Monday, November 19, 2018

New Adidas lawsuit emerges as KU reviews its options with apparel company; civil suit alleges KU coaches knew of payments


Adidas, the apparel partner that the University of Kansas is trying to decide whether to extend a multimillion dollar scholarship agreement with, now is facing a civil lawsuit alleging racketeering.

Former Louisville and South Carolina player Brian Bowen II has sued Adidas and several associates caught up in the college basketball corruption scandal alleging federal racketeering violations that cost him the chance to develop his game.

Bowen's lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in South Carolina. It has asked for unspecified damages and says Bowen and other players targeted by Adidas' "criminal racketing enterprise" were denied the chance to grow their talents in college on the way to becoming professionals.

"Adidas has thus far infiltrated college basketball with complete impunity. It is now time for them to answer for what they have done and to suffer the consequences of their corporate misconduct," attorney Mullin McLeod said.

The lawsuit, among other items, alleges that KU coaches Bill Self and Kurtis Townsend knew of illegal payments that were made to KU player Silvio De Sousa. Self and Townsend, however, are not named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Several former Adidas employees who had direct contact with the KU basketball program, however, are named defendants in the lawsuit. Jim Gatto and Merl Code, who both were convicted of federal fraud charges are named, and so, too, is T.J. Gassnola, who has plead guilty to a related fraud charge.

If the lawsuit proceeds, Bowen’s attorneys could seek documentation from KU, or potentially could seek to depose Self, Townsend or other KU officials as part of the legal case.

The new lawsuit comes at a time when KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said the university is continuing to review its options as it relates to the extension of its apparel partnership with Adidas. That partnership ends in July. An extension could be worth more than $190 million over a 10-year period to KU.

Adidas did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

It was alleged that the scheme involved giving Bowen's father $100,000 to have his son play for Louisville.

The younger Bowen enrolled at Louisville in the fall of 2017, but never played a game. He transferred to South Carolina for the spring semester and left in May when it became apparent the NCAA would keep him from playing for longer than Bowen hoped.

Bowen took part in the NBA's Draft Combine last spring and is playing professionally in Australia.

He has denied any wrongdoing and knowledge of his father's plans.

"I have always felt that Brian was the true victim of everything that transpired with Adidas," said attorney Jason A. Setchen, who represented Bowen II in his NCAA case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Humpy Helsel 3 years, 7 months ago

How in the world could we ever in good conscience ever sign the contract with Adidas? It may be totally on the up and up, but the optics would be terrible. Regardless, we surely can't sign it until the whole mess in completely cleaned up. And that may be years. And we really can't do anything with Nike right now. Maybe we talk to LaVar Ball and Big Baller!

Dane Pratt 3 years, 7 months ago

Agree but signing with Nike or Under Armour is not much of an alternative. It's just changing partners. They are both as guilty as Adidas.

Brian Babcock 3 years, 7 months ago

aaaahhhhh. wrong button. i did not flag for removal willingly.

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 3 years, 7 months ago

i wonder how hard it would be to put together our own apparel company. we have benefactors and who knows how many college graduates.

Steve Hillyer 3 years, 7 months ago

I can think of 191 million reasons to sign with Adidas, if we are going to limit ourselves to shoe apparel companies without any dirt then our next contract will have to be with Sketchers

Danny Hernandez 3 years, 7 months ago

Or Vans! I wouldn't go anywhere near Nike or UnderArmour, their dirty laundry will be out there for everyone to see

Brad Farha 3 years, 7 months ago

Skechers has wicked football jerseys -- I'm on board.

Dyrk Dugan 3 years, 7 months ago

It’s ironic isn’t it? A proposed student athlete, is suing a third party which “prevented” him for pursuing a basketball career in college; where supposedly, student athletes are used and exploited to help others get rich. This lawsuit should be not given the light of day since playing basketball in college is not in any sense, a pre requisite for making a nice living in the sport. But our legal system has become a headline grabbing, make your name on high profile cases; I won’t hold my breath.

