The Kansas athletic department apologized after one of those “looked-good-on-paper” ideas backfired Friday night during the school’s annual “Late Night in the Phog” celebration that kicks off the men’s and women’s basketball seasons.
The idea, coming on the heels of the news that the school has been accused of serious NCAA infractions tied to recruiting, was to bring in Snoop Dogg to perform after scrimmages in Allen Fieldhouse. Who knew that his performance would include pole dancers, profanity and a money gun?
“We apologize for the Snoop Dogg performance at Late Night. We made it clear to the entertainers’ managers that we expected a clean version of the show and took additional steps to communicate to our fans, including moving the artist to the final act of the evening, to ensure that no basketball activities would be missed if anyone did not want to stay for his show,” Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said in a statement. “I take full responsibility for not thoroughly vetting all the details of the performance and offer my personal apology to those who were offended. We strive to create a family atmosphere at Kansas and fell short of that this evening.”
Acrobatic dancers? They certainly were that as they performed with Snoop, who wore a No. 20 Kansas jersey, for a little over 30 minutes. At one point, the show included the firing of a money gun loaded with fake 00 bills featuring Snoop’s face and images of marijuana leaves in the direction of players and into the crowd.
Bill Self, the men’s coach, was in the locker room for most of the show, which Kansas had promoted with a video featuring Self wearing a shirt with an “Adidas Basketball” logo and a chain with a “$” medallion.
Self told the Kansas City Star that he had gone into the locker room because he “wasn’t feeling well” while Snoop Dogg was performing. “I didn’t listen to or see the majority of what went down,” he said. “Certainly I got a pretty good idea based on the first couple songs.”
He added, “I didn’t know there was going to be anything like that. I was told this was radio edited and everything else.”
That video he made promoting the event might have been ill-advised, too, given that the NCAA recently hit the school with a Notice of Allegations, including serious Level I allegations. The NCAA is looking into Kansas for a number of possible violations, including a lack of institutional control and a failure to meet coaching responsibilities. Also under investigation is the school’s relationship with Adidas, with which it recently signed a 14-year, 96-million contract extension.
“While we will accept responsibility for proven violations of NCAA bylaws, we will not shy away from forcefully pushing back on allegations that the facts simply do not substantiate,” Kansas President Douglas Girod said after receiving the allegations. “We stand firmly behind Coach Self and our men’s basketball program, and we will continue to work diligently to do what is right.”
The Notice of Allegations came after a former Adidas consultant with close ties to Self was sentenced to one year of probation after pleading guilty to taking part in a “pay-for-play” scheme to attract top high school recruits to play at college programs sponsored by Adidas. Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola gave tens of thousands of dollars to the families of recruits; text messages between Gassnola and Self were used in an October 2018 federal court trial of two Adidas officials and an aspiring NBA agent.
Gassnola testified in court that he made payments to the mother of Kansas basketball player Billy Preston and to Fenny Falmagne, the legal guardian of Silvio De Sousa. Gassnola also testified that Falmagne accepted 0,000 from a Maryland booster to secure De Sousa’s commitment to play for the Terrapins, although he did not go to Maryland.
Late Night in the arena named for Phog Allen has been going on for 35 years, eventually morphing from scrimmage to entertainment, with Tech N9ne, Lil Yachty and 2 Chainz recently appearing.