The NCAA's enforcement staff is taking aim at Bill Self and his staff for what it claims are "egregious" and "severe" rules violations involving Kansas' basketball program. From a document released on Thursday, it's clear the NCAA thinks Self shouldn't be coaching at Kansas anymore.
After hitting Kansas with multiple major violations in connection to the Adidas college basketball scandal, the organization's enforcement staff replied to Kansas' refutation of those charges. In a 92-page document released on Thursday, the enforcement staff said the program's violations "significantly undermine and threaten the NCAA Collegiate Model." The reply also had harsh words for head coach Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend.
Here's one section of the reply:
"While the football allegations involve alleged Level II and III violations, which are serious alleged violations, there can be no doubt the men's basketball allegations are egregious, severe and are the kind that significantly undermine and threaten the NCAA Collegiate Model. The institution secured significant recruiting and competitive advantages by committing alleged Level I men's basketball violations. The institution, in taking its defiant posture in the case, is indifferent to how its alleged violations may have adversely impacted other NCAA institutions who acted in compliance with NCAA legislation."
The report says Self and Townsend "embraced, welcomed and encouraged" Adidas employees and consultants pushing high-profile recruits to Kansas.
Kansas is charged with five Level I violations related to the basketball program, including the dreaded "lack of institutional control" charge. Self has also been hit with head coach responsibility violations.
Under the NCAA's rules, Self could be face a show-cause penalty and be suspended for an entire year for a Level I violation.
For its part, Kansas has basically said it takes no responsibility for the violations because it doesn't believe anyone at the school did anything wrong:
"The NCAA enforcement staff's reply does not in any way change the University of Kansas' position that the allegations brought against our men's basketball program are simply baseless and littered with false representations. As the federal trial proved, Adidas employees intentionally concealed impermissible payments from the University and its coaching staff. The University has never denied these impermissible payments were made. For the NCAA enforcement staff to allege that the University should be held responsible for these payments is a distortion of the facts and a gross misapplication of NCAA Bylaws and case precedent. "In addition, the enforcement staff's assertion that KU refuses to accept responsibility is wrong. The University absolutely would accept responsibility if it believed that violations had occurred, as we have demonstrated with other self-reported infractions. Chancellor [Doug] Girod, [athletic director] Jeff Long and KU stand firmly behind Coach Self, his staff and our men's basketball program, as well as our robust compliance program."
Kansas is apparently just planning to be defiant here.
In the following section, the NCAA goes directly after Self and Townsend and their working relationship with TJ Gassnola, an Adidas consultant who avoided prison by working with investigators. It's worth noting, the initial notice of allegations claimed Gassnola funneled money to several Kansas recruits:
"The institution failed to control and monitor the relationship between Adidas' representatives with its storied men's basketball program. This failure led to TJ Gassnola (Gassnola), a convicted criminal and then Adidas outside counsel, having unfiltered access to the men's basketball program and allowed for Gassnola and Adidas to profoundly influence the institution's recruitment of elite men's basketball student-athletes. "In fact, Self and Townsend embraced, welcomed and encouraged Gassnola and Adidas' other representatives' impermissible involvement. When boosters commit violations, the membership has clearly spoken through its legislative authority and infractions case precedent that the institutions should be held responsible."
It's pretty clear from that section the NCAA thinks Self is shady and was fully willing to do whatever it took to get high-level recruits on campus. Is that different than any other high-major coach? Maybe not, but he clearly got caught doing it.
This is set up to be a lengthy battle. Kansas appears dug in and is standing by Self and the NCAA does not look like it's going to back down.