certainly can take the place of our significant losses right here. We're excited about the future and hope you are as well.”


Danny Hernandez 4 years, 7 months ago

I wonder what the mood was at the banquet? it had to have had an effect. Bummer big time.

Andy Godwin 4 years, 7 months ago

Really very little. Most people attending were not aware of the news and of course nothing was mentioned during the evening. A 30 minute video recap of the season and Self's witty summary of the team and their season were the highlights. Only after Self ended the evening with the entire team on the stage after awarding both Devonte and Svi the Danny Manning award, did it become clear Self was not pleased. He had to push his way through the crowd who were getting pictures and autographs of players, to get to the side of the room so as to accommodate the media herd. Silvio seemed unaware/concerned of any issues and was very pleasant talking and taking pictures with fans after the event.

[''] 4 years, 7 months ago

Yeah -- nobody at the event had a cellphone and knew anything.....

Doug Aitken 4 years, 7 months ago

Timing of the release of this information to KU. . .very suspect.

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 7 months ago

Doug I am pretty sure the tournament had something to do with it. If you remember the FBI findings were first made public just before the tournament when the NCCA dismissed any information probably because it would have impacted the power teams in the tourney e.g. Arizona Michigan State and Kansas I'm sure to there was some discussion on when to release the findings.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 7 months ago

I must have missed that. Could you give me some links showing that the NCAA dismissed information?

Jeff Foster 4 years, 7 months ago

Alleged and victim...two key words. So if they have proof a parent/guardian accepted money, why is everything allegations at this point? Shouldn't there be charges filed?

Also, it's interesting that KU is a 'victim' here. That will get lost in all this and the term only sticks if no coaches or staff is tied to knowing about it or orchestrating it. If nobody gets proven to be tied to it, does the university sue Adidas for defamation, or fraud or whatever else? Or is it an NCAA thing? What about the quote about Under Armor having paid money to the recruit (DeSousa fam) at Maryland and Adidas having to match it to get them paid back/out of it? Why is Maryland not named, there's another Angolan player on that team. Lots of things still in the wind. God I hope it doesn't get worse for KU, sucks that it'll be bad for college hoops in general, but I don't want it to run any deeper in Lawrence.

Robert Brown 4 years, 7 months ago

The only place that refers to KU as a victim is the KU press release.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 7 months ago

Did you read the article or not? It clearly states that parents and guardians have been indicted by the FBI. You also need to understand that there are several investigations ongoing. Cases where university personnel has been involved, cases in which the universities have been deceived and others like the one going on in Louisville.

I can tell you also that this isn't an NCAA thing despite their complete incompetence. This investigation has been driven by the FBI. Let's not forget that De Sousa had to sit out while the NCAA investigated and ultimately cleared him to play. They were just as duped as was KU. I'm hoping Silvio was not aware but I find that hard to believe.

And lastly, it's Silvio De Sousa, not DeSousa. I don't give a crap about grammar but shouldn't we at least know how to spell the players' name? Angola's official language is Portuguese. 3 years of seeing Lageralds last name spelled LaGerald is enough.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 7 months ago

I reread the charging document and did not see where the parents were indicted. Not saying they should not be, but I just did not see it.

Pius Waldman 4 years, 7 months ago

In fairness guardians getting benefits shouldn't have players disqualified. I see no problem for De Sousa to be eligible. In fact that isn't even a crime. Relax folks.

Joe Ross 4 years, 7 months ago

Judging from the Derrick Rose situation which--judging by the standards of this case, the 2008 Calipari-coached Memphis team would have also been a "victim"--Kansas could still have its Final Four appearance vacated by the NCAA, just as Memphis did with Rose. This, if De Sousa (or his family) is a player found at fault in accepting impermissible benefits.


David Robinett 4 years, 7 months ago

Somebody help me out here. I know it’s an NCAA violation, but what is it about these payments that is illegal exactly?

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 7 months ago

I think that it has to do with the scholarship contract at schools that receive so much funding from public sources. Essentially when the students enter into a contract for a scholarship they are agreeing that they qualify for the scholarship because they have not violated their amateur status. So in theory is the students and/or their families who are guilty of scholarship fraud, however these characters, Gaddo, et al, are engaging in a conspiracy to benefit themselves by the act of scholarship fraud in order to benefit Adidas.

