Kansas basketball coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend on Wednesday were suspended for the first four games of the season, and the Jayhawks imposed several recruiting restrictions as part of the fallout from the FBI investigation into college basketball corruption stemming from 2017.
They will miss the Jayhawks’ matchup against Duke in the Champions Classic on Nov. 15. Assistant coach Norm Roberts will serve as interim head coach of the defending national champions during Self’s suspension over the first four games.
Both Self and Townsend were both named in the NCAA’s notice of allegations that accused the school of five Level I violations tied to its relationship with Adidas.
They will also miss games against Omaha, North Dakota State and Southern Utah prior to the showdown against Duke. Self and Townsend will rejoin the team in time to face NC State at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas on Nov. 23.
“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 chose to turn its infractions case over to the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP). Per the release, the school notified the IARP panel of its self-imposed penalties, which also include multiple recruiting sanctions, some of which have already been imposed.
Self and Townsend had already been barred from off-campus recruiting visits from April to July of this year, and the school also did not host any recruits at Late Night at the Phog, its annual midnight madness event. The school also will lose three scholarships over the next three years, cut down its official recruiting visits this year by four and reduce the number of permissible recruiting days during the upcoming year by 13 days.
“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. … Per confidentiality guidelines related to infraction cases, we are unable to comment in depth until there is full resolution of this matter.”
The IARP process was created in 2019 as an alternative to the NCAA’s traditional infractions process. Multiple schools impacted by the FBI’s corruption investigation decided to use the independent panel to address their ongoing infractions cases, but the process has been plagued by delays and other challenges.
Its only major ruling in men’s college basketball thus far has been the Memphis case. In September, the IARP panel determined that Penny Hardaway had not violated any rules when he provided benefits to former star recruit James Wiseman and other prospects prior to his time as head coach of the program.
After it rules on the Kansas men’s basketball case, the IARP process will be discontinued by the NCAA. Schools cannot appeal the IARP’s ruling.
The NCAA has accused Kansas, through its notice of allegations, of using Adidas to gain an illegal advantage in recruiting. Its notice of allegations stated that Self and Townsend “encouraged” Adidas employees, including those who were charged in the FBI case, to steer top recruits to Kansas.
“Throughout this process, we have had ongoing conversations with all the involved parties,” Kansas chancellor Douglas A. Girod said in a statement. “We believe the actions we are announcing today move us closer to resolving this matter. We look forward to commenting further when this process is fully resolved. Until then, I want to reiterate our unwavering support of Coach Self and our men’s basketball program.”