AP Source: Kansas Receives Notice Of Allegations From NCAA

Kansas had been in the NCAA's crosshairs since early this summer.

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September 23, 2019 - 8:04 pm

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By DAVE SKRETTA AP Basketball Writer

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas received a notice of allegations from the NCAA on Monday that alleges significant violations within its storied men's basketball program, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the NCAA nor the school had announced the notice, which was first reported by Yahoo Sports. That initial report, citing unnamed sources, said the notice included three Level 1 violations tied primarily to recruiting, lack of institutional control and a responsibility charge leveled against Hall of Fame coach Bill Self.

Yahoo also reported that Kansas was given notice of a secondary violation in football tied to then-coach David Beaty. That violation involved the use of an extra coach during practice.

Kansas spokesman Dan Beckler did not respond to multiple messages from The Associated Press seeking comment. The AP requested copies of all notices from the NCAA under the Kansas Open Records Act.

The NCAA's Stacey Osburn also declined to comment on "current, pending or ongoing investigations."

Kansas had been in the NCAA's crosshairs since early this summer, when Vice President Stan Wilcox said at least six schools were likely to receive notices of allegations for Level 1 infractions.

North Carolina State was the first of them, getting a notice July 10 of two violations, including a failure-to-monitor charge leveled against former coach Mark Gottfried.

Arizona, Auburn, Creighton, Louisville, LSU and USC have also been under the microscope.

Level 1 infractions are considered the most severe by the NCAA, and often include postseason bans, the forfeiture of wins and championships and the loss of scholarships. But the notice itself is only the beginning of a process that can often take more than a year — the school typically sends a response to the NCAA enforcement committee, setting off an exchange of information.

Ultimately, a hearing will be scheduled and Kansas will be allowed to present its case. The NCAA will then issue its ruling, often within several months, and the school retains the right to appeal.

Kansas was among the most prominent college basketball programs swept up in an NCAA probe into a pay-for-play scheme that began with an FBI investigation into apparel company Adidas.

The inquiry centered on a former employee, T.J. Gassnola, who testified in October that he had made payments to several recruits for schools tied to Adidas. Among them were a $90,000 payment to the family of then-Kansas recruit Billy Preston and $2,500 to the guardian of current forward Silvio De Sousa.

Gassnola, who avoided prison time by cooperating with the investigation, said he also paid $20,000 to Fenny Falmagne, De Sousa's guardian, to pry the prospect loose from an agreement with Maryland.

Self said last October that "when recruiting potential student-athletes, my staff and I have not and do not offer improper inducements to them, or their families, to influence their college decisions, nor are we aware of any third-party involvement to do so.

"As the leader of the Kansas men's basketball program," Self added, "I take pride in my role to operate with integrity and within the NCAA rules."

Gassnola testified that Self was unaware of the payments, but text messages and phone records indicate a close relationship with the national championship-winning coach. And an attorney for former Adidas executive James Gatto told a jury that his client approved the payment to Falmagne only after Self and his longtime assistant, Kurtis Townsend, requested Gassnola to provide it.

"The evidence, I submit, shows that Kansas' head coach knew of and asked for a payment to be made to Silvio De Sousa's handler," the attorney, Michael Schachter, said at the time. "More than that, Coach Self requested just the kind of help that Mr. Gassnola arranged as a condition for Coach Self to permit Adidas to continue their sponsorship agreement with the University of Kansas."

In April, the school signed a 14-year, $196 million extension of its apparel and sponsorship deal with Adidas. The deal, which is worth $14 million annually, runs through the 2030-31 school year.

Gatto, former Adidas consultant Merl Code and handler Chris Dawkins have been found guilty of felony charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the case. Gassnola was given probation as part of his cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors.

While Gassnola appeared to try to shield Self from the FBI probe, their relationship came out in text messages presented by defense attorneys at his trial. In one exchange, Gassnola texted Self that "I talked to Fenny," and the coach replied, "We good?" Gassnola said, "Always. That's light work."

Later, Gassnola texted about keeping Self and Kansas happy with lottery picks. Self responded: "That's how (it) works. At UNC and Duke."

De Sousa was declared ineligible for two full seasons by the NCAA, and sat out last season before declaring for the draft. He withdrew when the NCAA approved his appeal to play this season.

The Jayhawks had their run of 14 consecutive Big 12 championships end this past season, when Kansas State and Texas Tech tied for the crown. But with several returning stars and another elite recruiting class, the Jayhawks were expected to be a top-five team in the AP preseason poll.