Kansas Case Is More About the N.C.A.A.’s Power

A longtime head coach said many of his colleagues had expressed frustration over the N.C.A.A.’s attempts at reform, saying they would be meaningless without stronger penalties for head coaches. The coach spoke on condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the conversations.

“A slap on the wrist is not going to deter anybody,” he said.

Money, of course, has been funneled to recruits just about forever, be it through cars, bogus jobs or envelopes stuffed with cash, like the one Kentucky sent to the father of Chris Mills, a recruit in the late 1980s.

That was about the time shoe companies began exerting their influence. If court testimony and wiretaps are an accurate representation, the companies have largely replaced boosters as the source of illicit payments.

The N.C.A.A.’s notice of allegations said that Jim Gatto, an Adidas representative, and T.J. Gassnola, a consultant for the company, had arranged for $89,000 in payments to the family of the recruit Billy Preston, and that Gassnola had told Self in a text message that he had given $15,000 to the family of Deandre Ayton, who ended up at Arizona and eventually became the top pick in the N.B.A. draft.

The notice, in describing a lack of institutional control, said that three Kansas athletic department administrators had raised red flags about the presence of Gatto and Gassnola around the basketball program, but that the school did nothing.

Significantly, the notice also portrayed Adidas as a representative of Kansas, akin to a booster. The university quickly rejected that characterization.

But Peter Roby, a former basketball coach at Harvard who serves on the reform-minded Knight Commission, said the N.C.A.A. was making an appropriate link. Kansas, after being declared a victim in the fraud trial of Gatto and others, signed a $196 million marketing deal with Adidas in April.