Column: Let’s be honest about what’s happening in college basketball



April 20, 2018 - 11:00 PM

Kansas head coach Bill Self talks to his team from the bench in the second half against Villanova during an NCAA Tournament national semifinal on March 31, 2018, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Rich Sugg/ Kansas City Star/TNS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The FBI gave Kansas an opening to call itself a victim in a budding basketball scandal, and while that’s technically true in a narrow legal sense it takes on a broader meaning when used by the school as PR cover. It becomes a laughable lie, ugly or worse in one sense and transparently empty in another.

The school’s communications department should have known better. Using that word is counterproductive to the presumed intention, pulling the school’s reputation closer to the fire instead of away from it. But more to the point here, the word choice makes it more difficult to have an honest conversation about the complicated black market that is college basketball and KU’s place in it.

A blueblood program is between a Final Four run and one of its highest rated recruiting classes in history, and now faces the allegation that rising sophomore Silvio De Sousa — unnamed by the FBI’s revelations but easily identified — was an unwitting part of a guardian’s bidding war between apparel companies.

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