Noel Graham 3 years, 7 months ago

Is he suing his father for accepting the money? Bowen is a victim, but he was victimized by his own family.

Thomas Green 3 years, 7 months ago

It never stops amazing me what people will sue over. Take money, which you know you should not do, get caught then blame everyone except yourself! Poor guy! Unbelievable...truly unbelievable!

Mallory Briggans 3 years, 7 months ago

Greed ……………………………..period !

Craig Carson 3 years, 7 months ago

if this kid and his lawyer wants to sue Adidas then go for it..but what is the purpose of dragging Kansas into this? Bowen had no ties to KU, I dont even think KU was in his final list of schools? and I guess his lawyer missed the part where Gassnola said IN COURT UNDER OATH that he never told KU or any school what he was doing..and then there is that pesky little thing about the verdict passed by the court of law that claimed KU as well as other schools were his Lawyer has a failed case from the jump..this kids dad pimped him sucks for him, but dont drag other schools into the mess your daddy made..all his dad had to do was struggle for one more season until his baby boy could go pro..but no, he couldnt wait and accepted cash knowing what would happen if he were caught..Adidas may have offered $$, but they didnt force him to accept it

Al Martin 3 years, 7 months ago

They may have a case against Adidas, but the KU stuff should be irrelevant to their case, and ought to be disallowed.

Says me, with no legal experience whatsoever :-)

Brian Babcock 3 years, 7 months ago

Why aren't we making our own uniforms? We need a 'name brand' why? Isn't Kansas Basketball a 'name brand'? Don't we have an art department? Are we an educational institution?

Dave Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

Buying a "brand-less" uniform/shoes may well be the only real alternative left. Perhaps that is a way to get the apparel/shoe companies out of the equation.

Chris Condren 3 years, 7 months ago

Lawyer names KU in the complaint simply to get some more buzz. Sleepy tactic but it puts some longer legs on this story.

Thomas Green 3 years, 7 months ago

Law schools theses days certainly don’t teach ethics my ever humble opinion. This is sad, pathetic and disgusting! I’m certain not a damn thing will ever be done, but our legal system is irretrievably broken and should be completely overhauled!

Art Jefferson 3 years, 7 months ago

Why aren't we making our own uniforms? $190,000,000. Oh, and free uniforms. :^ )

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 7 months ago

I wouldn't go back to Adidas at this point because of the way they threw KU under the bus during that trial. I wouldn't trust a company that willing to stab KU in the back the way they did. Take less money and don't go with a company that just threw you under the bus.

Pius Waldman 3 years, 7 months ago

How much less is available? Remember $190 million is not something to sneeze about. Besides those others with big bucks to offer aren't completely innocent.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 7 months ago

This is a BS litigation. The LJW needs to get on the ball to follow the important litigations issues confronting the NCAA, such as the anti trust ones.... one settled last year by the NCAA for over $200MM in favor of former athletes: I've never seen once anything from the LJW following the real legal challenges to the NCAA, which insist on making criminals out of hard working middle class people.

Another settled recently by UCF regarding a likeness issue by a former athlete. And another big one just started: NCAA Grant-in-Aid Cap Antitrust Litigation v. NCAA, a class action brought on behalf of former men’s and women’s college players against the NCAA and the 11 major athletic conferences. Here is the March 28 decisions forcing the NCAA into court this December: and another old one from 'above the law'

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 7 months ago

LJW Staff...just so you know, the next court date for the very important anti trust case is Tuesday, December 18, 9:30 am (PDT). />

Tracey Graham 3 years, 7 months ago

If his father took the money, then he is just as responsible in keeping Bowen from being able to play college basketball as Adidas is.

And I have no idea what KU has to do with this lawsuit. Whether the KU coaches knew about the alleged payments has no bearing on the fact that Bowen wasn't allowed to play.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.