LAWRENCE — A new report has Kansas' role in the FBI investigation into scandal-plagued college basketball expanding.
Yahoo Sports on Tuesday reported KU has "tacitly acknowledged" it has been subpoenaed by the federal government in the ongoing investigation into corruption in college basketball, citing the university's response to a Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) request and analysis of that statement from multiple lawyers and document experts.
KU responded to the April request made by Yahoo Sports by confirming it "has public records that are responsive to (the) request" and that it is "cooperating with the government inquiry," but it denied Yahoo Sports' request for documents relating to any subpoenas received by the university in relation to the federal investigation, citing the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and claiming any document release would "constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."
An email exchange obtained Tuesday by The Topeka Capital-Journal provided further insight into KU's decision to deny Yahoo Sports' open records request.
KU cited three KORA exemptions in its April 13 rejection of reporter Pat Forde's KORA request: the FERPA federal law and "personal privacy" clause, both mentioned in Yahoo Sports' story, as well as a "criminal investigations records" clause that appears to cover additional ground in KU's justification of the denial.
A subsequent email sent by KU associate general counsel Mike Leitch on May 15 identified "public interest" (citing the absence of any KU student or employee being named in the indictment) and "interference with prospective law enforcement action, criminal investigation or prosecution" as the paragraphs of the criminal investigation records exemption within KORA that justify the denial.
When The Capital-Journal requested information last Friday regarding contact between KU and the FBI, a university spokesperson declined to comment and instead referred to an April statement citing the university's label as a defrauded victim in that month's indictment of an Adidas executive, refusing further comment while the investigation was ongoing. Yahoo Sports reported it received a similar statement Tuesday.
A KU spokesman reiterated to The Capital-Journal on Tuesday that the April statement will remain the university's only comment on the matter.
Yahoo Sports' report comes on the heels of last week's news that Maryland, the other school tied to one portion of the April indictment of longtime Adidas executive Jim Gatto that appears to identify improper benefits received by the guardian of current KU forward Silvio De Sousa, has itself received multiple subpoenas relating to the case, including one seeking more information on De Sousa's recruitment. De Sousa joined the Jayhawks at semester last season and averaged four points and 3.7 rebounds across 20 games.
KU will introduce new athletic director Jeff Long in an 11 a.m. Wednesday news conference.