Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola gave tens of thousands of dollars to the families of recruits and had a particular affinity for Self. Text messages between the two were used in an October 2018 federal court trial of two Adidas officials and an aspiring NBA agent.
Gassnola testified in court that he made payments to the mother of Kansas basketball player Billy Preston and to Fenny Falmagne, the legal guardian of Silvio De Sousa. Gassnola also testified that Falmagne accepted $60,000 from a Maryland booster to secure De Sousa’s commitment to play for the Terrapins.
Text messages between Gassnola and Self also show the former’s disappointment in not being able to secure a Kansas commitment from Deandre Ayton, who ultimately played for Nike-sponsored Arizona and became the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft. Gassnola admitted to making a $15,000 payment to an Ayton family friend.
“Due to member-created rules, we cannot comment on current, pending or potential investigations,” NCAA director of public and media relations Stacey Osburn told The Star in an email.
Kansas associate athletic director for public relations Dan Beckler told The Star that the program has yet to receive notification from the NCAA.
Stan Wilcox, NCAA vice president for regulatory affairs, said in June that six teams would receive notices of allegations for Level I violations by the end of the summer. Level 1 violations can bring the most severe punishments, including postseason bans and loss of scholarships.
The Star reports a punishment will likely not be determined until after the 2019-2020 college basketball season.
Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christian Dawkins and former Adidas consultant Merl Code were found guilty of wire fraud in October for their roles in funneling illegal payments to players’ families.
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