Girod: KU has changed basketball procedures in wake of FBI case; ‘We have to make sure we do it right going forward’

photo by: Mike Yoder

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod speaks to students, faculty and staff during KU’s opening convocation Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, at the Lied Center.

KU Chancellor Douglas Girod acknowledged Wednesday that internal procedures of the men’s basketball program have changed after a pay-for-play scheme ensnared two KU players, saying KU has to “make sure we do it right going forward.”

Girod said changes have been made regarding which individuals are allowed to have access to the men’s basketball program and its staff, but he did not elaborate on what those changes involved.

Girod also declined to provide specifics about what Adidas officials told University of Kansas leaders that made the university comfortable with signing a 14-year extension with the company after three of its employees who dealt directly with KU were convicted on fraud charges.

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Girod said multimonth discussions led “our side of the house and their side of the house to put infrastructures in place that we are comfortable with.” When asked what those infrastructures involved, Girod declined to say.

“I’m not going to speak for them,” Girod said of anything Adidas may have said. An attempt to reach a spokesperson for German-based Adidas wasn’t immediately successful Wednesday evening.

When asked if the public would ever get details about what convinced KU to be comfortable moving forward with Adidas, Girod said: “I don’t know.”

Girod, though, did confirm that KU has taken some steps to change how its basketball program operates in the wake of the scandal. KU faced questions on Wednesday about how one of the former Adidas employees managed to get such close access to the men’s basketball program.

T.J. Gassnola admitted in federal court that he had paid the families of two KU basketball players, current player Silvio De Sousa and former player Billy Preston. Evidence from a federal fraud trial showed Gassnola had easy access to both KU coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend. That’s despite the fact that Gassnola had a past that raised many red flags about NCAA compliance issues and legal troubles. Gassnola in 2012 was part of a suspension of AAU teams handed down by the NCAA, who believed Gassnola and others had an inappropriate relationship with an NCAA agent. Earlier reporting by the Boston Globe found Gassnola had several criminal convictions and also unearthed other allegations of Gassnola improperly paying potential college recruits.

“They have put changes in place to more closely monitor who has access,” Girod said of the athletic department and its oversight of the basketball program.

Girod, however, stopped short of saying he was concerned about how Gassnola was able to have such close dealings with the KU basketball staff.

“I’m not going to judge my predecessors and how that played out,” Girod said. “I just know we have to make sure we do it right going forward.”

Girod began his role as KU’s chancellor in early July 2017. Preston made his commitment to KU in November 2016 and De Sousa made his in late August of 2017.

More coverage: KU and the college basketball scandal

April 8, 2019 — Former Adidas executive agrees to pay KU for his part in illegal pay-to-play scheme

April 5, 2019 — NCAA ‘aggressively’ pursuing evidence in college basketball corruption trial, NCAA president says

March 5, 2019 — Gatto, others in NCAA basketball scandal sentenced to months in prison

Feb. 27, 2019 — KU wants $1 million in restitution from convicted men in college basketball corruption trial

Feb. 27, 2019 — Report: NCAA seeking more FBI information in college basketball corruption scandal for its own investigation

Feb. 16, 2019 — To avoid sanctions, KU basketball may need to convince NCAA Gassnola is not a booster

Feb. 14, 2019 — Gatto, others in NCAA basketball scandal seek probation; they argue scheme was designed to help KU, other universities

Feb. 2, 2019 — NCAA’s De Sousa ruling raises new questions about whether KU coaches committed violations

Jan. 18, 2019 — KU claims it has $1.5 million in new Adidas money, but when asked to point to it on financial statements, it won’t

Dec. 14, 2018 — KU struggling to explain why it went into ‘stand-down’ mode in investigating basketball recruiting allegations

Dec. 5, 2018 — Report: NCAA won’t punish programs caught in Adidas fraud trial until after 2019 Final Four

Nov. 19, 2018 — New Adidas lawsuit emerges as KU reviews its options with apparel company; civil suit alleges KU coaches knew of payments

Nov. 16, 2018 — A month after KU coach caught on wiretapped phone call discussing recruit and money, chancellor has not talked to coach

Nov. 8, 2018 — Board of Regents member wants KU explanation on issues related to college basketball corruption case

Nov. 7, 2018 — Report: FBI gives NCAA clearance to begin investigating some basketball programs in corruption scandal

Nov. 1, 2018 — Wiretapped phone call of KU coach may become part of NCAA inquiry; AD confirms NCAA hasn’t started on De Sousa review

Oct. 30, 2018 — KU now refuses to share info with public on $1.5M in Adidas payments; last week it said lack of personnel was reason for delay

Oct. 24, 2018 — KU says it’s evaluating options on Adidas contract, doesn’t answer whether it will conduct independent investigation of recruiting practices

Oct. 24, 2018 — KU cites lack of personnel for delay in providing records related to unexplained $1.5M in Adidas payments

Oct. 19, 2018 — Devoted KU basketball fans stand by their team; psychologists not at all surprised

Oct. 18, 2018 — Chancellor won’t say whether he still has ‘complete confidence’ that KU follows recruiting rules

Oct. 17, 2018 — As college basketball corruption trial comes to a close, KU could be facing several NCAA code violations

Oct. 12, 2018 — As allegations mount, KU mum about Adidas ties and extra $1.5M it has received from the company

Oct. 3, 2018 — KU’s De Sousa could be ruled ineligible, NCAA rules experts say; chances of vacating Final Four appearance less clear

Oct. 1, 2018 — Girod, other KU leaders listed as potential witnesses in college basketball corruption trial

July 24, 2018 — KU releases federal subpoenas in college basketball investigation

July 11, 2018 — KU coach Bill Self, new AD Jeff Long discussed ongoing FBI investigation during interview process

July 10, 2018 — KU acknowledges having received federal subpoena in ongoing FBI investigation into college basketball

July 6, 2018 — Report: Feds seeking more information regarding KU forward Silvio De Sousa

April 27, 2018 — Reports: AAU director linked to NCAA bribery case, KU families pleads guilty

April 23, 2018 — KU didn’t produce written report of recent examination of athletic department; chancellor saw no need for external report

April 13, 2018 — Former prosecutor: KU not in clear yet, but one past case provides hope

April 13, 2018 — Chancellor sees no need for independent investigation of KU Athletics in wake of indictment

April 10, 2018 — Employee of apparel company illegally paid 2 KU basketball players’ guardians, federal indictment alleges

Feb. 23, 2018 — Kansas linked to college basketball scandal in Yahoo Sports report

Nov. 28, 2017 — Multimillion-dollar KU-Adidas deal remains unsigned as investigation into Adidas executive continues

Oct. 20, 2017 — KU provides more details of NCAA-mandated basketball review, enlists law firm to help

Oct. 17, 2017 — Analysis: Understanding the legal case building against the college basketball world

Oct. 16, 2017 — Zenger: KU will comply with NCAA requirement of all schools to review basketball program

Sept. 26, 2017 — NCAA basketball coaches, Adidas executive among 10 charged in bribe scheme


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