LAWRENCE, Kansas — Kansas suspended Hall of Fame coach Bill Self and top assistant Kurtis Townsend for the first four games of the season on Wednesday, while imposing several recruiting restrictions, as part of the fallout from a long FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.
Norm Roberts will serve as interim coach for the defending national champions beginning in their Monday night opener against Omaha. Self and Townsend will also miss games against North Dakota State and Southern Utah, as well as a high-profile showdown between the No. 5 Jayhawks and the No. 7 Duke in the Champions Classic.
Self and Townsend will join the team to take on North Carolina State at Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas on Nov. 23.
The school had already banned the two coaches from off-campus recruiting last summer. It will also reduce the number of official visits during the 2023-24 academic year, reduce the total number of scholarships by three over a three-year period, and reduce the number of recruitment days allowed during the academic year by 13 days. coming year.
There were no official visitors this year for Late Night at the Phog, the annual celebration to kick off the season.
“Coach Townsend and I accept and support KU’s decision,” Self said in a statement. “We’re in good hands with Coach Roberts, and I’m confident he’ll do a great job off the bench leading our team. I’m proud of the way our guys handled this situation and I can’t wait to get back on the bench for our game against NC State.
The Kansas violations case stems from a 2017 federal investigation that led to the conviction of executives of a shoe company, a middleman who worked with them and several assistant coaches.
Kansas was among the schools named in the case, along with Arizona, LSU, Louisville and NC State.
The Kansas case hinged on whether representatives of clothing company Adidas were considered boosters — the school argues they weren’t — when two of them arranged payments to potential recruits. The school never disputed that the payments had been made, only that it was aware of the existence of the incentives.
Auburn received four years of probation under a traditional NCAA infraction process for a similar case, but Kansas has joined other schools in appealing its case to an independent committee. accountability review, which was part of proposals made by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2018 to reform the sport.
The panel works outside the jurisdiction of the NCAA and was designed to deal with particularly complex cases. But its work has been painfully slow – NCAA President Mark Emmert has acknowledged the process is taking “far too long” – and Kansas has decided to impose restrictions on itself while continuing to wait for the IARP announces its decision.
“We hope these tough self-imposed penalties help close the deal,” Kansas athletic director Travis Goff said in a statement, declining further comment. “Until then, our focus will continue to be on supporting our outstanding men’s basketball student-athletes and coaches.”
Kansas had already doubled down on Self by signing him to a new contract in April 2021.
Under the terms of the five-year deal, Self gets an additional year after the end of each season, making it a lifetime deal. It guaranteed him $5.41 million a year with a base salary of $225,000, a professional services contract of $2.75 million and an annual retention bonus of $2.435 million.
The contract includes a clause stating that the school cannot terminate Self for cause “due to any ongoing violation involving conduct that occurred at or before” the signing of the agreement. And while he’ll have to give up half his base salary and professional services while serving a Big 12 or NCAA suspension, it’s unclear if that includes self-imposed suspensions such as the one pronounced on Wednesday.
“Throughout this process, we have had ongoing conversations with all parties involved,” Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod said in a statement. “We believe the actions we are announcing today bring us closer to resolving this matter.”
Complicating Kansas’ case, however, is the rapidly changing landscape of college sports. Some of the alleged breaches in the 2017 investigation would no longer breach the rules of the Name, Image and Likeness legislation, which allowed athletes in all sports to start making money from endorsements and other off-field business agreements.
Meanwhile, the days of post-season bans and crippling purse cuts as the punishments seem to be winding down.
Memphis was sentenced to three years probation in August and slapped with a public reprimand and a fine for violations in recruiting James Wiseman, now with the Golden State Warriors. But the Tigers escaped any purse penalties or postseason bans because the IARP said it didn’t want to punish current athletes.
Even though the IARP continues to work on several cases, the NCAA’s Division I Transformation Committee earlier this year made a recommendation to end the process. The proposal was quickly adopted by the Division I Board of Directors.
“We look forward to further comment when this process is fully resolved,” Girod said of the IARP process. “In the meantime, I want to reiterate our unwavering support for Coach Self and our men’s basketball program.”
New York Post