Kansas AD: Faith in NCAA 'shaken' following Silvio De Sousa ruling

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas athletic director Jeff Long grew emotional Saturday in his response to the NCAA's punishment of sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa, who was declared ineligible for this season and next because his guardian had received impermissible benefits.

During a brief news conference before the Kansas-Texas Tech game, Long said the school had provided the NCAA with all documents or information requested, and had held De Sousa out of competition in good faith all season.

"I have always respected the NCAA and trusted the process, but I must tell you that my faith has been shaken," Long said. "We stand behind our student-athletes when we believe they've been wronged."

At issue is not whether De Sousa's guardian, Fenny Falmagne, accepted a $2,500 payment from former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola to steer the prospect to Kansas. Rather, it's whether De Sousa, a native of Angola, had any knowledge of the pay-for-play scheme or benefited from it in any way.

De Sousa's name came up during Gassnola's testimony last summer amid the FBI's corruption probe into college basketball. Gassnola acknowledged making the payment to Falmagne, but he steadfastly denied coach Bill Self or anybody associated with Kansas knew of it.

Still, Long said the NCAA would consider De Sousa's reinstatement only under two conditions: The school had to declare him ineligible, which it did Jan. 13, and Kansas had to identify Gassnola as an agent or booster of its program "only as a hypothetical for the purposes of reinstatement."

"We disagreed on Gassnola's role in all of it," Long said.

But with no other alternatives, Long said Kansas agreed to the conditions and began the reinstatement process. That dragged on for three weeks before the NCAA handed down its punishment.

Kansas responded with a swift statement late Friday in which it vowed to challenge the decision.

"I do feel our university will do whatever they humanly can to create a situation to put our best foot forward to get that penalty reduced, without question," Self said Saturday. "I know that Jeff and our chancellor are on board with fighting for [De Sousa] -- not that you wouldn't fight for every student-athlete, you should. But this one is a little more special the way he's handled everything so far."

Self said that De Sousa has remained upbeat throughout the uncertainty, and he has remained a key part of Jayhawks practice. He will still be allowed to practice with the team and, assuming the NCAA grants him a waiver, will be allowed to accompany the team on road trips the rest of the season.

"Nothing really surprises me based on recent things we've read about other institutions," Self said, "but I would say that I don't think it's time for us to move on. I don't think we go into this planning on having him -- we prepare like we don't, and if we ever get him it would be a bonus. But regardless of the situation, we have to and should and want to fight and advocate for him."

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard was much more succinct.

"The NCAA does what they do," Beard said after his No. 16 Red Raiders were routed by the 11th-ranked Jayhawks 79-63, "stuff that makes no sense."

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.