Tom Keegan: Count on Silvio De Sousa rebounding from scandal

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) laughs on the bench with his teammates during the second half, Thursday, March 8, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Silvio De Sousa remains a member of the Kansas basketball program, but will he ever play another game for the Jayhawks? Probably not.

To believe otherwise would be to believe that the NCAA would ignore all the FBI-generated evidence in the federal indictment pointing to De Sousa’s guardian taking money from Adidas to attend Kansas, after he used other Adidas money to repay another unnamed shoe company (Under Armour), which had steered De Sousa to attend an unnamed university (Maryland).

Next, if the guardian is proven to have taken money from Adidas, the NCAA would have to do for De Sousa what it did for Cam Newton, which is allow him to play based on the belief that he was ignorant to the misdeeds of someone shopping him.

Not so fast.

This from an Associated Press story released Jan. 11, 2012: “The Division I Amateurism Cabinet sponsored legislation that would include family members and other third parties who shop an athlete's services to schools for financial gain. The Division I Legislative Council passed the proposal Wednesday.”

That slammed shut the loophole that enabled Cam Newton to play for Auburn in the SEC and national championship games after the NCAA found that his father had shopped him for $200,000, but did not find that either Auburn or Newton knew anything about the arrangement.

De Sousa’s guardian denied to the Journal-World and other media outlets that he received payments. Why wouldn’t he? He wasn’t under oath. Why cop to something before it has been proven?

For what reason would the Adidas associates invent payments to a guardian out of thin air? How could that possibly benefit them?

Let’s say that the allegations in the indictment are true about multiple shoe companies cutting deals with the guardian and let’s also assume De Sousa knew nothing about it.

In that case, the only one to feel sorry for in this mess is De Sousa, who came from Angola to the United States to attend three-and-a-half years of high school with the goal of eventually becoming a professional basketball player.

That’s not to say De Sousa’s dream is dead, even if he doesn’t get to play another college basketball game. He’s smart, driven and talented. His body and game are developed enough that he could earn G League playing time as soon as next year and eventually work his way into an NBA playing career. He has all the qualities of a great rebounder, which makes me believe he'll rebound from this mess and go onto a lucrative career.

Comments

Suzi Marshall

Tom, this speculation may be a bit premature. Let's see what the Rice report has to say and what comes out during discovery in the Adidas trial, which is scheduled for Oct. 1. However, that Oct. 1 trial will surely be delayed several months. Before doing anything, I suspect the Rice suggestions, which will be adapted quickly by the NCAA, will decriminalize third party deals. The NCAA will surely come down hard on schools that conspired to defraud their universities (i.e. Louisville, AZ) but may go easy on those schools that are victims (Kansas). Kansas should appeal to the NCAA for special clearance for de Sousa.

I don't believe Gatto will be found guilty of any crimes because he did nothing illegal. The guilty parties will be those who knowingly defrauded state institutions, i.e. those assistance coaches. The players and their parents/agents could also be liable but the FBI would never pursue those charges, which technically are illegal but wrong on so many levels.

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Silvio will be retired from a long NBA career before the NCAA clears him and the FBI discovers a crime.

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

hope you are right..id like to see KU keep all their wins and DeSousa be cleared to play

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Allan Olson

If this "bad actor" situation was the only one, I'd say lets just move on. But its just another of this teams' waste of a scholarship on a 5 star pile of trouble. Self needs to take his scholarship and get busy finding one or two 3 or 4 star BIGS for 2018-19 and beyond. Transfers and Juco's apply here! It seems these 5 star prima donnas are not worth the baggage. And, maybe filing a lawsuit against Addidas for punitive damages?

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

Brilliant!

Let's not recruit the best players so we can create other negative scenarios to fixate on.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Allan Olson

How's that plan been working for you? My issues are not with recruiting the best guards and forwards, welcome those 5 star guys. Its the money and high school transcript crap associated with out past big men. Remember our best teams under Self had 3 to 5 year bigs anchoring both ends!

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

The fact that the problems have been with the bigs and not guards is nothing but coincidence. The highly touted guards are no more "safe" to recruit than the bigs if you're concerned about shoe company payments and such.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Allan Olson

Look at the KU recent history, what OAD guards and shooting forwards have we had any problems? And how do you really know what in the hell you're talking about?

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Benz Junque

Josh Selby. And then Xavier Henry had some serious eh.... chemistry issues with the team thanks largely to his annoying ass father and the insane amount of pressure he put on Xavier.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Reggie Flenory

If if was a 5th we all be drunk. All this iff stuff lets just operate under the assumption gulity until proven innocent

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

I might not like what you're drinking. Makers Mark?

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Tim Orel

Isn't that Rick Pitino's brand of choice?

