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Kansas Could Be In Real Trouble With the NCAA

In case you haven’t heard, it hasn’t been a fun few days for Kansas basketball.

On Friday, the Kansas City Star reported that the school was in big trouble with the NCAA, and could potentially get hit with multiple Level I NCAA violations. And as it turned out, that report was the appetizer to the main entrée that hit Monday afternoon.

That’s because, after an investigation into the school, the NCAA dropped their “Notice of Allegations” on Monday night (the Notice of Allegations is a report on what the NCAA found during their investigation). You can read the whole thing here if you please, but if you want the short, sweet version, here is what you need to know:

The NCAA has basically accused Adidas of recruiting on behalf of Kansas, of promising or giving money to players families and guardians to help steer them to Kansas. And according to the NCAA, those Adidas reps did all of that with the approval and knowledge of Bill Self and his lead assistant Kurtis Townsend. Basically, Self and Townsend may not have directly dropped a duffel bag of cash at recruits’ feet. Instead, according to the NCAA, Adidas did it for Bill Self. With Bill Self’s blessing.

With the news, it put Kansas in the direct cross-hairs of the NCAA. Based on what we learned on Monday, the NCAA appears serious about going after one of its cash cow programs and golden goose head coaches.

So to answer your question, yes, Kansas could and likely will be in real trouble. And yes, it leaves Self’s future at the school quite cloudy.

Let’s take a look at what we know, what went down, and what could be next for both Kansas and other programs in college basketball:

What Background Do You Need to Know?

Now to be clear, most of what came out yesterday is technically “new.” If you paid attention during the FBI trial a year ago, you would have seen some version of Monday’s news coming. Maybe no one could have seen just how aggressive the NCAA ended up being. Or exactly the amount of blood that ended up on Bill Self’s hands (that’s figurative blood, not literal. Thankfully).

But again, we should have seen this day coming.

That’s because about a year ago, Self’s text communications with Adidas rep TJ Gassnola came to light at the FBI trials in New York. There was a lot of back-and-forth between the two (and as it turns out, other Adidas reps and Self and his staff) but the most incriminating stuff came straight from Self’s text messages to Gassnola. Those were the texts where Self said to Gassnola “I’m happy with Adidas. Just got to get a couple real guys.” Gassnola responded by saying “I have never let you down. Except Dyondre (DeAndre Ayton) lol. We will get it right.”

Had it not been for the FBI trials, there is no way the NCAA could have ever gotten access to those texts. But because of the FBI trial there they were, and it appears the NCAA is intent on using them against Self. It’s something that I wrote about a full year ago, where I openly wondered how the NCAA couldn’t use them against Kansas. Apparently, the NCAA agreed and came down on Kansas, with those text messages as the basis for their lengthy list of allegations. Even though Kansas argued against it, there really was no other way to interpret them as Kansas and Self working together to get De Sousa to Kansas.

Speaking of De Sousa and Kansas, let’s also not forget that Kansas has already… ADMITTED TO NCAA VIOLATIONS!!! Kansas fans don’t want to hear it. But, when Silvio de Sousa was suspended for all of last season, Kansas worked with the NCAA, in hopes of getting his suspension reduced. To get that suspension reduced, the Kansas administration admitted that Gassnola had in fact funneled money to De Sousa’s guardian to get him to Lawrence. At the time, the KU defense served its purpose: De Sousa’s suspension was reduced from two full seasons to just one. At the same time, they also opened up the reality that yes, they had a player who was only at Kansas because Adidas paid his guardian to get him there.

That’s also what makes what happened next even more wild: Yes, Kansas admitted that Gassnola paid De Sousa’s guardian to send him there. But they also claimed –get this – that Gassnola went rouge, that he did so without any knowledge of Kansas and its staff. That’s right: Kansas claimed that despite the fact that Gassnola and Self were in constant contact in the lead-up to De Sousa’s commitment, Self had no idea that Gassnola had given the kid’s family anything.

It seemed like a preposterous claim at the time, and apparently the NCAA agreed.

Which brings us back to Monday.

