Kansas suspends Bill Self for 4 games in violation case

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self and his assistant Curtis Townsend were suspended Wednesday for the first four games of the season, and the Jayhawks imposed several recruitment restrictions as part of the fallout from an FBI investigation into college basketball corruption stemming from 2017.

Self and Townsend were named in an NCAA notice of allegations accusing the school of five Level 1 violations related to its relationship with Adidas.

The team will miss the Jayhawks-Duke Classic Champions League match on November 15th. Assistant coach Norm Roberts will take over as interim coach for the defending National Champion during Self’s suspension for the first four matches.

They will also miss games against Omaha, North Dakota and southern Utah before the Duke’s showdown. Self and Townsend will join the squad in time to take on NC State at Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas on November 23.

“Coach Townsend and I accept and support Kuwait University’s decision to impose these sanctions ourselves,” Self said in a statement. “We’re in good hands with Coach Roberts, and I’m confident he’ll do his best off the bench leading our team. I’m proud of the way our guys handled this situation and look forward to returning to the bench for our game against NC State.”

Kansas has chosen to transfer its wrongdoing issue to the Independent Accountability Resolution Process. In this release, the school notified the IARP of its self-imposed penalties, which also include multiple enlistment penalties, some of which have already been imposed.

Self and Townsend were already barred from off-campus recruiting visits from April to July this year, and the school also didn’t host any recruits for Late Night in the Phog, its annual midnight madness event. The school will also lose three scholarships over the next three years, reduce official enlistment visits this year by four and reduce the number of enlistment days allowed over the next year by 13 days.

“We hope that these tough penalties that we have imposed will help end the case,” said Kansas athletic director Travis Goff. “Until then, we will continue to focus on supporting our outstanding student-athletes and coaches in men’s basketball. … in accordance with confidentiality guidelines on offense issues, we cannot comment in depth until this matter is fully resolved.”

IARP was created in 2019 as an alternative to the traditional NCAA whistleblowing process. Many schools affected by the FBI’s corruption investigation decided to use the independent commission to address cases of ongoing abuse, but the process faced delays and other challenges.

Her only major referee in men’s college basketball to date has been the Memphis affair. In September, the IARP decided that Benny Hardaway had not broken any rules when he offered benefits to recruiting former superstar James Wiseman and other prospects before taking over as the program’s head coach.

Other schools mentioned in the case are Arizona, LSU, Louisville, and NC State.

Following the ruling in the Kansas men’s basketball case, the IARP will be suspended by the NCAA. Schools cannot appeal an IARP decision.

The NCAA accused Kansas, by notifying the allegations, of using Adidas to gain an illegal recruiting advantage. Its notice of allegations stated that Self and Townsend encouraged Adidas employees, including those indicted in the FBI case, to direct top recruits to Kansas.

Some alleged infractions from the 2017 investigation are no longer in violation of the following rules of the Name, Image and Similarity (NIL) legislation, which allowed athletes in all sports to begin making money from endorsements and other off-field arrangements.

“During this process, we have had ongoing conversations with all parties involved,” Kansas Councilor Douglas Giroud said in a statement. “We believe the actions we are announcing today bring us closer to resolving this issue. We look forward to commenting further when this process is fully resolved. Until then, I would like to reiterate our unwavering support for Coach Self and the men’s basketball program.”

Self signed a new five-year contract in April 2021. Under the terms of the deal, Self gets an extra year after each season ends – in effect, making it a lifelong contract. It secured him $5.41 million annually on a base salary of $225,000, a professional services contract worth $2.75 million and an annual bonus of $2.435 million.

The contract includes a clause stating that the school cannot expel itself for some reason “because of any current wrongdoing involving conduct that occurred during or before” the signing of the deal. And while he would have to forfeit half his base salary and professional services pay while serving any suspension from the Big 12 or the NCAA, it is unclear whether that includes any subjective suspension like the one issued on Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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