As you may have heard, there was a bit of a scandal last year in regard to college basketball recruiting. After going under cover, tracking money, tapping phone lines, and checking bank statements, the FBI went after several coaches and shoe company representatives for manipulating the recruiting process.
While several names were thrown out across the country, perhaps the most direct impact on a top program was when ADIDAS consultant T.J. Gassnola testified that he personally gave $2,500 to the guardian of Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa. While Kansas has denied any knowledge of wrongdoing by their staff or De Sousa, they have held him out of competition while his eligibility is in question.
According to Seth Davis of The Athletic, Kansas has an interesting plan for how to speed up the process in getting De Sousa back on the court. Administration at Kansas plans to admit to the NCAA that a violation occurred, acknowledging the $2,500 payment. That would deem De Sousa immediately ineligible, at which point they would apply for immediate reinstatement.
Broke some news in Hoop Thoughts this morning for @TheAthleticCBB. Kansas is going to ask the NCAA to reinstate Silvio De Sousa immediately. Answer is likely coming this week. https://t.co/2213a2Gjay— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) January 14, 2019
Assuming a transaction of $2,500 did take place, the penalty for such a violation is for a player to be suspended for roughly 30% of the team’s games, according to Davis. With more than 30% of the season behind the Jayhawks, they are hoping for a “time served” sanction to be administered by the NCAA so that De Sousa will be able to play immediately.
It is no coincidence that this plan is being put into place at this point of the season, as Kansas big man Udoka Azubuike is lost for the season due to injury. The 15-2 Jayhawks still have the potential to be a title contender, and adding De Sousa would ease the blow of losing Azubuike in the frontcourt.
Will this tactic work? Only time will tell. The NCAA is a fairly unpredictable organization. But Bill Self and company believe the plan may just be crazy enough to work.
If it does, it may come in time for the Jayhawks to have him vs. the Kentucky Wildcats on Jan. 26. That’s a game Kentucky badly needs to win to stay in the hunt for a high seed in March, not to mention give this team the confidence that they can beat a title contender. It will be a close game, and having De Sousa could be a game-changer in that contest.