See the guys above? Those guys are the notorious (in AAU circles) Pump Brothers and they are at the center of a brewing scandal at Kansas involving basketball tickets and overall shady practices. The story is best summarized in this great article on Yahoo Sports, but it basically comes down to this. A number of individuals in the Kansas Athletic Department and Basketball Office worked to get tickets for the NCAA Tournament and Big 12 Tournament that were then sold to the Pump Brothers for higher sums of money and scalped (or given away) by the brothers Pump. In exchange, the Pump Brothers AAU programs were potentially helped and the players on those programs (which include the children of Coach Bill Self and Danny Manning) were likely told favorable things about Kansas. The last is just an implication, but one would think that in addition to the money that changed hands for tickets, some advantage for KU basketball would have been expected.
While nothing huge is likely to come from this event (although a number of Kansas staffers have already resigned) it showcases the seedy underbelly of AAU basketball and its effect on college sports. Guys like the brothers Pump (who run teams that are called “Pump & Run”, which was has made me laugh every time I have seen it at any basketball event and is likely the favorite team of Antoine Walker) are everywhere in AAU basketball and their power is great. Media types and Kentucky rivals’ fans all focus on World Wide Wes and what evil things he might be doing, but they have no clue how the real system works. Every school, or at least most every school, has guys like the Pump Brothers, who have relationships with the University in some unofficial capacity and help in the recruiting process. Go to a big AAU tournament and you will see these guys and if you are at a Final Four somewhere, they will be seeping out of every pore in the city. Add these guys to the scalping of tickets (which is a dirty secret that involves officials and assistant coaches at MANY schools) and you have a recipe for a scandal.
The hard reality for Kansas however may be this. When the “We Want to Pump…You Up” Brothers got involved in the ticket scalping business with the Jayhawk staff, they will become the fall guys for a much more systemic problem. Samantha Ryan…care to comment?