Wichita State: 16-2, racing for the Missouri Valley Conference championship -- and touched by the breath of purported college basketball scandal. The Shockers!

As reported by the Kansas City Times in a copyright article -- first installment -- the story has four former Shocker players saying they received more than $4,500 in gratuities via coaches and WSU athletic backers, and the mother of last season's prize recruit moving from near poverty into a $62,500 home and buying two new cars shortly after her son joined the team.

Wichita State's athletic director says the school has had "a clean ship" and no notification of any NCAA investigation.An NCAA spokesman "will confirm we have been in contact with the same principals (named in the article) for about the past year. The NCAA's normal procedure is to have an announcement when a case is finalized."

Forward Richard Williams, kicked off the team last year for a curfew violation, claimed he received more than $3,000 of the gifts described as cash, clothes, airline tickets and "forgiven" loans over the last three years. The Times said it further determined that Wichita State coaches arranged an abortion for the girlfriend of a former player.

Divorcee Jo Ann Carr, mother of current sophomore forward Antoine Carr, a high school all-America who led Wichita Heights to the city championship before enrolling at WSU, denied receiving any money from State. She told the Times a boyfriend helped her make a down payment -- with 50 $100 bills -- on the house.

Williams said he received $425 worth of clothes from a store that employed the wives of Coach Gene Smithson and Athletic Director Ted Bredehoft. Mrs. B. responded: "We are not in the business of giving away free clothes."