Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa will not have to sit out for a second consecutive season as the NCAA announced Friday that his appeal against the association was approved. The decision came just hours after the Jayhawks officially appealed the NCAA’s two-season suspension on Friday, almost as if the basis of the suspension was suspect to begin with.
The NCAA’s harassment against De Sousa began in October, after testimony from an Adidas rep revealed that the Jayhawks forward’s guardian received money from an agent. Though De Sousa sat the first 21 games of the season, the NCAA suspended him for the remainder of the year after ruling that he was aware of the actions that a third party was making on his behalf—essentially arguing that a teenager had control over his legal guardian. Though De Sousa’s lawyers denied the allegations, the NCAA stood firm on their initial ruling to at least keep him out through the end of this past season.
The now junior announced in a statement that he would be returning to school to play this upcoming season:
“I’m so excited to be able to come back to Kansas to play and to continue my education,” De Sousa said. “It’s an amazing feeling. I want to thank the NCAA committee for the opportunity to do what I really want to do. All those days and nights wondering what would happen...this makes it all worth it. I also want to thank everyone at Kansas for working so hard to make sure I can follow my dream. Jayhawk Nation, I can’t thank you all enough for the unconditional support and for sticking around throughout this. I tried to turn the year off into a blessing. I got to work on my game and my academics, and now I’m going to make the most of this opportunity.”
Had the ruling been upheld, De Sousa likely would have chosen to enter the NBA draft instead of waiting to play again in what would be his senior year. It’s normally a good thing when a player elects to try and money for the work they put out on the court, instead of doing it under the NCAA’s banner for free, but his time away from competitive games combined with his average rookie season would not have bode well for his draft stock. This dumb ruling put De Sousa in a position where it was arguably smarter for him to return to school, and forego a professional salary, so that he could develop into a more enticing prospect for NBA teams next year and hopefully earn more money because of it.
It’s amazing how much easier it is to get players to commit to the NCAA’s amateurism scam when the organization is capable of levying bullshit punishments that hurt a player’s professional readiness enough to force him back to school. If there’s any good news to take away from this, it’s the fact that De Sousa apparently really, REALLY wanted to play for the Jayhawks and seems pretty damn happy to be reinstated.