University of Kansas

Silvio De Sousa’s attorney asks NCAA for immediate reinstatement

Silvio De Sousa ‘crushed’ sitting on bench waiting on ruling, KU’s Bill Self says

What is it like for KU's Silvio De Sousa to sit on the bench and wait for an NCAA ruling? "He's crushed," says Kansas basketball coach Bill Self on Jan. 7, 2019.
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What is it like for KU's Silvio De Sousa to sit on the bench and wait for an NCAA ruling? "He's crushed," says Kansas basketball coach Bill Self on Jan. 7, 2019.

Silvio De Sousa’s attorney on Thursday asked the NCAA to reinstate the University of Kansas sophomore forward immediately.

Sources have confirmed to The Star that KU declared the sophomore forward ineligible this week, formally acknowledging that a violation took place, and submitted a request to the NCAA for reinstatement.

“I represent University of Kansas men’s basketball student-athlete Silvio De Sousa,” read the start of a statement written by Kansas City-based attorney Scott Tompsett to The Star and other media outlets. “Silvio has cooperated fully and completely with the investigation of his NCAA eligibility, which has now caused him to miss over half of his sophomore season.

“Silvio came to the United States from Angola at the age of 15, and he did everything he was supposed to do and was asked to do to become an eligible student-athlete at the University of Kansas. Silvio followed the rules. He did nothing wrong.

“If adults did something illicit or against the rules, they did it without Silvio’s knowledge or involvement. Their actions and conduct can be dealt with through the courts and/or the NCAA major infractions process. It’s time for the NCAA to be fair to Silvio and immediately reinstate his eligibility.”

Sources would not confirm why KU ruled De Sousa ineligible. However, Adidas representative T.J. Gassnola said at a federal trial he provided $2,500 to De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne, so De Sousa could enroll in an online course to assure his early graduation from IMG Academy and eligibility at KU.

Gassnola also testified in a trial this fall that he offered Falmagne $20,000 but never paid it, saying he did give him $2,500 so De Sousa could take the online classes. Gassnola also testified during the trial that he paid the family of former KU player Billy Preston $89,000. Falmagne in the past told The Star he took no money from Adidas reps during the recruitment of De Sousa.

KU in 2005 and 2010 had two players, Darnell Jackson and Josh Selby, receive nine-game suspensions from the NCAA and were ordered to pay back money received from third parties. Jackson in 2005 had to repay $5,000 that was provided him by a family friend. Selby in 2010 had to repay $5,758 provided him by a family friend prior to signing with KU. They sat the nine games and returned to competition. De Sousa has already missed 17 contests this season.

Even if the NCAA reinstates De Sousa this week, it’s unclear whether there could be penalties levied against KU for De Sousa appearing on last season’s team.

KU coach Bill Self said at Thursday’s weekly news conference, which took place at noon, that he had heard nothing new on De Sousa’s eligibility case.

KU athletic director Jeff Long issued a statement on Thursday night. It read: “The University of Kansas continues to work with the NCAA staff to resolve issues concerning Silvio’s eligibility. The process is ongoing and we will continue to work closely with the NCAA staff. Our commitment to integrity and to the process is unwavering. While the past several months have been difficult for this young man, Silvio continues to work hard in the classroom and in practice and he has been an exemplary teammate. His patience and cooperation throughout this process have been admirable and we look forward to a resolution.”

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Gary Bedore covers all aspects of Kansas basketball for The Star — the current team as well as former players and coaches and recruiting. He attended KU and was born and raised in Chicago, as well as Lisle, Ill.