The NCAA doubled down this week on allegations against the University of Kansas men’s basketball program.
A 92-page document dated May 4 from NCAA enforcement staff to Kansas said that the basketball program committed severe recruiting violations that “significantly undermine and threaten the NCAA Collegiate Model.”
"Regarding the men's basketball allegations, very few facts are in dispute," the NCAA said, according to ESPN. "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, head men's basketball coach, and Kurtis 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.”
The NCAA made it clear that it believes Kansas coaches were aware of the payments, saying that Self and Townsend “embraced, welcomed and encouraged” Adidas employees and consultants to influence recruits to sign with the Jayhawks.
Kansas released the NCAA document on Thursday, about two months after Kansas disputed allegations of major recruiting violations. The Big 12 Conference university in Lawrence, Kan., initially received a Notice of Allegations in September 2019. The men’s basketball team was accused of five Level I violations, while the football team also faced two lesser violations. Kansas was cited with a lack of institutional control and placed a head coach responsibility charge on Self.
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The allegations were based in part on former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola testifying that he recruited players to Kansas by funneling money to players’ families or guardians. Kansas says that payments were made to recruits, but they came directly from Adidas without the knowledge of Kansas officials. The Adidas pay-for-play scandal has also included Arizona, Auburn, Louisville and LSU.
Kansas’ statement in March said there is nothing suggesting that Self or any of his staff should have known about any NCAA rules violations. Self and Townsend each released their own statements in March. Kansas released another reply Thursday, continuing to dispute the NCAA’s allegations as “simply baseball and littered with false representations.”
“As the federal trial proved, Adidas employees intentionally concealed impermissible payments from the university and its coaching staff,” Kansas’ most recent statement read. “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 (Douglas) 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.”
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