Tom Keegan: What to make of Day 1 of college hoops trial

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) puts up a shot during a shoot around on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Interesting first day of the trial on the scandal that has the potential to rock college basketball.

So let’s try to figure out what’s going on.

The feds are trying to prove that Adidas officials, including Jim Gatto, defrauded universities by stripping athletes of their amateur status by paying them without the knowledge of the schools.

Gatto believes he has a Get Out of Jail Free card, and through his attorney, he made it public Tuesday in a New York City courtroom: Prove that he was following the marching orders of coaches by paying this player to go to that Adidas school and that player to go to this Adidas school.

So it comes down to this: Gatto rats out his friends and former business partners who work as college basketball coaches if that’s what he thinks he needs to do to maintain his freedom.

Saying something happened isn’t proving it happened, either in federal court or in the world of NCAA investigations. It has to be backed up with evidence.

Gatto will be viewed as someone who has a great deal riding on the jury believing him in saying the coaches were in on the payments. He has his freedom riding on it, so he’ll be viewed as a biased witness because he has so much riding on the outcome. His word won’t be nearly enough. He'll need credible evidence.

So will wiretaps reveal that coaches were orchestrating the payments?

My prosecutor friend’s guess would be no because if there were, one of two things likely would have happened: Either the coaches would be listed as co-conspirators, defrauding the very universities for which they work, or the feds would realize the schools weren’t being defrauded because the schools knew about the payments and would choose not to proceed with the case.

Interestingly, Gatto’s phone reportedly was wiretapped from Aug. 30, 2017, to Sept. 26, 2017. Aug. 30 happened to be the day that Silvio De Sousa told the Journal World’s Matt Tait that he was going to attend Kansas.

In the event the wiretaps reveal that Gatto paid or said he would pay De Sousa’s guardian, is Kansas free of NCAA sanctions if there is no proof KU’s coaches had any knowledge of it?

Not necessarily. The NCAA enacted a new rule in 2012 designed at closing the loophole that allowed Cam Newton to play for Auburn in the SEC and national championship games after the NCAA found that his father had shopped Newton for $200,000, but did not find that either Auburn or Newton knew anything about the deal.

This from an Associated Press story on the rule was 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.”

So that one could go either way, but we're getting way ahead of ourselves.

Let's go back to the federal case and away from the NCAA rulebook for the moment.

First, let’s take a look at how the feds might go about trying to prove that Gatto defrauded universities: Call chancellors and compliance officers to the stand to detail what lengths they go to in an attempt to comply with NCAA rules. How many compliance officers do you employ? How much money do you pay them? How do you educate student-athletes, coaches, boosters, etc. to give yourself the best shot at complying with NCAA rules?

Now let’s look at how the defense might proceed.

Gatto supplies every detail he can about coaches’ knowledge and/or instructions of his payments to student-athletes to try to prove he helped the universities by steering star players their way, which enabled those schools to generate big bucks. The defense calls those coaches as witnesses to testify under oath with the penalty of perjury, compelling them to either tell the truth or plead the Fifth.

It’s conceivable that a compliance officer could be called by the prosecution and the same school’s basketball coach could be called by the defense.

Good thing this drama playing out in a court room in New York City isn't a Western. I'd hate to be the wardrobe supervisor in charge of assigning the white and black cowboy hats.

Comments

Dale Rogers

The sad thing is that coaches who are falsely accused will be forever tainted by the accusation even though they are innocent.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Bryce Landon

Same is true of Brett Kavanaugh.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Shannon Gustafson

That one made me laugh...crazy that someone could watch that lying POS give his testimony and come out thinking he's innocent. He couldn't even answer simple questions without coming back with some "I don't know, did you" response, or just going silent, or crying. His old classmates are coming out of the woodwork to dispute his testimony as well. Even Fox News thought it was a bad look for him and the Republicans. Many of the Republicans in attendance thought her testimony was credible though...

