NCAA rules Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa must sit out rest of this season and next season

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — The NCAA ruled Friday that Kansas basketball forward Silvio De Sousa must sit out the rest of this season and next season because of his guardian’s involvement with an agent:

De Sousa was forced to sit out indefinitely by the Jayhawks in October after his name surfaced in testimony connected with the Adidas corruption scandal.

The NCAA says that De Sousa’s guardian received $2,500 from an agent and school booster, the guardian also agreed to accept an additional $20,000 from the same person and an Adidas employee to get De Sousa to enroll at Kansas.

The Kansas Athletic Department issued this statement:

“We are shocked and incensed by today’s decision, and we will immediately appeal as this was clearly an unfair and punitive ruling for a young man who had no knowledge of any NCAA violation, nor did Silvio personally benefit from the violation. While we will continue to work with the NCAA on the broader matter, we have an obligation and a desire to advocate for our student-athletes, and will continue to do that for an outstanding young man.” said Athletic Director Jeff Long.

“In my 30-plus years of coaching college basketball, I have never witnessed such a mean-spirited and vindictive punishment against a young man who did nothing wrong. To take away his opportunity to play college basketball is shameful and a failure of the NCAA. Silvio is a tremendous young man who absolutely deserves to be on the court with his teammates in a Jayhawk uniform. This process took way too long to address these issues. We will support Silvio as he considers his options,” said Kansas Head Coach Bill Self.

The 6-foot-9 De Sousa was supposed to be one of the Jayhawks’ top rebounders, but was sidelined while the NCAA examined his eligibility.

Scott Tompsett, De Sousa’s attorney, provided this statement:

“I represent University of Kansas men’s basketball student-athlete Silvio De Sousa. The NCAA’s decision today is outrageous. It should shock the conscience of anyone who believes in fundamental fairness.

Silvio did absolutely nothing wrong. He was not involved in any wrongdoing by the adults, he did not know about any wrongdoing by the adults, and he did not benefit from any wrongdoing by the adults.

Let me be very clear: Silvio never received any illicit money from anyone.

The NCAA’s decision illustrates the absurdity of how the NCAA enforces its rules: A young man who did nothing wrong has had his life altered in a very negative way through no fault of his own. That is not how we do things in this country. I will work with KU to do everything legally possible to get this outrageous decision reversed.”

The NCAA says that according to its guidelines, when a student-athlete allows a third-party to intervene on behalf of their recruitment, the student-athlete becomes responsible for their actions.

Months ago, Coach Self spoke shortly before a jury in federal court in New York convicted former Adidas executive James Gato, Adidas consultant Merl Code and NBA agent runner Christian Dawkins of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The trio had been accused of funneling money from the apparel company to the families of recruits at Kansas, Louisville and its other sponsored schools — and the trial was closely watched across the sport as big names came up in court.

Ex-AAU coach T.J. Gassnola testified that he facilitated payments to De Sousa’s guardian in an attempt to steer him toward the Jayhawks. Those payments would have rendered the native of Angola ineligible to play for the Jayhawks. Gassnola said Self and his staff did not know about the payments.

“Information was presented during the current trial in New York — some of which we knew, some of which we didn’t,” Self said before the verdict was announced. “We have decided to withhold Silvio from competition until we can evaluate and understand the new information. We have already discussed trial developments with the NCAA and will continue to work with NCAA staff moving forward.”

De Sousa graduated from IMG Academy last December, joined the Jayhawks for the spring semester and provided valuable interior depth as the school made a deep March run. He had 16 points and 10 rebounds while helping Kansas beat West Virginia for the Big 12 Tournament title, then appeared in every game while helping the Jayhawks reach the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.

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