Bill Self: College basketball model 'must change'

From ESPN - October 13, 2017

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said Friday that he's more concerned about his sport than potential problems for the Jayhawks, in regard to the ongoing federal investigation into bribery in college basketball.

"I do not think our fans, at this point, have anything to worry about," Self said.

The Kansas program came under public suspicion after the Sept. 26 arrests of assistant coaches at Arizona, USC, Auburn and Oklahoma State. They are among a group of 10 people charged with fraud and corruption.

The FBI probe has focused on large payments made to coaches to steer NBA-bound prospects toward sports agents, financial advisers and apparel companies. Louisville coach Rick Pitino lost his job because of his program's alleged illegal involvement with an elite prospect.

Adidas executive Jim Gatto and Merl Code Jr., a former Clemson star employed by the apparel company, were among those arrested. Kansas announced last month that it had reached a 12-year contract extension with Adidas to pay the school an additional $191 million in sponsorship and apparel.

Self said Friday that he knows Gatto but that they had not communicated since news of the scandal broke. The Hall of Fame coach, entering his 15th season at Kansas, said he was surprised by FBI findings of six-figure payments made to coaches and prospects.

"What's not surprising is third-party involvement in recruiting," Self said at Kansas' preseason media day. "Everybody should know that. That's prevalent everywhere. It has not been illegal. There's nothing illegal about agents talking to kids and their families in ninth and 10th grade. There's nothing illegal about shoe companies funding AAU programs.

"That's what's been encouraged and that's what's been done. It should not come as a total surprise that you could have influence coming from third parties when those things are prevalent."

The model must change, Self said.

"And hopefully what has transpired will create some positive things moving forward that will not only be better for our sport but better for all collegiate athletics," Self said.

It's not as simple, he said, as opting to pay salaries to college football and basketball players. Or allowing them to sign as amateurs with agents. Or to let them again go to the NBA out of high school. Or for college basketball to adopt the rule from college baseball that largely prevents players from leaving for the professional game before their 21st birthday.


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