1 week, 5 days ago

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Joe Black

Take off your democrat glasses, republican glasses, male glasses or female glasses and look at this from a true perspective. There is no proof of anything. Her testimony looked credible that something happened to her a long time ago but nothing to tie it to Brett Kavanaugh.
The broken system in which making a last second accusation is viewed as a viable strategy to take down an opponent is deplorable. By all accounts this weak accusation was known months before the confirmation hearings started but instead of trying to see "justice" served at the time it was known, the information was held onto until it could be used as a political ploy. If they really thought he was a threat to anyone then they would have used everything within their power to stop him the second they were informed.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Lawrence McGlinn

Since we are talking politics I will point out the most broken part of the system is that Merrick Garland, a moderate, is not on the Supreme Court. Instead, we have the ideologue Gorsuch, and we will have another soon. The Republicans have played dirty for years. The Democrats are finally getting the hang of it.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Doug Longstaff

Most reasonable people agree that Garland should have been given just consideration from the senate. It would have been perfectly acceptable for the majority to vote him down, if they didn't want him in. But refusing to conduct a hearing for him was a symptom of the nastiness that BOTH SIDES are guilty of.

(this slightly right-leaning centrist has said the last political thing he ever intends to say on a sports board)

1 week, 4 days ago

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Jack Hoff

Bryce, you couldn't be more right. It's her job to prove his guilt, not his job to prove his innocence. She had a chance to tell her story and provided no new details about the alleged assault. All she did was talk in her little victim voice for sympathy and presented nothing that connects Brett Kavanaugh to whatever happened to her. She did lie about being afraid of planes and knowing nothing about polygraph's even though she studies psychology. Tainted a man's life forever and said nothing of substance besides "I can't remember."

1 week, 4 days ago

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Gary McCullough

Jack, you couldn't be more wrong. This isn't a trial, it's a job interview. I've lost potential jobs for merely wearing the wrong tie. He is not entitled to this position. He must earn it by showing he has no taint of scandal. Thus far the evidence does not support him.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Joe Black

Actually all evidence supports him as in there is absolutely no evidence against him.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Shannon Gustafson

At this point it shouldn't matter, his antics thus far should be enough for everyone to think there HAS to be someone better than him to hold one of the most influential positions in the USA.

He's so emotional he can't even talk about lifting weights in a basement with his HS QB, or his (still alive) dad writing in a calendar, or other mundane things without having to stop and compose himself. Then there is the lying (under oath) about how much he drank (which isn't even something worth lying about so what's that say about things that actually matter?), plus these assault accusations, plus all of the other questionable stuff (lying about what a devil's triangle is, lying about what Renata alumni means, etc.).

He's got WAY too many flaws to be appointed to such an influential position even if you ignore the assault allegations.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Brian Wilson

Bryce, Good timing.....and now it looks like she has committed perjury, lied about claustrophobia and having a fear of flying, She blamed Kavanaugh and lied about her having to add a second door, and she apparently lied about ever giving tips or helping someone with a lie detector test.<br><br>
And so far, the only corroborating evidence we have on Brett is he drank a lot of beer, and he handed out Solo cups at parties at some party. Oh and let;s not forget his yearbook fart, dark attempts at being cool by what you say in the yearbook stuff. So far, absolutely no evidence of any crime.<br><br>
Sadly, I could tell you numerous stories of when people have lied against me in order to cover their own **** or for their own personal gain while getting me in trouble. Happens all the time.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Karen Mansfield-Stewart

“Saying something happened isn’t proving it happened, either in federal court or in the world of NCAA investigations. It has to be backed up with evidence.” What a quaint, old fashioned view of the law.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Bryce Landon

Don't tell that to the Democrats; it's too inconvenient for them in their quest to keep Brett Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Leon Trotter

I am sure they will keep that in mind if Kavanaugh ends up in court or the subject of an NCAA investigation.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Craig Carson

@Bryce..how about we leave politics out of this...if you wanna complain about Republican stuff, then Yahoo has a comment section..lets keep THIS section purely on Basketball

1 week, 4 days ago

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Dane Pratt

same can be sad about iowa football

1 week, 4 days ago

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Doug Longstaff

"His word won’t be nearly enough. He'll need credible evidence."

--I think the opposite is true. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, not the accused. And how on earth does the prosecution prove that the universities are innocent victims when they so obviously benefited from the defendant's illicit payments to players' families?

How do you ever prove the defendant's intent was to defraud the universities, when all of his actions scream that he was doing the best he could to help the universities not get caught?

Again, he doesn't have to prove anything. He only needs to create reasonable doubt. That really shouldn't be all that hard.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Dane Pratt

Unless someone at KU knew about the 20k I don't see how we take a fall. Bill has played by the book sitting Cliff and Billy for precautionary reasons would seem to bode well in our favor. What other schools have done that?

1 week, 5 days ago

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Craig Carson

I agree..Self has shown that he is willing to put his integrity and the program ahead of any player that might have infraction issues..KU really needed Preston last season and he still choose to sit him..

