If you haven’t read through the excellent reporting on the Kansas University sports tickets scandal, you’re missing out. Fascinating work by Yahoo Sports and the KANSAS CITY STAR.
(Well at least they passed the savings on to you! .. Wait.)
Though a critical part of the story is missing: Exactly what conditions existed at KU and in the world of high profile NCAA basketball to allow such alleged corruption to germinate and take hold.
The Yahoo Sports report, featuring Jason King, Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel, gets us closest to the root of problem, though the Kansas University investigative report gives no clue to the true symptoms. (The Kansas investigative report was commissioned and paid for by the athletic department only after the Kansas City Star previously reported a federal inquiry into the possibility that KU men’s basketball tickets had been taken and sold illegally.)
While it may seem that allegedly scamming up to $3 million worth of Kansas hoops tickets is pretty damn serious, we’ve yet to get a whiff of what the Feds and IRS are currently digging up. From Yahoo:
Freeman also provides information about a ticket scalping operation involving NCAA Final Four and University of Kansas basketball tickets, including potential tax evasion, theft, money laundering and other possible crimes.
A source familiar with the investigation confirmed to Yahoo! Sports that Freeman tied multiple individuals to the scalping operation, including college sports entrepreneurs David and Dana Pump, KU athletics department employee Rodney Jones, and former KU basketball star Roger Morningstar, the father of current Jayhawks guard Brady Morningstar.
In other words, things may still get a lot worse for the Kansas Athletic Dept. along with the aforementioned outside individuals.
Though we don’t know the precise nature of the initial contact, Yahoo does report that the whole sordid ordeal allegedly began in 2002 when college basketball power brokers David and Dana Pump contacted former KU player Roger Morningstar.
This passage from the Yahoo report is, to me, the most important part of the entire scandalous saga - at least so far:
According to Freeman, the ticket scalping operation at KU began when the Pumps contacted Roger Morningstar – Freeman’s former business partner – in the winter of 2002 and asked him if he knew how to obtain extra Kansas postseason basketball tickets. The Pumps promised him that a significant amount of money could be earned by selling the seats at a price above face value.
Roger Morningstar knew that Jones, who was an assistant ticket manager at the time, was one of Freeman’s close friends, so he told Freeman to ask Jones if he was interested in participating, Freeman said.
Freeman is David Freeman. From Yahoo:
Freeman, who has a pair of drug convictions on his record from 1989, was scheduled to begin an 18-month jail sentence Thursday on an unrelated bribery charge.
As Freeman was apparently buddies with KU athletic admin Roger Jones, he was able to convince Jones to *creatively acquire* KU hoops tickets to funnel to the Pumps - via Morningstar and Freeman - who would then sell the tickets to ticket brokers.
Now for the $64,000 question: How in the hell did the Pumps convince Morningstar to ask Freeman to ask KU athletic admin Jones to get tickets for them?
Answer: Being the two most powerful men in college sports you never heard of.