Will it be the FBI -- as opposed to Texas or Oklahoma -- that ends Kansas’ streak of 14 straight Big 12 titles?
Adidas allegedly paid people connected to two players to have them enroll at KU
Few basketball insiders were surprised when the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced last September that it believed a shoe company had compensated the family of a five-star prospect in exchange for a commitment to that shoe company's preferred university -- and the reason is because this had long been assumed as common practice in the sport. True or false, right or wrong, folks have forever believed Adidas helps Adidas schools recruit, Nike helps Nike schools recruit and Under Armour helps Under Armour schools recruit. So I've never had a single coach ask a single time if I could believe Adidas officials allegedly paid Brian Bowen's family $100,000 to attend Louisville because, well, of course I could believe it -- as could everybody else. So nobody ever asked that question. But the question I have been asked a bunch of times by a bunch of coaches in recent months is this: When is Kansas finally going to get looped into the FBI investigation?
We now have an answer.
April 10, 2018.
"Earlier today, we learned that the University of Kansas is named as a victim in a federal indictment," Joe Monaco, KU's director of strategic communications, said late Tuesday. "The indictment does not suggest any wrongdoing by the university, its coaches or its staff. We will cooperate fully with investigators in this matter. Because this is an active investigation, it is not appropriate for us to comment further at this time."
Monaco is correct that the indictment does not suggest any wrongdoing by the university, its coaches or its staff. But it doesn't clear anybody either. And it alleges that Adidas funneled money to people connected to two prospects -- one of whom, sources told CBS Sports, is freshman Silvio De Sousa, who averaged 12.6 minutes during the Jayhawks' run to the 2018 Final Four -- to ensure they enrolled at KU, which has long been viewed by industry sources as the school with the strongest Adidas relationship. Simply put, that's why people were waiting for Kansas to get looped in -- because the assumption was that if Adidas was buying players for Louisville then surely it had done the same for KU. And, it appears, that assumption was accurate. Or, at least, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York believes it to be accurate.
Bottom line, this could get bad.
If the NCAA can eventually prove that De Sousa's guardian was indeed paid $20,000 (at least) to enroll De Sousa at Kansas, which is what the indictment alleges, the Jayhawks will likely be forced to vacate their 2018 Big 12 title and appearance in the 2018 Final Four. And it could also impact next season's team. Because, right now, Kansas is No. 1 in the CBS Sports Preseason Top 25 (and one). But if De Sousa is ruled ineligible because of the allegations in this indictment, the Jayhawks might not have a roster worthy of that ranking or good enough to achieve what otherwise seems realistic. And if the ongoing investigation eventually uncovers evidence that anybody at Kansas was aware of the alleged payments, then, obviously, someone might pay with his job the way multiple Louisville coaches, including Hall of Famer Rick Pitino, have already paid with their jobs.
As always, we'll see.
But for years people have been wondering who can snap the Jayhawks' string of consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles. Would it be Texas or Baylor? Oklahoma or West Virginia? TCU or Iowa State? Turns out, the answer is none of those schools.
The answer is ... the FBI.
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