Jeff Long addresses NCAA ruling on Silvio De Sousa

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Prior to Kansas’ contest against Texas Tech Saturday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas Director of Athletics Jeff Long addressed the media on the NCAA’s ruling regarding Jayhawk student-athlete Silvio De Sousa. Video and a full transcript of Long’s statement is available below.

Kansas Director of Athletics Jeff Long
“Before we tip off today, I want to briefly address the last 24 hours and the disappointing decision regarding Silvio (De Sousa).
As I indicated yesterday, I am incensed at the NCAA’s decision which effectively takes away college basketball from a young man who did nothing wrong.  I have been involved in college athletics for many years at a number of institutions and have always respected the NCAA and trusted the process but I must tell you, my faith has been shaken.  I know that Chancellor Girod and Coach Self join me in my frustrations.
Let me share with you just a bit about the process.
We have been working with the NCAA for more than three months to get Silvio back on the floor.  As they looked into potential NCAA violations regarding Silvio, we provided them with every witness, every document, every communication that they requested.  We kept pressing them for an answer, so Silvio could get back on the court, even if it meant serving a penalty first.  We withheld Silvio, as is common protocol, as we worked through these issues, to ensure that when he did play, he was eligible, thereby not jeopardizing our team’s results.  
About one month ago, the NCAA indicated that they would consider Silvio’s reinstatement if we did two things.  First, as is procedure, we had to declare him ineligible and then immediately seek his reinstatement.  Second, as part of our reinstatement requests, we had to identify T.J. Gassnola as an agent and as a booster, only as a hypothetical, for the purposes for reinstatement, as we disagree with the NCAA staff on how to define Gassnola’s role in all of this.  The NCAA told us that they would not consider a reinstatement unless we included that information.  If we did not include the hypothetical, they would not consider reinstatement until after the enforcement investigation was complete, which could last well beyond this season.  With alternative, we declared Silvio ineligible on January 13th and began the reinstatement process. 
Throughout this process, we were instructed to share very little information with Coach Self and with Silvio, which obviously led to their understandable frustrations.  They had little control over the process and even less information.  We are very frustrated with the NCAA’s Procedures that required us to keep Coach Self and Silvio somewhat in the dark.  
So where are we today?  KU is exploring all avenues of appeal.  Make no mistake: we are determined to fight for Silvio and for fairness.  This process has simply not been fair in our view. 
If the NCAA is trying to send a message or make a statement with an unwarranted harsh punishment, they are doing it through the wrong messenger—a young man that both NCAA Enforcement and the Institution agree, had no knowledge of and did not benefit from the NCAA Violation.  We will continue to stand by our student-athletes when we believe that they have been wronged.
We will also continue to cheer on our Jayhawks and support our coaches as we battle in the coming weeks and yes, we will uphold our commitment to Big XII and NCAA bylaws and fully review any potential NCAA violations, as we have always done.
After the game, I am sure you will have questions for Coach Self regarding Silvio or the NCAA but understand that he has not been privy to a great deal of information and may not be able to address all of your questions.”
Q: Did you get a further explanation of what hypothetical means?”
A: “We understood that this was the case only so they could move through the reinstatement process.”
Q: On the confidence Silvio will get back on the court:
A: “I am confident Silvio is innocent of the alleged violation and he did not receive benefits. I am hopeful he will play again for the Jayhawks.”
Q: On the two-season suspension:
A: “It was a harsh punishment.”
Q: If Silvio can practice:
A: “Yes, he can practice and continue to stay at KU and receive his scholarship benefits. We do have to receive waivers for travel, so we will continue down that path. We have been doing that since he was declared ineligible. That is a bridge we will have to cross as we move forward.”
Q: On the timetable of the appeal process:
A: “There is really not. I feel like we have a commitment from them that they will move along with this process as quickly as possible. It’s not a simple process, so it will not be a matter of days, but we are hopeful it will happen soon.”
Q: On any face-to-face contact with Silvio:
A: “Yes. That is the part that is emotional for me.”