Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
FBI says it cannot release documents regarding Kansas involvement with Adidas
By JACOB POLACHECK
The FBI, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, told the University Daily Kansan on Wednesday that it has documents related to the University of Kansas and its sponsorship with the Adidas apparel company, but cannot release them due to an ongoing legal investigation.
The presence of documents responsive to the Kansan’s request, filed on Sept. 27, does not necessarily implicate the University in wrongdoing but appears to contradict what Kansas Athletics officials said after the scandal broke.
The Kansan asked for “all documents and communications within this investigation related to the University of Kansas and any of its sponsorship deals with Adidas or any investigation of Kansas basketball coaches.”
Last month, 10 men — including a top Adidas executive and four assistant coaches at power-conference programs — were charged with using hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence star athletes’ choice of schools, shoe sponsors, and agents. James Gatto, director of global sports marketing for Adidas, was arrested on the same day as the four coaches and placed on leave from the company.
On Thursday, Gatto appeared in Magistrate Court in New York City and was released on his own recognizance. He faces a preliminary hearing date of Nov. 9, the same same as Adidas’ employee Merl Code and assistant coaches Book Richardson of Arizona, Tony Bland of USC and Chuck Person of Auburn. Gatto’s travel was restricted to part of New York, along with New Jersey and Oregon.
In response to allegations last month, Louisville placed athletic director Tom Jurich on paid administrative leave and head coach Rick Pitino on unpaid administrative leave.
Wednesday, the FBI said the material requested by the Kansan “is located in an investigative file which is exempt from disclosure.”
“The records responsive to your request are law enforcement records; there is a pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding relevant to these responsive records, and release of the information in these responsive records could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings,” the Bureau said in a letter to the Kansan.
Less than a week before the scandal broke, Kansas Athletics announced a new 14-year, $191-million sponsorship contract with Adidas at a fundraising event for renovations to Memorial Stadium.
Later in the letter, FBI Section Chief David M. Hardy states, “This is a standard notification that is given to all our requesters and should not be taken as an indication that excluded records do, or do not, exist.”
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