The NCAA is using Kansas to regain control in basketball

LAWRENCE, KANSAS - MARCH 09: Head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks coaches from the bench during the game against the Baylor Bears at Allen Fieldhouse on March 09, 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LAWRENCE, KANSAS - MARCH 09: Head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks coaches from the bench during the game against the Baylor Bears at Allen Fieldhouse on March 09, 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

On Monday, the Kansas Basketball program received a notice of allegations detailing three level one violations, a lack of institutional control charge, and a head coach responsibility charge. The severity of these allegations come as another obvious attempt by the NCAA to regain control.

Hello, reader. It’s storytime:

September 23rd, 2019 will forever go down as one of the most monumental days in college sports history.

The mighty gods of college athletics had grown tired of their older children’s disobedience. College basketball, one of the greatest creations from the gods, had become tarnished because of pay-for-play schemes facilitated by corrupt coaches and irresponsible shoe companies.

What was once a pure and wholesome sport that was built on passion, sportsmanship, and friendly competition quickly became more about greed, money, and power.

Once their rebellious children had gone too far, it was time for the gods to prove their might. On that aforementioned day, the gods reached down and dismantled one of their most powerful offspring: Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks.

The gods charged them with very serious violation allegations that will negatively affect their program for years to come.

This move immediately struck fear in the hearts of all, as the other basketball programs began to follow the rules once again. Happiness was quickly restored, and the gods could now move forward in the pursuit of their one and only goal: Doing what’s best for the young children.

Thanks for reading.

That story serves as an example of what the NCAA thinks is going to happen.

They think by making an example out of a powerhouse program such as Kansas will be enough to scare other programs from breaking the rules. Obviously, they’re wrong.

Under-the-table payments in college athletics have been prevalent since the 1950s. Teams get caught, the NCAA punishes them, and then other teams continue to do it. It’s an endless cycle that has continued to turn for 70+ years.

It’s understandable that the NCAA felt tremendous pressure following the FBI’s college basketball corruption trials last October.

While the trials only focused on Adidas, it was enough to further confirm that the NCAA has lost control over its member schools. To regain that control, striking down on Kansas was their best option.

And after months of waiting, the NCAA finally sent a notice of allegations (NOA) to the University of Kansas on Monday.

There are a lot of confusing details about these allegations. But two glaring ones stand out in particular: One, the NCAA is setting a dangerous precedent that could harm potentially every Power-5 program. And two, they’re directly contradicting the verdict of the college basketball corruption trials.

As shown in the 20-page NOA, the NCAA’s charges are largely predicated on considering TJ Gassnola, and other Adidas consultants, as boosters of the Kansas basketball program. They’re being considered boosters because they have the “best interest” of the Kansas program in mind.

To summarize most of the report: According to the NCAA, these Adidas guys — mostly Gassnola — were giving money and contacting recruits in order to steer them towards committing to Kansas. And since they’re considered boosters of the program, any sort of gift, contact, meal, or transportation by them is considered an impermissible benefit — Which would make the player receiving those benefits ineligible.

Because these boosters (Adidas Employees) committed multiple violations over the course of three years, the NCAA claims that Self — and the University as well — either knew of or “should have known” they were happening. That’s where the lack of institutional control and head coach responsibility charge comes in.

Apparently, this means the NCAA now expects athletic departments to monitor the employees of their apparel provider.

Here’s why that dangerous for all of college basketball: every person that works for a shoe company could be considered a booster.

By the NCAA’s definition, if a random Adidas employee tried to convince a recruit to go to Kansas because he likes Self’s coaching strategies, that could be considered a violation.

That said employee would technically have the school’s best interest in mind during that conversation, which makes him a booster. This means Self and the University are required to control his actions. It doesn’t matter if Self knows the employee or not.

If the NCAA is able to convict Kansas on these charges, it sets a precedent that’s impossible to enforce on a large scale. Literally, every college coach that has a solid relationship with a camp director, AAU coach, or shoe company employee would need to monitor those people because they could be considered boosters.

With brands like Adidas or Nike sponsoring camps and tournaments involving hundreds of high school recruits multiple times a year, it’s impossible to manage all of those potential “boosters.”

What also doesn’t make sense is the NCAA has labeled these Adidas employees as boosters of the Kansas basketball program, yet these men were found guilty of defrauding the University of Kansas during the college basketball corruption trials.

A jury of objective citizens literally decided that these men WEREN’T being directed by the Kansas coaches in these pay-for-play schemes. In addition, Kansas sued these men for $1 Million in restitution fees. The NCAA claiming they worked on Kansas’ behalf is a direct contradiction of the courts’ final decision.

When Kansas inevitably appeals the upcoming punishments from the NCAA, the deciding factor will be predicated on whether the appeal committee agrees that Self and his staff knew about or directed the violations without reporting it.

According to these strong statements from Jeff Long and Bill Self, they unequivocally disagree that Self was involved with these “boosters” in any way shape or form.

In my opinion, I believe Self and his staff knew about every payment to every player. There may not be enough evidence to prove that in court, but knowing the true nature of college basketball, it would be naive to think he doesn’t know what’s going on with his own recruits.

There is no bigger Bill Self fan than me. I think he’s an unbelievable basketball coach and an overall good person. However, I think the pressure to win at Kansas is too high for him to play it safe in recruiting. I’m sure John Calipari and Coach K would agree.

In conclusion, regardless of how many NOA’s and punishments the NCAA charges schools with, college basketball recruiting isn’t going to get any cleaner. Until they start letting these players profit off their likeness, the underground of basketball recruiting will continue to be a cesspool of corruption.

Kansas basketball vs. NCAA: Jayhawks are going to fight tooth and nail. light. More

In regards to Kansas, the severity of these allegations come as an overblown power move in response to the NCAA losing their credibility during the October trials. The NCAA will attempt to destroy Bill Self and the Jayhawks to regain control. But as Kansas goes down, another program will take their place and the cycle of recruiting corruption will only continue.