Drug bombshell could cripple KU's basketball program
The Kansas City Star
The reputation of the University of Kansas basketball program - and KU itself - just suffered a big blow.
The Star, in a hugely disturbing story Friday afternoon, has revealed that a federal prosecutor says an Overland Park man allegedly supplied marijuana to “a number of players on the 2010-2011 University of Kansas basketball team.”
This is the kind of story that every big-time college athletic official dreads to hear.
It’s the kind of development that - if true - could badly scar the aw-shucks, pretty much squeaky clean image of head coach Bill Self.
And at KU - where the Jayhawks’ basketball team earlier this year finished as the NCAA runnerup to Kentucky - the damage will extend to the students, fans and alumni supporters (including this writer).
KU basketball is a source of pride for all these people, and this story could really take a toll on that feeling of being better than a lot of other schools when it comes to basketball.
Financially, basketball is the golden goose at KU; the games at Allen Fieldhouse have been sold out for years. KU last seized an NCAA title by beating Memphis after the 2008 season.
It’s also crucial to remember that some of the players on the highly successful squad in the 2011-12 season could have been involved in the marijuana deals that the federal government is investigating from the 2010-11 season.
A federal probe of the KU program and its players could lead to some pretty unsettling developments at KU. It could drag on for years. And it could eventually involve NCAA sanctions for lack of institutional control.
On Friday, KU officials were claiming they knew nothing of the man at the center of the federal investigation: Samuel Villeareal III.
The Star: “Villeareal, 32, was one of 25 defendants charged June 11 in U.S. District Court with conspiring over a four-year period to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of “high-grade” marijuana in Johnson and Douglas counties.”
Without naming names, of course, the feds so far have tainted the entire KU program. How far this goes from here will be extremely fascinating to watch.
Especially if it ends up crippling a valuable part of KU’s national reputation.
And MU fans will be gloating for sure, the natural order of the world in college sports.