Payments to parents of KU recruits alleged



April 10, 2018 - 11:00 PM

College Basketball:

A new federal indictment in college basketball’s ongoing FBI investigation shines a light on players who attended Kansas.

According to charges from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, the families of two unidentified KU student-athletes are said to have benefited from illegal payments, which were made without the knowledge of the university.

Adidas executive James Gatto was among a group that beginning around October 2016 and continuing until around November 2017, “conspired to illicitly funnel approximately $90,000 from Company-1 (Adidas) to the mother of a top high school basketball player,” according to court documents. “The payments were made in connection with a commitment by the student-athlete to attend the University of Kansas, a school sponsored by (Adidas) and with the expectation that the student-athlete would sign with (Adidas) upon entering the NBA.”

The agreement formulated by Gatto funneled payments to the parent in a series of installments, according to court documents. The money was transferred indirectly through an AAU team.

The participants in the scheme also agreed to make payments to the legal guardian of another top-rated prospect.

On Aug. 30, 2017, the same day Silvio De Sousa announced he would play at KU, court documents say the prospect announced, in a “surprise” decision, he would not attend a school sponsored by a rival apparel company but would instead enroll at Kansas.

Court documents also say the prospect signed financial aid paperwork with Kansas on Nov. 13, 2017, which is the same day KU announced De Sousa had signed to play basketball for the Jay-hawks.

According to the charges, the payments were designed to be concealed from Kansas and the NCAA.

In Feburary, Yahoo Sports obtained expense-report documents that identify current and former NCAA players and/or their familial representatives. The documents reportedly originated from Christian Dawkins, who was one of 10 men arrested by the FBI in late September when the Bureau announced its two-yearlong sting into college basketball’s recruiting underworld.

Kansas coach Bill Self said after a day after the Yahoo story was reported: “Obviously it’s a concern of everybody involved in college basketball and it will get the proper attention, but that hasn’t been something — obviously, from a sport perspective, we’re all concerned, but from that perspective I know our people are on top of that.”

Self was scheduled to appear at Kansas’ annual basketball banquet Tuesday night.

Joe Monaco, director of strategic communications for the University of Kansas, issued a statement responding to the indictment.

“Earlier today, we learned that the University of Kansas is named as a victim in a federal indictment,” his statement read. “The indictment does not suggest any wrongdoing by the university, its coaches or its staff. We will cooperate fully with investigators in this matter. Because this is an active investigation, it is not appropriate for us to comment further at this time.”