KU acknowledges having received federal subpoena in ongoing FBI investigation into college basketball

Kansas freshman Silvio De Sousa gets up for a pre-game dunk at Texas Tech, on Feb. 24, 2018.

The University of Kansas has “tacitly acknowledged” it has been subpoenaed by federal officials as part of a broad investigation into college basketball, according to a report by Yahoo Sports.

Yahoo Sports filed an open records request seeking any subpoenas KU has received related to the federal college basketball investigation since September 2017. KU officials acknowledged they had documents "responsive" to the request, but declined to turn over any of those documents. KU officials, however, added they are "cooperating with the government inquiry."

The revelation comes four days after the University of Maryland acknowledged it had received a federal subpoena on June 29 related to its recruitment of KU forward Silvio De Sousa, a sophomore from Angola, who ultimately signed to play for Kansas and appeared in 20 games for the Jayhawks during their run to the 2018 Final Four.

It is unclear when KU was subpoenaed, and KU did not provide any information about whether information regarding De Sousa was the subject of the subpoena. De Sousa, however, has been linked to the investigation since April, when a federal indictment alleged a guardian of a Kansas basketball recruit received improper payment through a shoe company representative.

According to both Tuesday’s report and KU’s response, which was obtained by the Journal-World on Tuesday morning, Yahoo’s request was denied on the basis of the following exemptions from the Kansas Open Records Act:

• A federal law known as the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which, according to a government web site, “protects the privacy of student education records.”

• An exemption that states that public records containing information of a personal nature where the public disclosure thereof would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

• A criminal investigation provision, which Mike Leitch, Associate General Counsel for KU, explained via email was relevant because the superseding indictment filed in April “has not identified any University student or employee by name.” The indictment did, however, reference the guardian of a KU player who committed to KU on Aug. 30, 2017 (the same date as De Sousa’s commitment) as having taken a $20,000 payment from an Adidas employee.

Yahoo’s initial request for the documents was sent, via email, on April 10 and KU — the university not the athletic department — responded on April 13.

In an article titled, “Why Maryland Receiving FBI Subpoenas Should Worry Other College Programs, Basketball Players,” written last week by Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann in the wake of the Maryland news, McCann on a couple of occasions pointed out exactly what it means to be subpoenaed.

“It is worth stressing that being subpoenaed does not imply wrongdoing,” McCann wrote. “A subpoena is a request that compels production of documents or witness statements relevant to a case or investigation. Many persons and businesses that have done nothing wrong can be subpoenaed.”

Both De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne, and KU officials, including head basketball coach Bill Self, have maintained that De Sousa has done nothing to jeopardize his status for the 2018-19 season.

On April 10, the university released the following statement regarding the superseding indictment.

“Earlier today, we learned that the University of Kansas is named as a victim in a federal indictment. 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.”

As recently as last month, both Self and De Sousa reiterated that they were not concerned about the 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward’s status for the upcoming season.

“I haven’t heard one thing to the contrary,” said Self when asked if he thought the sophomore from Angola who joined the KU program last December after reclassifying and leaving high school a year early, would be able to play during the 2018-19 season. “All our guys were cleared by the NCAA. They were eligible last year and we haven’t heard anything that that was not the case still.”

Self also classified KU as being “in a good place” with regard to De Sousa’s status.

Added De Sousa, during a brief interview at Washburn basketball camp: “Of course I’m confident I’m going to play this year. No worries at all.”

Comments

James Miller

I am glad they are investigating now. Hopefully this means we will have resolution before the season starts.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Ashwin Rao

Are you kidding me... usually they take months (not sure what they do there!) to show any action, if at all.. All our guys who had issues ended up leaving Kansas!

1 month, 1 week ago

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['']

"....maintained that De Sousa has done nothing wrong." No, not Silvio -- but it appears that his idiot guardian did and jeopardized Silvio AND KU while he lined his pockets. Dumb#$%

1 month, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Pot meet kettle.

There is an accusation against Silvio's guardian by a criminal. That's all.

1 month, 1 week ago

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John Fitzgerald

Regardless if this is De Sousa's fault or not (which is appears not to be) he'll still be the one to suffer from it. Meaning no way he ever suits up for KU again. Another situation where a player is punished for the ignorant acts of the agents and their guardians. I get it, these players generate a ton of money and they feel like they deserve to be paid. I mean, technically they do, but per the NCAA rules they don't. It puts these guys in between a rock and a hard place and instead of following the rules they try to sneak by and take money from other sources. Something has to change though. The NCAA can't continue to punish players for their parents/guardians getting paid outside of the Universities. It's not like they're stealing anything.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Craig Carson

I like Silvio, but if playing him means they might have to vacate games later down the road, Id rather they sit him until things are cleared up..its not fair for Silvio and its not fair for KU..but id like to be able to enjoy this upcoming season without the lingering thought of "I hope this all still counts in a few months" but I wish the NCAA would just pursue the parent, guardian or whomever and leave the kid alone...