The NCAA called out Self under it’s new “Head Coach Responsibility” guidelines, which basically hold the head coach responsible for the actions of everyone around the program. The NCAA also hit Kansas with a “Lack of Institutional Control” charge. If you read the report, the NCAA claims that Kansas officials knew about Gassnola and other Adidas reps hanging around the program, but did nothing to stop them. Nor did they report their concerns to the NCAA.

So yeah, that’s not good for Kansas. And for half a second, let’s give credit to the NCAA here. For two years they’ve claimed they wanted to clean up college basketball and minimize the role shoe companies played in the recruitment of high-caliber high school players. But no one was quite sure if they would actually go after one of their big, money making programs.

Only they have.

And Kansas is officially on the clock.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

What’s Next for Kansas?

In terms of “What’s Next,” don’t expect anything to happen to Kansas this season. The school has 90 days to respond to Monday’s report, to explain why the NCAA is wrong and deliver proof in their defense. Expect them to use that entire time, and for the two sides to go back and forth well into next summer. Because of it, don’t expect Bill Self to miss any games this season or Kansas to miss this year’s NCAA Tournament.

And if there were any doubt about that, Kansas and Bill Self both released statements Monday night, which read in part, “it is already clear from an initial review that the University will fiercely dispute in detail much of what has been presented.”

So yeah, Kansas ain’t going down without a fight.

At the same time, it’s hard to figure out exactly what and how they will fight. To be clear, for the school to win the battle with the NCAA and get Self cleared without any major punishment, the school will have to prove that the allegations made against him and the school are false. That seems like it will be a hard thing to do when 1) The school has already admitted to the NCAA that Gassnola helped land De Sousa in Lawrence 2) There is documented proof that Self and Gassnola were in touch in the lead-up to De Sousa’s commitment.

Based on the information we already have, I really don’t know what Kansas’s argument would be. And if they can’t defend it, then that leaves Self with a very uncertain future. Especially with those new “Head Coach Responsibility” rules in place.

What Could Happen to Self?

According to those new “Head Coach Responsibility” rules, Kansas could face up to five years ban from the NCAA Tournament (won’t happen) and they also call for up to a one-year show cause penalty for the coach. Yes, you read that correctly: If Self is found responsible of what the NCAA claims, they could suspend him for a full year.

Will they? Given that these rules have never been enacted before, it’s impossible to know. But that is what the NCAA has recommended as punishment. Which also leads to the next question which is, if it goes down that road, would Kansas and Self just decide to part ways? Would Self really want to sit out for a season? Would Kansas really want him out for that long? Considering Self is still in his mid-50’s, is this the time where he finally makes his long-rumored jump to the NBA?

Who knows? But it does feel like the NCAA is ready to hand out some major punishment to him.

What Does Monday’s News Mean for Other Schools Caught in the FBI Probe?

Furthermore, I’d also add this: With the NCAA so clearly intent on bringing the hammer on Kansas and using those “Head Coach Responsibility” rules, it seems like a bad sign for the other programs involved in the FBI probe as well. While Sean Miller was never directly caught the way Self was, would the NCAA go after him, with one of Miller’s assistant coaches currently in prison? What about Bruce Pearl at Auburn?

As for those wondering about Louisville, they will be an interesting case study as well. Like NC State, Louisville has cleaned house since the FBI news broke two years ago. They have a whole new administration and head coach? Could the Cardinals avoid punishment? To take it a step further, could the NCAA hit Rick Pitino with those “Head Coach Responsibility” rules and give him with a one-year show cause? It seems in play.

That conversation is for another day though, and right now all we know about is Bill Self and Kansas. they seem intent on a long, drawn out fight with the NCAA.

Based on what we know right now, it’s not a fight I expect them to win.

Article written by Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres is covering football and basketball for KSR this season after four years at Fox Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, Facebook or e-mail at [email protected] He is also the author of the only book written on the Calipari era, “One and Fun: A Behind the Scenes Look at John Calipari and the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats.”

27 Comments for Kansas Could Be In Real Trouble With the NCAA

  1. mashman 93
    2:22 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink


  2. BobbyBlue
    2:53 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

    Stall, stall, stall— The UNCheats game plan in 3-2-1, and then OMG in a couple of years,if they lose Self could be forced to sit out for a “whole year”
    Rock Choke Gayhawks !!!

