SI Vault
Jeffrey Marx
November 14, 1988
Kansas, which last spring won the NCAA's biggest basketball prize, has now been rocked by severe NCAA penalties
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November 14, 1988

A Champion Takes A Fall

Kansas, which last spring won the NCAA's biggest basketball prize, has now been rocked by severe NCAA penalties

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?The Jayhawks' probation means that Marshall has helped put two schools in trouble. The other was McNeese State in Lake Charles, La., whose basketball program is on probation for making improper payments to players. Neither the NCAA nor McNeese State has named the players, but Marshall, who played for the Cowboys in 1985-86 after transferring from Kansas, told SI that he had received thousands of dollars from McNeese boosters.

Askew, Brown and Marshall were all important figures in the NCAA's investigation of Kansas. Askew has since told reporters that he did receive improper payments from Kansas. Brown says he informed the NCAA that he had improperly given Askew $366 for a round-trip plane ticket from Kansas City to Memphis. Brown says he did so because Askew needed the ticket to visit his grandmother, who was sick.

Brown says it was this payment that he told Kirk about on the phone. He says he called Kirk to complain about the way Askew had treated some Kansas players during Askew's stay in Lawrence and to let Kirk know he no longer wanted Askew around. Brown mentioned that he had paid for a plane ticket, and it was then, he says, that Kirk—whose Memphis State team was on probation at the time because some players received excessive financial assistance—informed him that their conversation was being taped. David Berst, the NCAA's assistant executive director for enforcement, will not say whether its informant was Kirk, and Kirk didn't respond last week to written questions from SI. But Brown says that during the investigation, an NCAA official indicated to him that the NCAA had a transcript of Brown's telephone conversation with Kirk.

The NCAA also was told about the payments to Askew that were made by Marshall, who was so close to Brown that others at Kansas called him "Coach B's black son." Coach B concurs in that characterization. " Mike Marshall has been living off me," Brown said last week. "He adopted me years ago."

Marshall, a native of Shelbyville, Ky., played at Central Wyoming, a junior college, during the 1981-82 and '82-83 seasons. Then he transferred to Kansas, where he was a substitute guard, and later went on to McNeese State. From October '85 to March '86, while he was at McNeese, Marshall deposited a total of $15,515.44 at the Lakeside National Bank in Lake Charles, according to bank receipts he saved. Marshall said that some of the money came from a student loan but that most came from a variety of payments from McNeese boosters. Marshall still has a photo of himself showing off a check and wads of bills.

Marshall hoped to play in the NBA, and was drafted by Denver in the seventh round in 1986, but he was soon released. With Brown's encouragement he returned to Kansas, where he wanted to finish the requirements for his degree but didn't. It was during this time that Marshall broke NCAA rules.

On July 13, 1987, investigator Stephanie Sivak interviewed Marshall. According to Sivak's report, a copy of which was obtained by SI, Marshall admitted that he wired money to Askew's aunt and said it was to pay an electric bill for Askew's grandmother. Sivak's report said the sum was $250. Marshall would later correct that. It was $350. Marshall also admitted paying $183 for another plane ticket, to Kansas City, for Askew. Marshall told Sivak that Brown and assistant coach Alvin Gentry didn't know about these payments.

More than a year later, on Sept. 9, 1988, another NCAA investigator, Arthur McAfee III, went to New York to meet Marshall. An SI reporter was at the meeting. McAfee wanted to know where Marshall, who had little money of his own, had obtained the $533 he said he had spent on Askew. Did Brown or one of his assistants give it to Marshall?

While McAfee waited in the living room of attorney Hal Ginsburg's Upper West Side apartment, Marshall and Ginsburg huddled in another room.

I'm not going to tell him everything, Marshall said.

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