There is a lot of news coming out surrounding the Kansas basketball program in the last couple of weeks. Kansas is an Adidas school and Adidas is on trial for paying and funneling college basketball players to certain programs. Kansas is the number one Adidas school, so they have been in the forefront of this trial.
For as long as I can remember there has been scuttlebutt that Kansas pays its players. Until now nobody ever knew exactly how they got away with it. With the evidence presented in the trial, we now know. To read a small sampling of how Kurtis Townsend and Bill Self coordinated high profile high school recruits to commit to Kansas, start reading here. While this is not testimony in the trial and was just mentioned by the defense team in the trial, it is quite obvious that they have evidence tied to what they mentioned in closing arguments. Once the FBI releases the evidence to the NCAA, the NCAA can begin to look into it.
What does all this mean? I have no idea. I am still pretty skeptical that the NCAA is going to take down one of the “blue bloods.” There has been plenty of evidence in the past that Kansas assistant Kurtis Townsend has been shady. Let’s take a look at the history of Townsend.
Townsend’s first assistant coaching job was at the University of California from 1993-1997. He worked directly under head coach Todd Bozeman, who was fired for paying $30,000 to Jelani Gardner. According to Wikipedia:
Bozeman was forced to resign in the fall of 1996, shortly before the start of the 1996-97 season. He admitted paying $30,000 over two years to the parents of Golden Bears recruit Jelani Gardner so they could drive from their home in Mendocino to see him play. When Gardner’s playing time dwindled, his parents turned Bozeman in to the NCAA and Gardner eventually transferred to Pepperdine. He had also been the subject of a sexual harassment complaint; just before the announcement he had been ordered to stay away from a former Cal student who had accused him of making lewd phone calls and threatening her.
As a result of a subsequent investigation, Cal had to forfeit the entire 1994–95 season and all but two games of the 1995–96 season. The school also vacated its appearance in the 1996 NCAA Tournament. The NCAA also imposed an eight-year “show-cause” order on Bozeman. The show-cause order meant that until 2005, no NCAA member school could hire Bozeman unless it either agreed to impose sanctions on him or convinced the NCAA that he had served his punishment. The NCAA came down particularly hard on Bozeman because he’d lied to school and NCAA officials about his role in making the payments and admitted it only a week before the NCAA hearing.
This was just the start of Townsend’s shady history. Townsend was an assistant coach at Michigan from 1998-2001 under head coach Brian Ellerbe. All of Ellerbe’s wins in his first two seasons at Michigan were later vacated as a result of the University of Michigan basketball scandal in which four players received money from booster Ed Martin. These infractions dated to the previous coaching staff, and Ellerbe himself was cleared of wrongdoing. It’s still worth mentioning that the program and boosters of the program were shady during the time Townsend was there.
Fact of the matter is that Kurtis Townsend and Bill Self have been in the mud of shady dealings in college basketball for quite some time. Will they get away with it yet again? Only time will tell.