Kansas subpoena FBI college basketball probe: Yahoo Sports Report
Based on the response from the University of Kansas when it was asked for “any subpoenas received … in relation to the ongoing federal investigation of college basketball” and the evaluation of the response by multiple lawyers, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel and Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports report Kansas has been subpoenaed by the federal government.
According to Yahoo Sports, Kansas responded to the April request for subpoenas by saying it “has public records that are responsive to your request,” but added that it could not provide Yahoo Sports with copies of the subpoenas because it would “constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy” based on the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
Last week, officials from the University of Maryland received multiple subpoenas in relation to the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball. One of the subpoenas Maryland received was about the recruitment of Silvio De Sousa, who is a rising sophomore at Kansas, and according to Yahoo Sports, was mentioned in previous federal documents concerning Adidas paying money to a player to attend an Adidas-sponsored school and helping that player get out from under a deal with a rival athletic apparel company. Maryland is sponsored by Under Armour, and De Sousa’s former high school, IMG Academy in Florida, is also sponsored by Under Armour.
The previous federal documents that mention Kansas in relation to the federal investigation do not accuse the Jayhawks of any wrongdoing, but two of their players are directly linked to allegedly receiving payments from Adidas, which regards Kansas as its flagship program. The first allegation listed concerns a player who signed his letter to play for Kansas on Nov. 9, 2016. Former Adidas global sports marketing director for basketball James Gatto allegedly conspired to pay $90,000 to the player’s mother—listed as “Parent-3” in the documents—to get the player to attend Kansas and sign with Adidas when he left for the NBA. Gatto allegedly made payments to an AAU team controlled by a person listed in the documents as “Co-Conspirator-3” who then gave multiple payments to Parent-3 from October 2016 through May 2017.
This player appears to be Billy Preston, who never got to play a game for the Jayhawks after the NCAA started investigating how he got his car following an accident. Preston left school in January to play professionally in Bosnia and he recently signed a two-way deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers after going undrafted in June.
The second player mentioned in the allegations against Kansas committed to the school on Aug. 30, 2017. The player, who appears to be De Sousa, was allegedly choosing between Kansas and a school sponsored by a rival athletic apparel company. Despite wanting to go to Kansas, he had allegedly already accepted a payment from the other school. Gatto and Co-Conspirator-3 allegedly conspired to pay the player’s guardian—listed as “Guardian-1” in the documents—in exchange for the player attending Kansas and signing with Adidas upon going to the NBA. On Sept. 11, 2017, Gatto and Co-Conspirator-3 allegedly discussed paying “another $20,000” to Guardian-1 to get out of the previous deal with the school sponsored by the rival athletic company.
As the investigation continues to go on and new information gets uncovered, Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann notes more athletic apparel companies and more colleges could get brought into this.