The FBI, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, has confirmed it is investigating the University of Kansas and its sponsorship with Adidas following the scandal that created tremors across the college basketball landscape, according to the Daily Kansan, the school’s student newspaper.
But it told the Kansan it cannot release them due on to ongoing legal investigation. The FBI said all the documents are located in an investigative file which is exempt from disclosure because their release could interfere with enforcement proceedings.
The presence of the documents does not necessarily implicate the Jayhawks in the ongoing investigation of corruption in college basketball.
Assistant coaches from Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC, along with two high ranking employees of Adidas, were arrested last week following a three-year FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball that has focused on coaches being paid to steer NBA bound players to shoe companies and sports agents and resulted in multiple charges of fraud, bribery and corruption. The scandal ultimately led to the dismissal of Louisville Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino.
Less than a week before the scandal broke, Kansas announced it has signed a new 14-year, $191 million deal with Adidas, the largest contract any school has with the shoe company.
Jim Gatto, the global director of marketing for Adidas, was arrested on the same day as the four coaches and placed on leave from the company. Gatto’s signature does not appear on the contract, but according to the Kansas City Star, the last three tweets on Gatto’s now deleted Twitter account refer to the contract, leading to speculation he might be involved.
At Louisville, 98 percent of the money Adidas paid the school went directly to Pitino. At Kansas, associate AD Jim Marchiony said, all the money went to the school and head coach Bill Self had a separate contract with the company.