The University of Kansas and the NCAA are engaging in a war of words.
Kansas has been accused of committing five Level 1 violations, the most severe charges that can be brought against a program. It also includes the granddaddy of them all — lack of institutional control.
The indictment on Bill Self’s program was met with disdain. In short, the school’s response to the NCAA was, “DENY, DENY, DENY.” Shortly after that submission, Kansas invited Snoop Dog, Nasty Dogg and all of his acrobatic dancers to the school’s midnight madness. Now that a few months have passed, the NCAA has replied to Kansas’ response by dropping a 92-page document on their doorstep.
Filled with legal jargon, you can wade through all 92 pages here. I’m sure it’s all riveting. If you’d rather not read through the NCAA’s arguments, here are a couple of snippets that should raise a few eyebrows.
“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 NCAA enforcement staff wrote in its reply. “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.”
“Regarding the men’s basketball allegations, very few facts are in dispute,” the NCAA reply said. “The institution does not dispute that Adidas and its employee and consultant provided at least $100,000 to families of three men’s basketball student-athletes the institution was recruiting. Bill Self (Self), head men’s basketball coach, and Kurtis Townsend (Townsend), assistant men’s basketball coach, also do not dispute many of the facts related to Adidas and its representatives having contact with prospects, and that they regularly communicated with Adidas representatives about their recruitment of prospects.
Even though the NCAA brought out a few haymakers in their response, Kansas is not budging.
“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,” Kansas’ statement from Thursday reads. “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 Girod, Jeff Long and KU stand firmly behind Coach Self, his staff and our men’s basketball program, as well as our robust compliance program.”
The conflict will come to a head as the two sides debate on whether or not T.J. Gassnola and others from Adidas acted as representatives of the school. It’s a matter of splitting legal hairs, but the NCAA uses pretty wide-ranging language to define “representatives of the institution’s athletic interests.”
“The institution, Self and Townsend have accepted no responsibility for this conduct,” the NCAA’s opening statement reads. “They assert that Adidas and four of its employees or consultants are not representatives of the institution’s athletic interests.”
Now that the two parties have gone back and forth, the Committee of Infractions will host Kansas for a hearing. When their day in court will take place is only a guess at this point, thanks to the Coronavirus.