  3. serdi
    2:56 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

    Jayhawk supporters…get that $20 million together and fight it to the death just like the Cheats did. In addition, use some of that money to do an investigation of Nike and Zion Williamson, since they out bid Adidas

    2:58 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

    Louisville did not clean house, pitino resigned remember, was just all over the news. Screw Kansas, burn louisville and that retard mack.

    • ukjaybrat
      7:28 am September 25, 2019 Permalink

      exactly. just because louisville fired some people. that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be punished. they were on probation and cheated. firsing a couple of people is far less severe of a punishment than what they deserve. burn that school to the ground (metaphorically, this isn’t a threat since i know this comment may be used in court one day).

  5. plumloopy
    3:26 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

    Gassnola turned red???

    • BlueByYou
      4:34 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

      Plum….your comment did not go unnoticed BTW. Maybe he was a ‘red’ rogue?????

    • ibescootch
      8:36 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

      Hahaha I was hoping I wasn’t the only person who saw that!

    • makeitstop
      8:56 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

      Lol yea I was going to do that myself. Dear Lord, he went rouge, after which he turned bleu.

  6. Han
    3:30 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

    Louisville can’t escape punishment. They were on probation for their stripper cheating and got caught cheating again. Even if you fire everyone involved, the institution still has to be penalized. Otherwise they can always scapegoat coaches while continuing the same behavior.

    I hope Kansas, UL and Arizona all go down hard, and I hope they then go after the NCAA in court for not penalizing UNC for equally blatant cheating over an even longer period of time and for not investigating repeated extra benefits to Duke players.

    We’ve gotten our penalties in the past, so I expect all these cheaters to get theirs..

    • GoCatz
      4:43 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

      Yes, yes and yes!!

    • nocode96
      5:40 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

      I agree with you 100%. I also am in the camp that thinks UK and especially Cal go out of their way to be compliant because they know they’re watched more than anyone, the ncaa is just waiting for the slightest wrongdoing.

      However…I’m not sure every player to come to Lexington before, and during Cal’s tenure would come out looking squeaky clean if Nike gets involved. I’d bet a small fortune that somehow, someway at least one of our guys got a little something something extra from Nike at some point. Whether that’s cash, or even a pair of unapproved shoelaces, the ncaa will stick it hardest to UK. We all know that.

  7. Heavy C
    3:53 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

    That’s all fine and dandy but their out will be “Proving” that the school or Self knew they(Addias) were doing the deeds….much less “On Their Behalf” Mark it down.

    • magicat13
      5:15 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

      How about the text between Self and Gassnova?

  8. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    4:39 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

    You know Duke done something horrible when they go after Kansas as a way to say that they do punish Blue Bloods.

  9. Bluebloodtoo
    4:43 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

    We should have seen this day coming? I expected that day at UNC, but that never came to fruition. I’m glad the NCAA is taking a hard line on this because it would have completely justified all the ire they’ve drawn recently if they didn’t. They need to show everyone that they are serious about this stuff. If they don’t, then the pay for play conversation needs to get heated up again real quick. Either they are serious about keeping the amateurism and level playing field, or they are running a money making business under the guise of a non-profit organization.

    • nocode96
      5:45 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

      Very well said.

  10. BlueBanker18
    5:19 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

    Louisville hired President Ramsey’s replacement from Kansas, so there’s that.

    • zoupman
      5:36 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

      Ramsey stole a lot of money while at UL.

    • ukjaybrat
      7:32 am September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Ramsey stole a lot of money [from the state of Kentucky] while at UL

      * Fixed that for you (remember Kentucky tax payers are paying for the YUM center now)

  11. UKCatAttack
    5:35 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

    Nice write up Aaron. I haven’t clicked on your stories for a long time. Mostly, because they are usually too long. I’m glad I read this one, it’s the most concise summary of the allegations against Kansas.

  12. RAGE
    9:52 pm September 24, 2019 Permalink

    Has the NCAA even contacted Arizona yet or have they just forgot about what Miller has done there???

    • CvilleWildcat
      8:01 am September 25, 2019 Permalink

      The NCAA hasn’t forgotten about Arizona or Sean Miller yet. They are reminded of it every time he coaches in that sweat nasty white shirt.