LAWRENCE, Kan. — Bill Self said he and his staff have never used improper benefits to sway a recruit’s decision, his first in-depth comments since former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola testified in federal court to arranging a pay-for-play scheme, with the financial assistance of former Adidas executive James Gatto, to influence players to pick Kansas and other schools.
“At Kansas, we’ve recruited and signed many players who wore athletic brands other than Adidas on their grassroots basketball teams,” Self said in a statement he read on Wednesday, hours after Gatto, Christian Dawkins, a former runner for agent Andy Miller, and Merl Code, a former Adidas consultant, were all found guilty in federal court on felony charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“We’ve also recruited many players whose grassroots teams were sponsored by Adidas who signed with other universities that were aligned with other shoe companies,” Self said. “So while these brand relationships can be a factor for some families during the college decision-making process, it is only one of many factors. When recruiting prospective student-athletes, my staff and I have not and do not offer improper inducements to them or their families to influence their college decision, nor are we aware of any third-party involvement to do so.”
At Big 12 media day on Wednesday afternoon, Self told reporters he could not comment on anything related to the trial due to a “mandate.” On Wednesday night, at a news conference called just hours in advance, he said he is still limited in what he can say, but he made it clear that he will not discuss anything related to the trial during the season. He said Wednesday