The headline of this story is going to be Georgia Tech getting a postseason ban in men’s basketball because that’s the big news.
The idyllic nature of college basketball gives every team a chance. No matter how bad you are, if you get hot for one week in March you can play your way into an automatic bid where anything can happen. That’s no longer the case for Georgia Tech.
But the real story here isn’t the postseason ban, because if we’re being honest, Georgia Tech isn’t an NCAA tournament team.
The real story is two-fold.
I’ll start with the lesser of the two: The recruiting sanctions. Georgia Tech got hit with a one-year scholarship reduction for each of the next four years, an eight-week ban on unofficial visits and recruiting communications, and a reduction of three official visits and 19 recruiting-person days. They also lost the ability to schedule official visits during home basketball games for the next two years.
If Josh Pastner is going to find a way to build Georgia Tech into a teach that can actually get to the NCAA tournament, he’s going to need all the recruiting advantages that he can get. These sanctions hurt that, and if we’re being honest, probably hurt the program more than the postseason ban for this season does.
The bigger story, however, is that if Georgia Tech is getting a postseason ban for the violations they committed, Kansas fans – and fans of all programs that were directly involved in the FBI investigation – should be terrified of what’s coming.
Georgia Tech’s violations all had to do with improper booster activity.
One of the boosters was Pastner’s former friend Ron Bell. While that story has taken some awfully weird twists and turns over the years, nothing changed the fact that Bell provided $2,424 in impermissible benefits to Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson while helping Pastner try and recruit transfer Markel Crawford.
The other booster was Jarrett Jack, a former star guard for the Yellow Jackets, who provided Wendell Carter with, among other things like a meal and a visit to his home, free entry into a local strip club and $300 for Carter to spend at said strip club.
This is all relatively minor stuff, especially when compared to what Kansas is facing. In the Notice of Allegations that they received last week, T.J. Gassnola was identified as a booster that provided $90,000 to Billy Preston’s family to get him to commit to Kansas and at least $2,500 to Silvio De Sousa’s guarding to get him to commit to Kansas while also trying to funnel as much as $15,000 to the family of Deandre Ayton to get his commitment.
If Georgia Tech’s dealings with a booster earned – which totaled less than $3,000 – earned a postseason ban, what’s going to happen to Kansas, where the money involved is more than 30 times that?
The key here is going to come down to whether or not Kansas and their lawyers can argue their way out of having Gassnola listed as a booster. There might be some legal ground there. Remember, the reason that there are people involved in that scandal in jail is because they victimized the school, which is precisely the opposite of what the NCAA Committee on Infractions is saying.
So it’s far from a guarantee that Kansas is going to be banned from any NCAA tournaments.
But it is evidence that suggests that KU better be ready to fight hard.