Bill Self Named in College Basketball Corruption Trial, Text Messages Shown in Court

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Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola has maintained that Kansas basketball coaches had no knowledge of his payments to players and their families.

Kansas coach Bill Self was named Monday in the federal trial concerning alleged corruption and fraud in college basketball, reports Adam Zagoria.

According to Zagoria, AAU coach and Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola testified that former Adidas executive Jim Gatto told him that he got a call from Bill Self thanking him after Silvio De Sousa committed to Kansas. 

Gassnola testified he never talked payments to De Sousa’s guardian with Self or assistant coach Kurtis Townsend. Gassnola has maintained that Kansas basketball coaches had no knowledge of his payments to players and their families.

Text messages between Gassnola, Self and Townsend were presented in court as evidence Monday to show that staff might have known about Gassnola’s involvement.

Gassnola finished testifying Monday and the judge told the jury to be ready to deliberate this week.

Last week, Gassnola testified he provided payments to the players and families of five players: DeAndre Ayton (currently on the Pheonix Suns’ roster), Billy Preston (who withdrew from Kansas last season without playing in a game for the Jayhawks), De Sousa (currently on Kansas’s roster), Brian Bowen (who signed with Louisville, left in November and landed at South Carolina where he never became eligible) and Dennis Smith (whom the Mavericks made the No. 9 pick in 2017 after one season at NC State).

Gassnola testified that he never sent $20,000 to De Sousa’s guardian but he did send him $2,500. He testified that a Maryland booster paid De Sousa’s guardian $60,000 during recruitment. The money had to be paid back for DeSousa to attend Kansas, which is when Gassnola offered $20,000 to help. He never made the payment, but he did pay De Sousa’s guardian $2,500 in a separate situation.

When asked, Gassnola said Self “never” knew about the payments to Billy Preston’s family for $89,000. Kansas discovered wire transfers from Gassnola to Preston’s mother, Nichelle Player, during an investigation into an on-campus car accident involving Preston. Player lied to Kansas and said she and Gassnola were in an intimate relationship to try and make the payments legal in the eyes of the NCAA.

Earlier this year, Gassnola agreed to plead guilty to a wire fraud conspiracy charge stemming from his work with Adidas to persuade recruits, and he agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors, meaning he turned over any emails, texts and other documents. According to CBS Sports’s Matt Norlander, Gassnola testified to conspiring with Gatto, former Adidas employee Merl Code and Christian Dawkins to conceal payments from schools and the NCAA. 

Testimony from Brian Bowen Sr. revealed that several prominent basketball schools, including but not limited to Louisville, had offered him significant sums of money as bribes for his son’s commitment to their programs. Bowen Sr. testified that his son or son’s mother knew nothing of the under-the-table money. 

Bowen Sr. is testifying in exchange for immunity as the government looks to convict Dawkins, Gatto and Code of defrauding universities by paying players without the school’s knowledge.

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