Kansas trolling the NCAA with pole dancers, money guns is shameful after playing victim at trials

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Kansas was forced to eat crow and apologize on Saturday after their Late Night in the Phog event got a little bit too rowdy.

If you missed it, the Jayhawks brought Snoop Dogg to the party and he showed up decked out in Adidas gear with stripper poles, pole dancers and a gun that shoots money:

On the one hand, yes.

This is amazing.

I cannot stand the NCAA, and it’s very difficult to interpret the things that happened on Friday night – and the promo for it, which featured Bill Self with a t-shirt that had a massive Adidas logo and a huge gold chain – as anything other than a giant double-bird shoved directly in the face of Mark Emmert and his cronies. If you’ve forgotten (how could you forget?), Kansas is currently facing a litany of Level I violations that were handed down as a result of the things that former Adidas bag-man T.J. Gassnola testified to at the trial for former Adidas executives Jim Gatto and Merl Code and one-time aspiring NBA agent Christian Dawkins last October.

The details aren’t important in the context of this conversation.

What is important is that what Kansas is doing is roughly equivalent to getting a speeding ticket and then sending a video of yourself using that ticket as toilet paper to the judge before you go in for sentencing.

And I love it.

I’m here for the drama and the messiness, and I cant imagine anything that will be more dramatic or messy that watching this Kansas program thumb their nose at the NCAA as they try and play their way to a national title this year.

But there’s so much more to this story than that, and frankly, it makes Kansas look terrible.

That trial that Gassnola testified at?

It sent Gatto, Code and Dawkins to prison, and part of the reason that those men are in prison is because Kansas leaned in to the idea that they were a “victim.” They wrote a ridiculous victim impact statement to the judge presiding over the trial that was taken into account when those men were sentenced to federal prison.

“The damage done by Mr. Gatto’s and his co-conspirators’ greed cannot be overstated,” William Sullivan Jr., an attorney for KU, wrote. “Their actions impaired the University of Kansas’ ability to continue to fully use those resources for both the benefit and welfare for its student-athletes, as well as for its ongoing mission of educational and community development and enrichment.”

Kansas asked for more than $1 million in restitution from Gatto, “so that actions can be taken to repair the damage that they have done to the collegiate basketball community, in general, and to the University of Kansas, in particular.”

Seriously.

That’s not a joke.

After helping to ruin the lives of people that were trying to help the basketball program, Kansas tried to bankrupt them, too. They settled for roughly $200,000, because a glorified middle-manager at Adidas will have that lying around after spending the money to defend himself against a bunch of trumped up charges. (I hope you can sense the sarcasm.)

Look, everyone knows how the system works.

Adidas signs a nine figure endorsement deal with Kansas. Adidas does what they can to help get players to the school to protect their investment. Kansas doesn’t complain because they get good players as a result; it’s part of the deal even if it isn’t written in to the contract, and everyone knows it.

It’s ludicrous that there are human beings doing federal time because of it.

And it’s shameful that Kansas would lean into the trolling the way that they have after they helped put those men behind bars by pretending they were too naïve to know the truth.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.

South Carolina, Staley cancel BYU games over racial incident

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina and women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley have canceled a home-and-home series with BYU over a recent racial incident where a Cougars fan yelled slurs at a Duke volleyball player.

The Gamecocks were scheduled to start the season at home against BYU on Nov. 7, then play at the Utah campus during the 2023-24 season.

But Staley cited BYU’s home volleyball match last month as reason for calling off the series.

“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a statement released by South Carolina on Friday. “The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”

Duke sophomore Rachel Richardson, a Black member of the school’s volleyball team, said she heard racial slurs from the stands during the match.

BYU apologized for the incident and Richardson said the school’s volleyball players reached out to her in support.

South Carolina said it was searching for another home opponent to start the season.

Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner spoke with Staley about the series and supported the decision to call off the games.