As most of you know Adidas and the NCAA, including specific Universities, are under an FBI investigation in regards to players getting paid to play college basketball. Kansas is one of those specific Universities being investigated.
When Kansas and Self’s names were first brought up, though, it was made clear neither had anything to do with the payments to Billy Preston and/or Silvio De Sousa. Former Adidas consultant TJ Gassnola even went as far to say Self had no clue payments were even being made. From the beginning it was known that Kansas was a victim, not an offender.
Until the last few days of the investigation that is. Text messages have now been uncovered that make it appear Self could have known about the payments.
Text messages from Gassnola to Self:
Gassnola: Coach Self just talked to Fenny let me know how it goes.
Gassnola (2 hours later): Hall of Fame. When you have 5 minutes and your [sic] alone call me.
Gassnola (later that night): I talked with Fenny.
Self: We good?
Gassnola: Always, that’s [sic] was light work. Ball is in his court now.
(After Kansas received the new 12 year $191 million Adidas contract)
Self: I’m happy with Adidas. Just got to get a couple real guys.
Gassnola: In my mind, it’s KU, bill self. Everyone else fall into line. Too [expletive] bad. That’s what’s right for Adidas basketball. And I know I am RIGHT. The more you win, have lottery pics [sic] and you happy. That’s how it should work in my mind.
Self: That’s how ur works. At UNC and Duke.
Gassnola: at Kentucky as well.
Gassnola: I promise you I got this. I have never let you down. Except Dyondre lol. We will get it right.
What do these text messages mean?
I’m not an expert on deciphering text messages but what I gather from this is Self at least had knowledge that Gassnola was helping with recruiting. It’s not unusual for shoe company agents or consultants to talk to recruits in order to get them to a school they work with. And it’s not unusual for coaches to keep in contact with those agents. As a Kansas fan, though, you’d just prefer Self stay away from these guys and let the prestige of the University do the work for him.
But probably the most damning text message of all, to me at least, was when Self said, “that’s how it works at UNC and Duke.” And then Gassnola added “at Kentucky as well.”
That text alone could blow this thing up bigger than anticipated. And it’s unfortunate that Self is on record of throwing UNC and Duke under the bus. Although we don’t know what exactly it means “that’s how it works” at UNC, Duke and Kentucky. One can only assume it’s in regards to the agents helping with recruiting by paying players.
The good thing for Kansas fans is, as damning as these texts may seem, I don’t think they implicate Self enough to warrant any sort of punishment. The texts are vague and it only leaves people speculating what they could mean. And it’s assumed that most of the speculation will be that Self knew about the payments.
What punishment does Kansas face?
A lot of things could happen here and some of them worse than others. But to me it’s clear Kansas nor Bill Self can be implicated on knowing about payments to Billy Preston or Silvio De Sousa. All they have is that Self knew Gassnola helped with recruiting and that’s just not enough to be guilty.
Either way Kansas could be looking at a few scenarios…
1.) Silvio De Sousa is suspended for the first part of the season for his and his families involvement with his recruitment. This includes his guardian receiving a large lump sum (at least $20,000) to play for Maryland from Under Armour and then $2,500 from Adidas.
2.) De Sousa is immediately declared ineligible and the NCAA bans him for the entire year and from playing future college basketball.
3.) De Sousa is immediately declared ineligible and not only is he banned this year but they also take away any wins that Kansas had while De Sousa was on the floor. This would result in a loss of Kansas’ 14th straight Big 12 Title and a Final Four appearance.
4.) Everything in scenario three happens as well as the NCAA banning Kansas from an NCAA bid for this year and potentially multiple years.
5.) Everything from scenario three and four happens as well as Kansas firing Bill Self and bringing in an interim to coach the season.
The last three options are absolutely terrifying for Kansas fans. But the good news is I think they’re the least likely to happen especially since it seems the last bit of “evidence” on Kansas has been uncovered.
What I do think is most likely is De Sousa is either suspended multiple games or he’ll just be ruled ineligible to play college basketball from here on out. Both would be very unfortunate for De Sousa but it at least would keep the school from being punished for something they had no part in and could not control.
How can the NCAA avoid this in the future?
Work it out with the NBA to let these players go pro immediately out of high school or at least let the shoe companies give them contracts that include payment.
A large portion of these players come from tough backgrounds and I think it’s irresponsible of the NCAA to think the players and their families should pass up a large sum of money if offered to them. They’re not stealing from anyone. And if anything they’re being stolen from. Because without the players the game simply doesn’t exist. And the fans, they pay to see the players play, not to see the coaches coach.
Either way things could get more and more interesting as the week goes on. The court is expected to end its case as early as Tuesday and then begin deliberations as early as Thursday.