KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — After every home game at Kansas, players file out of the locker room at Allen Fieldhouse and spend about 15 or 20 minutes signing autographs. Sometimes, there will be hundreds of fans — many of them children — waiting for their favorite player. These days, a seemingly innocent way to connect with fans is triggering red flags.
High-profile cases of college football players signing autographs for money, a violation of NCAA rules, has coaches on edge in all college sports — including basketball. Johnny Manziel was investigated last year, though no wrongdoing was found, and Georgia’s Todd Gurley was suspended recently as the NCAA investigates him, too.
“We’ve run it through our compliance in the past and have ways to handle it,” Kansas coach Bill Self said Wednesday during the Big 12′s annual basketball media day. “Somebody asks for an autograph, the perfect thing to say is, ‘Who do you want me to make it out to?’ If they say, ‘Don’t — just sign your name,’ well, then you automatically know it could be for sale, and with you having no knowledge of it,” Self said.
Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg said coaches talk to their players “all the time, until you’re blue in the face,” but that it’s still hard to monitor everything. “They’re 18- and 19-year old kids,” Hoiberg said. “They spend a lot more time on their own than they do with the coaches. You do as much as you possibly can by trying to educate them.”