Bill Self Considering Legal Action Against NCAA for Handling of Kansas Infractions Case

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In a June 12 letter to the NCAA's general counsel, Scott Thompsett, attorney for Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self, said Self is considering taking legal action for negligence, breach of contract, defamation and fraud as a result of how the NCAA handled its infractions case against the Kansas program.

News of the letter was reported by Conner Mitchell of the Lawrence Journal-Word.

Thompsett has also requested that the NCAA preserve evidence from the 2018 trial that made Adidas' pay-for-play scandal public, as well as evidence dating back to 1990 about the relationship between corporate entities and college athletic programs, the NCAA's oversight of shoe and apparel companies, and how shoe companies impact prospective student-athletes' choices of schools.

Earlier this month, the NCAA levied a one-year postseason ban and recruiting sanctions on Oklahoma State, one of the schools implicated in the FBI's investigation into college basketball corruption in 2017. Kansas was also included in a group that featured North Carolina State, Louisville, USC, South Carolina and TCU. All have been charged via Notices of Allegations.

In that notice, Self was given a coach responsibility charge, which carries a potential show-cause penalty and also possibly a postseason ban, recruiting sanctions and vacated wins.

Kansas, Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend have disputed the charges, which include allegations of a lack of institutional control in allowing Adidas “unrestricted access” to players and families of potential Kansas recruits.

“To put it bluntly, the NCAA enforcement staff is attempting to end Mr. Self’s long and very successful coaching career for conduct which all coaches engage in and which the NCAA has known for many years is commonplace and permissible,” Tompsett wrote. 

The NCAA alleges that Kansas' failure to monitor interactions between Adidas representatives and the families of former players Billy Preston and Cheick Diallo, as well as current player Silvio de Sousa, resulted in impermissible benefits during their recruiting process. Adidas effectively acted as boosters for Kansas, according to the NCAA.

In a 2018 federal trial, T.J. Gassnola, the central figure in the Adidas pay-for-play scandal, testified that he and others hid any payments from Self and Kansas.