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

For $500,000 in support of UofL’s Academic Center of Excellence.

I don't think he realized it would be served with strippers.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Pius Waldman

I agree with Suzi the recommendations by the Rice group will have a huge effect on what the NCAA will do in the future. If a parent has an AAU team sponsored by Nike or Addidas and their children play on the team which means a benefit how can that cause a player to be ineligible to play college ball. Maybe same if a parent benefits from shoe companies why does that make a player ineligible.
Other sports don't follow that line of eligibility.

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Well, I did say De Sousa might be an OAD but this isn't what I was expecting.

Thank you, Silvio for a special postseason performance.

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Troy Brodhagen

I’m not saying they didn’t take the money, but I would ask the following question. What evidence do they have that these parents/guardians actually took the money? Besides the people this indictment focuses on and their records, what is there? If there is no deposit or other proof showing the money changing hands, what’s to say the runner or AAU Team actually paid the cash? Their word isn’t worth much and even if the AAU team shows a cash withdrawal how do they know that individual didn’t just pocket the cash? They would tell the others involved that they did give it and even document it to justify where the money had gone? Not naive enough to say it didn’t happen, but interested in where the actual hard evidence is to show the guardian received it.

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Brian Leslie

Troy, you get people deposed under oath with penalty of perjury to discover this kind of thing. You flip defendants to move up the chain. If SDS's guardian took the money and never declared it, he is in trouble for tax evasion as well as how the FBI is construing this as fraud. He would have to be looking for a way to plead it down by becoming a cooperating witness. If he goes the other way and lies under oath AND committed tax evasion and fraud, he's doing prison time.

Also, once the FBI discovers how money was laundered/disguised in these payouts for one player, it presumably has the template on how it was done for others, and it becomes much easier to trace. Also, the FBI has apparently been wiretapping thousands of hours of conversations -- I assume they know most of how the operation worked. They also have emails and physical evidence.

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

While all that is true Brian, Troy's point is also valid. Where is the evidence that these criminals have been honest/accurate in any of their dealings. Putting a criminal under oath doesn't make him/her honest.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tommy Zebman

Don't think the IRS is interested in this type of money. Pay the taxes, interest, and a slight penalty and the issue will be gone via mail correspondence. Too busy to waste on small cases like this. FBI should be too busy. Only rational is NCAA request based on trying to keep the overall system clean.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jesse Johnson

This situation is the perfect example of how the NCAA's polices are geared to hurt rather than benefit the players. Look at Silvio. He came to America from Africa. He doesn't understand or know about the seedy underbelly of money exchanging in the billion dollar industry that is college sports. All he knows is that he has natural gifts and has an opportunity to go make a better life for himself playing basketball on the other side of the world from his family. Now his future is in jeopardy because he was misguided by the only people he thought he could trust. If anyone is a victim here its Silvio. It's wrong and disgusting for the NCAA, which rakes in billions thanks to the hard work and talents of these players to punish these kids for something out of their control.

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Mike Riches

100% correct!

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Tim Orel

Silvio is bright - he knows corruption exists in the world. It isn't as if Africa doesn't have examples of its own. He knows people will lie and cheat for money. So to say he doesn't know or understand about these issues is to really sell his intelligence short. I'm not saying he knew what was supposedly happening with his situation - I'm doubtful he did. But I just believe he knows this stuff does go on.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Lawrence McGlinn

He was like 14 when he came over. I would not put much responsibility on him for the situation. I cannot believe, however, that coaches don't know how this works. How do young Africans get to IMG? Nobody is making money from that? C'mon man! I agree with the concept of getting 3 and 4 star players who will stay 4 years and working with them. We may not win as many Big 12 championships, but the NC is just lightning in a bottle, anyway, so it would still make for a fun season to follow without the questions about who's getting paid.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Benz Junque

You're Assuming that the payment to DeSousa's guardian actually happened, which at this point isn't a safe assumption. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the runner was simply telling his boss that he was making all of these payments to recruits or their families but was actually just pocketing the money for his own use.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Barry Weiss

wow Tom, I was not aware that loop hole had been closed. Given that, is it also likely that KU will be penalized now?

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Joe Ross

Kansas may or not be penalized, but there is a way that the closing of the loophole COULD cost Kansas a Final Four appearance. Here is how:

1. The closing of the loophole after the Cam Newton situation has ramifications upon the *eligibility* of the student to play in college sports. IF De Sousa's family or guardians can be shown to have taken money, the reading of the rule makes it clear that De Sousa's eligibility could be rescinded.

2. What the Derrick Rose situation taught us was that even though you've been cleared by the NCAA and declared eligible prior to playing (as De Sousa himself was), discovery of facts by the NCAA afterward can still lead to being declared *retroactively ineligible*.

