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Bill Self Suspended Four Games to Start Kansas Basketball Season

Defending national champion Kansas men’s basketball will be without coach Bill Self to begin its 2022–23 season, the program announced on Wednesday. Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend will each serve a self-imposed four-game suspension to start the campaign. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman was first to report the news.

The self-imposed sanctions stem from the 2017 NCAA investigation into the Jayhawks program, according to Goodman. Kansas was tied into that year’s FBI investigation into corruption in the sport, with the NCAA alleging that Self and Townsend “embraced, welcomed and encouraged” representatives of Adidas, KU’s long-time apparel partner, recruiting players on the program’s behalf, an effort that allegedly involved improper benefits.

Norm Roberts, the former coach of St. John’s and a Self assistant since 2012, will take over interim head coaching duties during the suspension.

Kansas is set to open the regular season on Nov. 7 with a home game against Omaha. Self will also miss a Nov. 10 game against North Dakota State, a big neutral-site clash with Duke in Indianapolis on Nov. 15 and a final home game against Southern Utah on Nov. 18. The two coaches are set to return for the Nov. 23 Battle 4 Atlantis opener against NC State in the Bahamas.

“Coach Townsend and I accept and support KU’s decision to self-impose these sanctions,” Self said in a statement. “We are in good hands with Coach Roberts, and I am confident that he will do a great job on the bench leading our team. I am proud of the way our guys have handled this situation and I look forward to returning to the bench for our game against NC State.”

Kansas received its initial notice of allegations from the NCAA in Sept. 2019. The program faces five Level I infractions—the NCAA’s most serious level—along with a charge of head coach responsibility and a lack of institutional control tag. 

Self and Townsend were each pulled off of the recruiting trail during live periods from April to July ’22, as the NCAA continued its lengthy probe into the Jayhawks program. That absence was also listed in Kansas’s announcement of self-discipline. 

As part of its self-imposed sanction, Kansas is also taking on recruiting restrictions with a reduction of four official visits during the 2022–23 and 2023–24 academic years. The team will be docked three total scholarships over the next three seasons, and is taking a “six-week ban on recruiting communications, a six-week ban on unofficial visits and a thirteen-day reduction in the number of permissible recruiting days during the 2022–23 calendar year.” The program also declined to host official visitors during the 2022 Late Night in the Phog event. 

“We are hopeful these difficult self-imposed sanctions will assist in bringing the case to a conclusion,” Kansas athletic director Travis Goff said. “Until then, we will continue to focus on supporting our outstanding Men’s Basketball student-athletes and coaches. Assistant Coach Norm Roberts will serve as interim head coach during the first four games. Per confidentiality guidelines related to infraction cases, we are unable to comment in depth until there is full resolution of this matter.”

School chancellor Douglas A. Girod added that the university has “unwavering support” for Self and the Jayhawks program, adding that he hopes the self-imposed sanctions will “move us closer to resolving this matter.”

Goodman reports that the program isn’t expected to receive its NCAA penalties until after the conclusion of the season, so it is unclear whether this will be the extent of discipline for the legendary Jayhawks coach. 

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