Report: FBI gives NCAA clearance to begin investigating some basketball programs in corruption scandal

photo by: Associated Press

In this March 14, 2012, file photo, a player runs across the NCAA logo during practice in Pittsburgh before an NCAA tournament college basketball game. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

The FBI has given the NCAA clearance to begin investigating possible code violations at universities related to the recent college basketball corruption trial, according to a Yahoo Sports report published Tuesday night.

It’s not yet clear which universities’ basketball programs the NCAA would be able to investigate, but the University of Kansas had become a focus of the trial before it ended in late October in New York.

KU officials did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

During the trial, testimony focused on KU coach Bill Self’s relationship with government witness T.J. Gassnola. The former Adidas consultant testified that he paid the families of players to steer them to KU, including $90,000 to the mother of Billy Preston and $2,500 to the guardian of Silvio De Sousa. Gassnola testified that he never told Self about the payments.

The defense in the case argued that the coaches, including Self and KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend, were aware of the payments to players.

The argument was not enough, as the jury found all three men facing charges — former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christian Dawkins and amateur league director Merl Code — guilty of defrauding universities, including KU, by providing money to players’ families to steer them toward certain programs.

Both the defense and the prosecution said the families of KU players received money, which could be of interest to an NCAA investigation.

De Sousa was cleared by the NCAA to play during the 2017-18 season, where KU won its 14th straight Big 12 conference title and made an appearance in the Final Four. In light of the information revealed in the trial, KU chose to keep De Sousa out of games during the current season until the NCAA clears him to play again. Preston, who never played an official game at KU because of eligibility concerns, now plays professionally for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers organization.

The federal government did not produce a formal letter or declaration giving the NCAA clearance, but did acknowledge certain schools’ cases could be investigated, according to the report.

How long an investigation could take is not clear, but the NCAA is known for long investigations and could take longer than usual because many universities were implicated in the scandal, according to the report.

Coverage: College basketball corruption trial

Oct. 24 — How deeply will NCAA dig into KU’s recruiting? That question and others still loom after trial

Oct. 24 — In wake of basketball corruption trial’s verdict, Self says his staff has done nothing wrong

Oct. 24 — 3 convicted of fraud in college basketball corruption trial

Oct. 23 — Jury deliberates 2nd day with no verdict in college basketball corruption trial

Oct. 18 — Defense attorney argues Bill Self knew about payments to families of KU players

Oct. 16 — ‘If that’s what it takes’: KU assistant coach taped by feds discussing recruit’s demand for cash

Oct. 15 — ‘We good?’ ‘Always’: Texts between Self, fixer presented in college basketball corruption trial

Oct. 11 — Latest testimony in college basketball corruption trial goes into further details on KU’s involvement

Oct. 10 — Self declines to comment on testimony of former Adidas consultant; questions surface about KU compliance

Oct. 9 — Basketball player’s father: Louisville assistant gave cash

Oct. 4 — Father testifies on pay for play at college hoops programs

Oct. 3 — Witness details secret payments in college hoops recruiting

Oct. 2 — As college basketball corruption trial opens, attorney admits client paid $20K to get De Sousa to come to KU


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