1 month, 1 week ago

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Marius Rowlanski

You guys are on opposite sides of the same coin. I also think Silvio seems to be the only one who is actually going to be punished by not allowing him to play but to risk having any wins or postseason games later vacated is too much of a risk to take.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Jay Scott

This stuff is critically important and truly a matter of national security.......

The FBI has become a total joke.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Teddy Fields

Indeed. Remember... The schools are the "victims".

1 month, 1 week ago

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Bryce Landon

The FBI has been a joke for a while, and we have Obama and Comey to thank (or blame, as the case may be) for that.

1 month, 1 week ago

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['']

Of course - wait you idiots forgot to blame the Clintons and Jimmy Carter too...

1 month, 1 week ago

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Tom Jones

Leave your political crap elsewhere. This is a sports message board.

Thanks,

Management

1 month, 1 week ago

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['']

AMEN!

1 month, 1 week ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Dude. Seriously. Let's leave politics out of this. There are lots of other places better formatted for bashing in your head against the wall. Repeatedly.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Suzi Marshall

Is there something new or unexpected with this article and the one by Yahoo Sports? This seems like an attempt to recycle old or expected events to insure interest remains high, which it will regardless of the seemly weak reports.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Jacob Zutterman

Exactly. It's not like we didn't see this coming or at the very least blindsided by it

1 month, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

I hadn't heard of KU getting the supoena. There was a story a day or so ago about Maryland. It's not shocking by any stretch of the imagination that KU would get one, but it is new - at least to me.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Barry Weiss

this whole thing is fishy. it is not going away. there comes a time when it may be best to part ways with anything dragging KU's name through the mud.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Michael Leiker

I hope we play him no matter what. Tell the NCAA to shove it. They’ve created the mess that is college basketball recruiting. Can’t keep holding up kids careers and leaving them in limbo for months to years waiting on them to investigate whether some guy took money from another guy. Who cares. They can say all the games are vacated they want to say are vacated but I’ll still remember watching them.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Thomas Green

Speaking of the FBI being a joke, should they not have issued these subpoenas as part of a thorough and complete investigation prior to charging folks and destroying people’s lives and reputations? Just curious.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Jaston Archie

It's ironic that the year Self has one of the worst recruiting years ever is when the FBI launches an investigation into the program

1 month, 1 week ago

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Tom Jones

Worst? LMAO

1 month, 1 week ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Not a comment that anyone following Kansas recruiting would make.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Robert Brock

I don’t mind that the FBI is looking into some of the sleaze in college basketball - and bringing subpoena power unlike the feeble NCAA.

I just wish the Feds would speed it up a tad.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Andy Hess

Yahoo: give us the documents.
KU: No.
Yahoo: AHA! SEE YOU ADMIT IT I KNEW IT!

A classic Yahoo hitpiece from that pile of human garbage, Pat Forde.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Lance Hobson

No way this guy plays for KU again. Hopefully the fallout from this won’t be too devastating but it probably will be.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Craig Carson

Honestly, with so many programs involved and it looking more like the schools were victims and not active participants, the penalties could be slight or even nonexistent...I dont see any school having to vacate games

1 month, 1 week ago

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Danny Hernandez

Silvio will be fine, he'll be playing for Kansas again.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Curtis Hedrick

I agree.

Anyone tied to DeSousa will be subpoenaed. Is there a statute of limitations with the NCAA for these types of things? Cause with the FBI probe this could take awhile to process. Or is it like anything else with the NCAA, they make up the rules as they go along.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Ryan Zimmerman

Love the kid, but I keep saying and will keep saying that Silvio won't play again. Sucks but this will grow and grow by the time the season comes around. Self won't play him to avoid issues, no final answer will come, and Silvio leaves in the spring.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Marius Rowlanski

You don't really think that Self will allow this *situation to fester* and become a major distraction do you?

1 month, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Ya, Coach is probably just lying to us.

Or just before the season he'll hold a presser and start with "Psych! You actually believed me? Just yanking you."

1 month, 1 week ago

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Brian Conrad

EVERYONE MISSING POINT. NCAA has already cleared Silvio !
FBI Does not have power to vacate wins . NCAA Already cleared him so unless they would come back and reverse ruling. He plays. They can not vacate wins he was CLEARED TO PLAY.

4 weeks, 1 day ago

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