Former Kansas Jayhawks linked to members of active drug ring

LAWRENCE KS - DECEMBER 18: Josh Selby #32 of the Kansas Jayhawks celebrates with Markieff Morris #21 after drawing a foul during the final seconds of the game against the USC Trojans on December 18 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence Kansas. The Jayhawks defeated the Trojans with a final score of 70-68. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

An AP report from over the weekend reports that indictments have been made at the drug ring that prosecutors allege supplied nearly $17 million worth of "high grade" drugs to customers in Johnson and Douglas (Kansas) counties.

The college basketball wrinkle in all of this?

Naturally, because the ring focused on communities in and around the Lawrence, Kansas area, are that Jayhawk basketball players are alleged to have connections to and/or purchased marijuana through people with ties to the group, specifically a 32-year old man named Samuel Villeareal III.

According to reports from back in late June following a detention hearing of Villeareal, an assistant United States attorney made a claim that Villeareal had been spotted sitting behind the Kansas Jayhawks bench with former players Josh Selby, Markieff Morris and Brady Morningstar, and that the four had been seen together outside of basketball settings.

Basically, Villeareal has been pitted as the program's go-to weed guy, and his relationship with the three aforementioned former players have have developed into something more than just money shakes for dime bags.

That college basketball players are buying and smoking pot should not come as some sort of shocking revelation, really, but the ties forged between players and pertinent dealers within the ring under Bill Self's nose may be what drives this story as it unfolds.

The AP story added that Kansas University has said it has a drug testing policy in place that requires all freshman and transfer student-athletes to take a "within a reasonable amount of time" after arriving on campus. Additionally, teams that qualify for post-season play in their respective sports may be required to take a second drug test.

At this point, it's unclear what will come of this story, and if more damaging reports will surface that link KU basketball to the drug ring as its members continue to make court appearances and possibly find themselves behind bars.

We know that college kids smoke pot, but that doesn't give them a pass to also have personal relationships with criminals, especially if they're visible members of the school they attend.

Based on what we know now, it would be unfair to categorize this as "lack of institutional control" for Kansas, but it's certainly something to monitor as more information surfaces.

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