It is the first kid sick day of the calendar year; C is home with a stomach issue.
Adding to the fun is my back continues to trouble me. It’s not all the way out the way it was on New Year’s Day, but something I’ve done to it has got me on a heavy regimen of ibuprofen and heating pads. Getting old sucks.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the Jayhawks…
I’ve been on record all season that Silvio De Sousa would not play for KU again. By that I meant the NCAA would never clear him for this season, he would leave to go pro, end of college career.
Still, a part of me wanted to buy into these rumors that he was on the verge of gaining eligibility over the past few weeks. I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. But with KU in desperate need of another big man, you might as well put some hope into the long shot bet.
That said, I was shocked that the NCAA decided to declare him ineligible for the rest of this season and all of next. Well, kind of shocked. I figured Silvio would be the fall guy for the entire FBI investigation. He was the most high-profile player that still had eligibility at the most high-profile program that has gotten sucked into this mess. And with the coaches affiliated with Nike slowly pleading guilty and avoiding trial, and thus more on-the-record proof of cheating, Silvio was the NCAA’s one shot to take a stand.
But, Good Lord, basically ending the college career of someone who never saw a penny of the money that was allegedly provided by Adidas to get him to Kansas? That seems a little harsh.
Truth: I would 100% support the NCAA saying, “You can never play at Kansas, or any other Adidas school. But you can have full, immediate eligibility at any other D1 school.” This is an Adidas and Kansas problem, not a Silvio De Sousa problem.
But, as always, the NCAA, despite all its talk about protecting “student athletes,” finds a way to punish the kid more than anyone else. KU could eventually go on probation, vacate wins from last year, and lose scholarships. But KU will be fine in the long run. Jesus, Louisville was where this all started and they have one of the top three recruiting classes for next fall. Kansas will bounce back if they get hammered.
De Sousa, though? The NCAA is ruining his college career because a guardian he trusted, but had no relation to, got greedy and Adidas got sloppy.
KU and the NCAA
So things got weird Saturday. There was athletic director Jeff Long’s angry press conference just before the KU – Texas Tech game Saturday, where he accused the NCAA of bad faith negotiating, meddling with the relationship between KU’s administrators and coaches, and straight up lying, among other things.
I have no idea what the truth is and how to process this. Did the NCAA really go back on a promise and hammer KU for something they viewed as a “hypothetical”? Did KU totally fuck this up, through misunderstanding or incompetence, and are trying to cover that up? Is something else going on? I have zero idea.
At the core of this the NCAA insisting they would not consider De Sousa’s eligibility until KU declared Adidas rep TJ Gassnola as a booster of the program. Forget about the KU angle for a second. If the NCAA is going to begin considering employees of shoe companies as “boosters” of programs, that is a game changer for every program that has a shoe contract. I.E. every program in the country. That definition opens about a million cans of worms, and seems like a flurry of lawsuits waiting to happen.
Another angle: the University of Missouri got slapped with probation last Friday for the actions of, I believe, one academic advisor or tutor or something like that. Mizzou cooperated with the NCAA: they self-reported the issue, took actions to eliminate the issue, prevent it from happening again, etc. And they got hammered pretty good. KU cooperated with the NCAA in trying to get De Sousa eligible. They proactively took him off the court and kept him off, waited for the NCAA to give them guidance, and then worked the process to restore his eligibility. Their reward was losing De Sousa and potentially giving the NCAA a big, fat hole to drive their investigatory truck into the program.
Now think back a few years, to the biggest academic scandal in college sports history, which took place at North Carolina. UNC lawyered up, delayed and delayed and delayed some more, and generally did as little as they could to assist the NCAA. The NCAA eventually threw their hands up, said it was out of their jurisdiction, and UNC got away without losing a game, a scholarship, a recruiting visit. Well, their football and men’s basketball programs did; somehow their women’s basketball program was the only one to get punished.
So we’re back to the mid–1980s, where it’s clear that if you work with the NCAA to resolve eligibility, academic, or other potential violations, you’re going to get punished, but if you stonewall and drag things out long enough, nothing is going to happen.
Gosh, I wonder how schools will behave going forward?
Anyways, I was hopeful that KU would somehow manage to dodge any serious repercussions from the FBI trial. Based on what we know from Gassnola’s trial – he stated although De Sousa’s guardian asked for money, he never paid it; Billy Preston never played at KU; etc – I think KU can probably spend a fortune and manage to avoid any major penalties going forward. Last year’s Final Four will, officially, disappear at some point.We’ll see if the Big 12 decides to take away last year’s regular and postseason titles, too.
But I admit I’m more worried than I was before. You never know what the FBI found out that did not get submitted into the trial, or was slatted to be shared in the other trials that have been avoided by guilty pleas. I’m hopeful that word I got from someone who has worked with the FBI in the past will be true. H said, “Fuck that, there is no way the FBI is sharing anything with the NCAA.”
Some week for the actual KU basketball team. Lose to Kentucky on Saturday. Lose to Texas on Tuesday. Lose De Sousa for two years on Friday. And about 15 minutes after the De Sousa news broke we learned that Marcus Garrett hurt his ankle in practice and is out indefinitely. Oh, and Texas Tech was coming to town the next day.
Naturally KU played their best game of the year and the result was never in doubt over the last 35 minutes.
Sports are weird, my friends.
Which sets up a huge game tonight at K-State. Nothing about this K-State excites me. But, you know what, this year that might be the perfect way to win the Big 12. Just steadily win out. Protect your home court, steal a few on the road, and watch everyone else beat each other up.
But there is a loooot of basketball to be played. I still think Iowa State is the best team in the conference. But they lost at home to K-State by one, which right now is the best, and biggest, win in the conference this season. I really don’t understand how Baylor is playing so well. You figure Texas Tech is going to be a factor. And if KU can even play at 75% of the level they played at last Saturday they will be in it until the end.
- Grayson Allen still missed that shot and Malik Newman still dropped 13 on Duke in OT. ↩