1 week, 4 days ago

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Marcus Balzer

If I’m KU I deny, deny and deny. Make them prove with clear and concrete evidence they can tie back agreeing the 20k to anyone directly associated with the men’s basketball program.

Maybe it’s just me but has the luster and intrigue behind this case all but wore off? It is barely being mentioned around the national media circuits.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Suzi Marshall

This is a story, like everyone else, I've been following very close. I'm with Tom in that determining who the good guys are is very difficult. We know the NCAA rules but what does the law say? If a coach or school is not aware of what's going on, can they be held liable for anything? Either answer opens all kinds of unwanted consequences. I predict the Adidas guys get off, nobody gets penalized...but the NCAA makes many needed changes.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Eric TheCapn

Yeah. If a school has action taken against them when it didn't know, I hope it sues the NCAA and it miraculously ends up dissolving the evil corporation that doesn't care at all about the $tudent-athlete$ it claims to represent. OK, back to reality....

1 week, 5 days ago

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Thomas Green

This case is incredibly weird! Someone please correct me if I’m missing something or am wrong about my assumptions.

The governments case hinges on fraud. If the universities or representatives of the universities, i.e. coaches, staff, et. al. knew of the payments there is no fraud therefore, no crime. I’m guessing paying a playing is not actually illegal, albeit against NCAA eligibility rules. Otherwise, the government would have Included a charge related to that act as part of their case. I only wish the government was so quick to act on my behalf if I were to be a victim of fraud! For some reason, I think not! Obviously the government likes this case because of the publicity afforded due to the subject at hand and the visibility of it all! I’m not saying the case should not be pursued, but to myself, it seems weird and weak at best!

I hope KU is a victim and did not in any way participate in this! I understand folks can go off the reservation and do things the University has no culpability for, but it still harms the reputation of our University!

As for Silvio, he is a kid and unfortunately kids get taken advantage of in far too many ways in our world. Luckily for him, he can recover from said adult behavior and have a great life! Unfortunately, I don’t see how he can play any more basketball at KU moving forward. I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see Self and the University playing someone that is in this situation, even if the young man knew nothing about it!

1 week, 4 days ago

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Brian Wilson

Well first, and I am kind of guessing here but, the cash transactions are happening across state lines. Hence the FBI. Second, being paid money to play for someone is taxable, and if the income is not reported, it's tax evasion. Third, I believe this falls under the definition of PAYOLA, which is paying someone money to promote their product through the abuse of one's position, influence, or abilities. And if I thought about it some more I could probably come up with some additional possible charges such as fraud, bribery, money laundering, etc.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Jeff Polaski

All they're doing is circumventing the salary cap for college basketball players. It's disgusting that universities don't allow players to make money on their own time while working a job at the university. They hide behind the NCAA and play the victim when it's found out that someone else was trying to circumvent the salary cap.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Barry Weiss

I would not play Silvio unless we had a letter signed by the NCAA in blood that it was ok.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Joe Ross

Even if we had that, future evidence (if it came forward) could make Silvio be declared retroactively ineligible, so the logic there doesn't quite hold. And yet at some point, I think I'm with you on the spirit of what you're getting at. There should be some threshold that gets met before Coach Self plays him, and I think this is actually his intuition. Perhaps the investigation so far as Silvio is concerned gets wrapped up. Perhaps the evidence against him is divulged and Silvio is interviewed by the NCAA relative to that evidence. Perhaps Kansas gets exonerated. I don't know what standards Coach Self and the Athletic Director have in mind before allowing De Sousa to play, but I'm sure they have them. But two thoughts. 1. If innocent (and I believe he is), what a terrible tragedy this is for Silvio. To be dragged into the net of this investigation makes you a loser even if you're innocent. Then there's the court of public opinion where there will always be a question mark hanging overhead about your eligibility. Sad deal. 2. In any case, I'd think the federal investigators and the NCAA would factor in that the clock on athletes such as Silvio is ticking while the investigation plays out, and innocent players may forfeit parts of their season because of this. I'd want to believe that might motivate them to move faster. We've known about these allegations for how long now and the thing is just now in court??? Wow! Of course the NCAA has never shown that kind of consideration to Kansas in other cases, so why would they do it here? Maddening.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Robert Brock

Why does adidas engage in sleezy activity like this? adidas is a huge company what with soccer etc. KU should 86 these bums.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Lawrence McGlinn

They going to pay KU Athletics $190 million over the next 10 years.

1 week, 4 days ago

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