Kansas is one of Adidas’ marquee basketball programs, which is why it was strange not to see them caught up in the college basketball corruption scandal from the beginning. Well, in federal court on Monday the dam finally broke, and Bill Self and his staff are smack dab in the middle of the flood.
While former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola testified that he didn’t believe Self and his staff were aware he was funneling money to players on their behalf, text messages tell a different story. The Jayhawks were definitely aware of Gassnola’s involvement in the recruitment of Silvio De Sousa.
Gassnola said he paid $90,000 to the mother of former Kansas player Billy Preston. He also claimed he agreed to give $20,000 to De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne, to get him “out from under” a pay-for-play deal with Maryland.
ESPN is reporting on the text message timeline, which is pasted below:
“I don’t remember the words, but Fenny told me he was under this umbrella from the [Maryland] booster,” Gassnola testified Monday.
On Aug. 9, 2017, Townsend texted Gassnola and wrote, “Coach Self just talked to Fenny let me know how it goes.”
A few hours later, Gassnola texted Self: “Hall of Fame. When you have 5 minutes and your [sic] alone call me.”
Later that night, after Self hadn’t responded, Gassnola texted him again: “I talked with Fenny.”
“We good,” Self asked via text.
“Always,” Gassnola replied. “That’s [sic] was light work. Ball is in his court now.”
The report continues:
On Aug. 26, 2017, Townsend forwarded Gassnola a text message that he said he’d received from Falmagne: “Coach has been on the phone with Angola. We are good to go. We will commit tomorrow.”
De Sousa, who attended IMG Academy, committed to Kansas four days later.
On Sept. 19, 2017, three days before Kansas announced that it had agreed to a 12-year, $191 million contract extension with Adidas, Gassnola texted Self and thanked him for helping the sponsorship deal get done.
Self responded: “I’m happy with Adidas. Just got to get a couple real guys.”
Gassnola replied: “In my mind, it’s KU, bill self. Everyone else fall into line. Too [expletive] bad. That’s what’s right for Adidas basketball. And I know I am RIGHT. The more you win, have lottery pics [sic] and you happy. That’s how it should work in my mind.”
Self responded: “That’s how ur works. At UNC and Duke.” Gassnola replied at Kentucky as well.
“I promise you I got this,” Gassnola wrote. “I have never let you down. Except Dyondre lol. We will get it right.”
When Michael Schacter, Gatto’s defense attorney, asked Gassnola if “Dyondre” was a reference to former Arizona player Deandre Ayton, Gassnola replied, “It is.”
This is damning for Self and company. Maybe they can claim they didn’t know money was changing hands, but it’s heavily implied that’s what’s happening here.
It’s also become increasingly clear this was happening all over college basketball and no one’s program is above reproach.