3. As in the DR situation, a retroactively ineligible player who plays for a Final Four team can cause that appearance to be vacated.

I don't know if you can determine the actual likelihood or probability of Kansas' being penalized because of the closing of the loophole, but your concern is justified. If Kansas has to vacate a Final Four appearance, it will center around this very issue.

What's interesting to me is how the FBI employs the word "victim" as it relates to Kansas. To be victimized, one would have to show that Kansas has lost money or some form of legal consideration. Clearly, Kansas has NOT been victimized *under law*. The ONLY way that we would be victimized is if we lose our Final Four appearance, but the FBI doesn't have jurisdiction over that, nor can it seek prosecution over matters decided upon by a self-governing institution.

Kansas won't be handed down post-season bans, scholarship restrictions, or anything of the sort by the NCAA due to the University's lack of knowledge.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

Kansas is a victim because they lost the scholarship money provided to SDS.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Joe Ross

I agree that there is the *potential* for that at this point, but as yet this matter has not been adjudicated. Yet we are named by the FBI as victims *already!!!* As in right NOW!

How?

We have not lost scholarship money...yet.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tommy Zebman

Well without the loophole, they need some kind of procedure that will allow schools like KU to not be unfairly penalized. NCAA did not finish the job when they changed the rule. Perhaps signed attestations from closest relatives/guardians with automatic financial penalties if violated. Seems ridiculous, but the way it is now is also ridiculous.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Joe Ross

I don't disagree. Not one bit. I don't like the term "retroactively ineligible", at least insofar as it can be connected to the University the athlete played for. It seems to me that if there is no wrongdoing on the part of the school, and the review of a player by the NCAA led them to declare him eligible, then short of any new discovery on the part of the NCAA that the school was, in fact, actually *complicit* in the circumstances leading to the player's ineligibility, then the school should not be penalized. The NCAA could levy punishment by banning the student in participation in college athletics for life, or by having the student and family sign an agreement that they will not take money from agents or representatives and then sue for breach of contract if they are found guilty of this. Of course I wouldn't prefer that system (I prefer one where the athletes can be paid), but short of Emmert's lack of appetite to do the right thing, there is yet a way to punish the student and/or the family without involving an unsuspecting University.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Larry D. Leonard

The NCAA action should apply prospectively. Let's hope that is so.

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Clarence Haynes

Silvio might go to Spain.

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Brian Leslie

Good point, he speaks Portugese / Spanish / some French.

5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Why? He's not from there and doesn't speak the language.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

"For what reason would the Adidas associates invent payments to a guardian out of thin air? How could that possibly benefit them?"

This presumes that the AA did invest payments to a guardian. Could there be a reason for AA (convicted felon?) to falsify payments to a guardian? If the payment was never made, but the player went to the desired school anyway, then the CF/AA is tens of thousands of dollars rich and who's checking where the money's gone?

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Lawrence McGlinn

I believe there is money made by someone, not the athlete, at each and every stage from Africa to IMG to KU. Do people think young Africans just save their pennies and get on a plane to Florida? An investigation of schools like IMG would be very interesting. I am not sure how they even exist as "educational institutions." They are contractors for college sports and shoe companies, and they deliver athletes. College sports are really fun to watch, but the underbelly is lucrative, sometimes ugly, and best ignored by coaches and fans alike.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

The athletes are definitely not saving their pennies to come to the states/school, but that doesn't mean that anything illegal is happening. Scholarships to private schools happen all the time, and are acceptable even by the NCAA. Even in the case like Enis Kanter's, when he played for a professional team overseas, it wasn't that he played for a professional team that made him ineligible. It eventually became a matter of him receiving more $ than covering his costs. IMG is obviously a successful business model, but that does not make it illegal or a violation of NCAA rules.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Lawrence McGlinn

i am not saying it is illegal, just that whoever pays to get kids over here from wherever does not do it out of the goodness of their heart. They expect to get paid by someone, somehow. It is probably shoe companies. Who else would it be? With the scope and financial success of this business model the whole idea of amateurism seems kind-of irrelevant.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tony Bandle

Haiku:

Silvio will soon be gone.

What has been done, has been done.

KU; time to move on.

[This haiku composed with a sad heart].

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Barry Weiss

such a shame. that kid was coming on strong and would have been a major contributor to our team next year.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tom Jones

Silvio is only one syllable?!?!

;)

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Cary Ediger

Jay Bilas gives better understanding on what might happen.

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/coll...

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Why hasn't Silvio decided to test the NBA waters? I think he would be picked higher than Udoka.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Troy Brodhagen

Brian- I understand how all this works, but nothing in your detailed answer speaks to my question. Maybe they have more than the word or documents of the people they are indicting, they very well could. However, your last statement says it all, you ‘assume’ they know most of how this operation worked.