Titus Canby 4 years, 7 months ago

My understanding from the first article is the same. The "student athletes" sign contracts saying that they're amateurs. So the illegality is signing a fraudulent contract by the student, and aiding in the fraud by the shoe company guy.

While I agree that it's wrong and should be punished, doesn't the FBI have bigger fish to fry?

David Robinett 4 years, 7 months ago

Thanks Jonathan. And I guess it is a "federal" crime if the schools get ANY funding at the federal level?

David Robinett 4 years, 7 months ago

I guess it could also involve tax evasion of the recipients. And accounting mischaracterization by Adidas.

James Mathews 4 years, 7 months ago

It appears we will have to wait out the results, providing of course, no one had any knowledge of it taking place “ cash behind the back” The players knew it. Some of those payments are huge and the IRS can get involved, tax invasion etc... Ultimately the University takes the hit Whether it had any knowledge or not. I find it hard to believe that coaches would risk careers over money. Self, for example is one of the higher paid coaches in basketball. I don’t see him getting involved, he’s just not that type of guy. Pitino, never had a doubt. The University should drop adidas and sue them into oblivion..... This angers me to no end

Len Shaffer 4 years, 7 months ago

Does "tax invasion" mean a bunch of CPAs invade a country? Just wondering ...

Barry Weiss 4 years, 7 months ago

lol...I about spit out my smoothie all over my computer...good one!

[''] 4 years, 7 months ago

It sure would be nice to have an athletic director who could stand strong and take some of the heat off of Bill Self. Never mind.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 7 months ago

I guess I am not sure why everyone is puzzling about this. Kansas used an ineligible player......period!!

The last half of the season victories are GONE!! The 14th Conference title is GONE!! The Sweet Sixteen, the Regional Title, the Final Four Appearance are GONE!!! Kansas will be listed forever along with UMASS, Memphis, and Louisville among others as disgraced programs!!!

Is it fair? HELL NO!! Just as KU didn't use Billy Preston for fear of the possibility of NCAA violations, the same criteria applies to Silvio, whether KU knew anything or not.

For all of us life long Jayhawks this is heart breaking news and it's only going to get worse before it gets better. DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!!!!!!!

I am sure most of you won't accept this and I don't blame you....but it's coming.

Bill Lamson 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm guessing that many people assumed that the reason the Preston thing too SOOO long, and that he was held out of games, is that KU found out that he either took money and/or the car...and Self knew he was never going to be cleared this year. So I have to assume that if they had any idea that Silvio could have been similarly compromised, they would have never let him play either. So that kind of gives me a little bit of relief as to the really big question of whether or not Self knew or had anything to do with this. I HOPE I'm right about that....

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 7 months ago

Not that I disagree that we should terminate our deal with Adidas, but who should we go to for a new apparel contract?

Squeaky clean Nike? Under Armour, who apparently was paying for De Sousa to Maryland? Reebok? Converse? Champion? Li-Ning?

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes. We are tied at the hip with Adidas for the perceivable future. It's a very huge hole to fill.

Charles Millison 4 years, 7 months ago

It is not at all cut and dry whether or not Silvio will be deemed ineligible, let alone the possibility of KU vacating wins. If neither KU nor Silvio new what about what transpired between his guardian and the shoe company, there is very good reason to believe no penalties will be enforced. Consider the following precedent set by the NCAA in December 2010.

Cam Newton went unpunished in a vert similar scenario where his father solicited money for his son's commitment. Newton was ruled ineligible by Auburn when they heard about his father's actions, but was reinstated by the NCAA. Article is below, but the salient quote from the NCAA regarding Cecil Newton's (Cam's father) actions is this: “Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement,” said Kevin Lennon, the N.C.A.A.’s vice president for academic and membership affairs.

Freddie Garza 4 years, 7 months ago

So this is a serious question, maybe I'm dumb or glib or whatever. But let's assume that players are being paid to commit to certain schools.

Is this breaking any laws? Or just NCAA bylaws?

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 7 months ago

I think that there are federal laws that apply to public universities which receive significant amounts of federal funding that impose a requirement that athletics scholarships granted by the school be given only to amateur athletes.

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