No Shining Moment: NCAA Tourney Broadcasts Hushed Up Kansas Scandal

Jay Maxson | April 6, 2022
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An entire NCAA “March Madness” Tourney just passed by and television broadcasters failed to mention one word about the serious investigation hanging over national champion Kansas. Neither CBS, TNT, TBS nor TruTv brought it up at any time in their coverage of the tournament spanning mid-March to early April. 

Only after the tournament ended Monday night has the internet sprouted with stories of the NCAA investigation of Kansas. 

Yahoo Sports notes, “Kansas wins title, while media ignores NCAA violation investigation.” The ESPN Andscape blog headline reads, “Does anyone care that Kansas’ championship is tarnished by an NCAA investigation?” There are more of these headlines on the worldwide web, too. We just didn’t hear about any of this come from the mouths of Jim Nance, Kevin Harlan, Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, or anyone else working the tourney broadcasts. 

The unpleasantries of scandal were all swept under the rug by March Madness TV broadcasters. The internet is unloading on Kansas and the media for its journalistic malfeasance. 

Andscape writer Jesse Washington held nothing back: 

Lost amid Monday night’s amazing Kansas comeback to win the NCAA championship is an inconvenient truth: According to investigators, the Jayhawks program is guilty of the most serious crimes that exist in college basketball. 

Washington further commented that you may have forgotten about the investigation into Kansas basketball because the NCAA “is still walking the ball up the court.” 

It was obvious to all, Washington said, “that sweeping Kansas’ dirt under the rug is business as usual for a sport that usually pretends it’s not a business. We didn’t hear anybody mention it on television.” 

Specifically, the NCAA has informed Kansas with a notice of allegations that Adidas lured Jayhawk recruits will illegal monetary enticements. Head coach Bill Self, who has a lifetime contract with Kansas, and Assistant Coach Kurtis Townsend “embraced, welcomed and encouraged” the illegal payments, the NCAA alleges. Self faces charges of violating his “responsibility of head coach” rules and the university is charged with a “lack of institutional control.” Kansas denied the charges, but these infractions rank at the highest level of NCAA violations. 

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel reported that two men who previously served Kansas as recruiting bagmen from Adidas — Jim Gatto and Merl Code — are in federal prison. Star witness T.J. Gassnola is a convicted felon who provided evidence to help convict them in order and to avoid prison time.  

“This was not mentioned during ‘One Shining Moment,’” Wetzel added while referring to the song that closes out championship game coverage each year. 

Sports Illustrated writer Pat Forde remarked that Kansas has been under investigation for years for major violations, the NCAA is an organizational trainwreck, and the investigation is part of the Kansas story that should have been reported during tournament TV coverage. It was cowardly for the tournament networks to ignore the story, he said. 

In fact, March Madness broadcasters said less about Kansas than the NBA says on China.