KU awaits federal guidance after verdict in basketball recruiting case

Kansas's Silvio De Sousa (22) watches his shot during the first half in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Villanova, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) -- University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod says the school is awaiting guidance from prosecutors on what steps to take after three college basketball insiders were convicted of wire fraud in a case that ensnared the school.

A statement issued by Girod and athletic director Jeff Long indicated once KU is cleared by the Justice Department to move forward, it would begin working with the NCAA to review information presented during trial. Kansas also intends to review the eligibility of all its athletes.

Ex-Adidas official James Gatto, consultant Merl Code and NBA agent runner Christian Dawkins were found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The trio had been accused of funneling money to players to attend Kansas, Louisville and other schools sponsored by the apparel company.

Head coach Bill Self had said he would wait for the university to release its statement before he would comment. Self was still at Sprint Center for the Big 12′s media day when he was informed of the verdict. He says Kansas will make a statement “and certainly we’ll make one right after that.”

Girod says no decision has been made about a long-term contract extension with Adidas. The sides had agreed to a $191 million extension in late 2017, but the contract was never signed.

During the trial, Silvio De Sousa’s guardian was accused of accepting money from people associated with the apparel company, which could have rendered him ineligible. De Sousa graduated from IMG Academy last December and participated in the Jayhawks’ tournament run.

Coach Bill Self and other school officials believe the NCAA had cleared De Sousa at that point, and anything that may have come to light during the recent trial would not make a difference. Kansas officials say they are not concerned about having to forfeit last year’s Big 12 title or Final Four appearance as part of the fallout of the investigation into college basketball corruption.

De Sousa will not play in games this season pending an investigation into his eligibility.

Dear Jayhawk Community,

During the past three weeks in a federal courtroom in New York City, the University of Kansas and our men's basketball program have been the subjects of testimony and speculation during the trial of three defendants accused of defrauding three universities, including KU. The trial concluded today with jury verdicts of guilty on all counts of conspiracy and wire fraud.

First, we want to remind you of developments that predate this trial. In fall 2017, amid concerns about student-athlete recruitment, the NCAA instructed each Division I institution to conduct a review of its men's basketball program to ensure compliance with NCAA rules. KU took the issue seriously and engaged outside counsel to assist our review. At the same time, KU has been working with prosecutors, including fulfilling all obligations of subpoenas issued to us.

During the trial, information was presented regarding a former KU student-athlete, a current KU student-athlete, and KU men's basketball coaches. Some of the information we were aware of, and some is new to us. The new information needs to be evaluated and understood. We have already been in contact with the NCAA regarding trial developments and will continue to work with NCAA staff moving forward.

Two additional federal trials are set for February and April 2019. Thus, we remain unable to fully comment on the issues before us. By limiting our comments, we are able to protect the integrity of the federal matters and the work of the NCAA.

While that work continues, we remain fully supportive of our student-athletes, our coaches and our men's basketball program. Coach Self and Kansas Athletics are committed to maintaining a culture of compliance, and we will continue these efforts. Kansas Athletics has been, and will continue to be, committed to excellence and integrity.

So, what now? First, we will await guidance from prosecutors as to next steps regarding the criminal matter. Second, once the Justice Department clears us to move forward, we will work with the NCAA to vigorously review new information presented during the trial. Third, we will continue to review the eligibility of all our student-athletes to ensure that they meet the eligibility standards of the NCAA and KU.

Finally, while we have made no decision regarding a long-term contract extension with our apparel partner, adidas, we continue to evaluate our options. There is no timetable for a decision. A strong apparel partnership is important and beneficial to all our student-athletes and our institution, and we will take great care in making the right decision for KU.

We look forward to updating you on these matters when it is appropriate to do so. In the meantime, as our men's and women's basketball seasons approach, we encourage you to continue to support the incredible young men and women in our programs.

Respectfully,

Douglas A. Girod
Chancellor

Jeffrey P. Long
Director of Athletics