University of Kansas

KU basketball expected to face multiple major violation allegations from NCAA

(Update: Full story on the NCAA notice of allegations, which was issued to KU on Monday)

The NCAA is preparing to issue a notice of allegations that details multiple major violations in the Kansas men’s basketball program, The Star has learned.

The notice will come, sources told The Star, after a summer of speculation following a top NCAA official saying the organization would make findings against schools involved in a pay-for-play recruiting scheme investigated by the FBI.

When asked for comment, Dan Beckler, associate KU athletic director for public relations, told The Star that KU Athletics had not received any notification from the NCAA.

The Star also asked the NCAA for comment.

“Due to member-created rules, we cannot comment on current, pending or potential investigations,” Stacey Osburn, NCAA director of public and media relations, wrote in an email.

On June 12, Stan Wilcox, the NCAA’s vice president of regulatory affairs, said at least six schools would receive a notice of allegations for Level 1 violations this summer.

North Carolina State on July 10 received a notice of allegations that included two Level 1 violations.

Level 1 violations carry some of the most severe punishment, including postseason bans and loss of scholarships.

A NCAA notice of allegations starts a clock toward punishment, a timeline that could take several months to complete, likely past the end of the 2019-20 men’s basketball season.

Universities have 90 days to respond to a notice. The NCAA has granted extensions to schools in the past.

The school response then is sent to an NCAA enforcement committee. That committee has 60 days to file a reply and a “statement of the case.”

Next, a hearing date is scheduled with the NCAA Committee on Infractions. At that hearing, the university is allowed to present its case with an NCAA ruling to follow. The ruling could take several months to reach.

If a school is assessed penalties, it has the opportunity to appeal.

Kansas was among the schools associated with Adidas that were named during the federal investigation that led to the N.C. State notice of allegations.

Former Adidas employee T.J. Gassnola testified in federal court last October that he made payments of $90,000 on behalf of Adidas to the mother of KU basketball player Billy Preston and $2,500 to the guardian of Silvio De Sousa. Gassnola also said he agreed to pay $20,000 to Fenny Falmagne, the guardian of De Sousa, to help Falmagne exit an agreement to send De Sousa to Maryland, an Under Armour school.

Gassnola testified that KU coach Bill Self was not aware of the payments.

As a result of that trial, De Sousa was given a two-year NCAA suspension. Kansas appealed the second year of the punishment and the NCAA reinstated De Sousa, who is allowed to play this upcoming season. Preston never played in a regular season game for KU.

Gassnola avoided prison time and was sentenced to probation.

One of KU’s NCAA issues could be Gassnola’s relationship to Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend as revealed in court.

Text messages showed that during the time KU was recruiting De Sousa, KU coaches were aware that Gassnola was in contact with De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne.

Gassnola testified that Townsend asked him to contact De Sousa’s guardian. Falmagne told The Star he wanted to see if Adidas would send gear it didn’t need to Angola’s national team.

Third parties and/or boosters are not allowed to provide anything with monetary value to a recruit or the recruit’s family or guardian. It is possible the NCAA deems it inappropriate for Townsend to ask Gassnola to send gear to Angola.

ESPN recently reported that NCAA investigators were also working on cases at Arizona, Auburn, Creighton, Louisville, LSU and USC.

The Star’s Gary Bedore contributed to this report

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