This may or may not mean anything but it’s interesting to analyze. If you read the indictment carefully it seems that they use specific dates for certain things and then around certain days or months.

For instance, 41.d - On January 18, 2017....this would appear to be an actual payment from Adidas to the AAU team that would likely be easily verified through Adidas’ records. However, with many of the other alleged encounters or actions they are less specific. Is this because they are leaving room for error or relying on the word of these shady people?

What’s more, they specifically refer to phone conversations several times in the indictment. Considering they refer to these conversations, I would assume that if they had wiretaps between the accused and parents/guardians they would refer to these phone conversations as well. To me it’s curious that they don’t. Also, if the parent was dumb enough to deposit the cash, it’s likely they would refer to this as further proof that the transaction did happen. But I’m no lawyer so maybe this isn’t something that would be revealed at this juncture.

I also find it interesting that said athlete committed to Kansas on August 30th (42.b.), but CC-3 didn’t inform Gatto they need to pay the $20,000 until September 11 (42.c.). Considering they needed to pay the other company back, why would De Sousa commit before they had the means to do that? This could point to the fact that DeSousa didn’t know about it or it was made up by CC-3 knowing the situation of him now wanting to go to Kansas.

Again, I’m not saying there aren’t more details to prove guilt or that they are innocent. It just seems that so far much of what they are relying on is the word of apparent criminals. Why would it benefit them to lie? Deflecting blame and trying to take as many people down with you? Possibly giving the FBI what they want to hear might get them a deal? This cash was right in their hands and it would be all to easy to just say they gave it to the player. Once that money train starts it’s hard to stop. That’s how large embezzlement at company’s starts and it’s a similar situation. If they admit they pocketed it, now they don’t only have them for all of this but tax evasion.

Just my book of thoughts, as crazy and random as they may be! Lol

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Benz Junque

The wiretaps were on calls between the shoe company runner and the shoe company, not between the runner and the parent/recruit.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Benz Junque

"For what reason would the Adidas associates invent payments to a guardian out of thin air? How could that possibly benefit them?"

Eh, this one is easy. To explain what happened to money that they instead pocketed themselves. I truly believe that these runners were saying they needed money to give to recruits and their families and instead keeping the money for themselves. Why wouldn't they? Their employers write off much of these payments knowing that they do not result in the kids involved ever signing with them.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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David Reynolds

Tom you asked the following question above: "For what reason would the Adidas associates invent payments to a guardian out of thin air? How could that possibly benefit them?"

The answer may come from a statement made, by Jay Williams, on a College Game Day show this past winter.

During a discussion, on the College Game Day show, regarding the FBI investigation Jay said, paraphrasing, "The folks making these payments feel underpaid. He heard sometimes they make up lists saying they made payments when they didn't and thus compensate themselves as they feel they should be compensated."

The FBI case against Silvio's guardian is based on correlation, not causation. That is, Silvio signed on the same day the Adidas rep says, on his list, that he paid the guardian.

It seems to me this is a straight forward problem to solve...follow the money. By subpoenaing the bank accounts of those involved, records either substantiating or disproving the allegations should be found. If Adidas is the offender then there has to be a record of money transfers within the Adidas accounts to the associates, and then within the associates accounts to the athletes' families/guardians. Even if final transactions were cash, there has to be a trail of initial sums of money.

Personally I don't see why some of these allegations are taking so long. If there is evidence present the evidence. Let's not create innuendo and hurt people, athletes, & institutions.

For the FBI the case must be "tax fraud". What I am sensing is the FBI wants to make one big grandstanding case regarding tax fraud within college athletics. Self-aggrandizement at it's worst.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Cedric Spire

DeSousa was already 18 at the time wasn't he? If so the guardian is no longer a guardian and if DeSousa new nothing about it how could he be held liable?
Also how about Ayton he was cleared in a week after FBI allegations.

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Ervin O'Neal

A little off topic, but I'm curious why we are we not hearing anything about tax evasion charges from the IRS? It is hard to believe that:
1) These major shoe companies have representatives with annual budgets in the millions for covertly distributing millions of dollars to the families and representatives of these athletes without issuing 1099's or withholding taxes.
2) The FBI has proof that several of these payments were made.
3) And given the first two, the IRS has not shown up at the accounting offices for these shoe companies with warrants to confiscate all records.

We spend so much time and effort trying to adjust the rules to the current environment. But if CEO's and CFO's were held more accountable for the illegal transactions of their companies, we wouldn't be in this situation. What CFO could honestly say he or she has reviewed the annual budget and expenditures of a department like this and then claim they weren't aware of how 90% of the budget was being spent?

5 months, 3 weeks ago

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