Kansas responded forcefully Thursday in refuted allegations made in the Notice of Allegations it was sent by the NCAA in the wake of the federal investigation into corruption in college basketball that has ensnared the Jayhawks and Hall of Fame coach Bill Self.
“In this case, stemming from federal criminal trials in 2018, there are several facts that are in dispute; there are assumptions made; and, perhaps most importantly, there are unprecedented and novel theories put forward that, if found to have merit by the Panel, would dramatically alter the collegiate sports landscape in ways not contemplated by the Membership,” the university says in its response. “This infractions’ proceeding would redefine the criminal verdicts in the federal trials if the Panel adopts the enforcement staff’s theories. In its Response, the University formally challenges each of the men’s basketball related allegations in the Amended Notice of Allegations (“ANOA”) as neither NCAA legislation nor the facts support the enforcement staff’s allegations.”
Kansas fully disputed the assertion that adidas or its representatives could be considered boosters.
“The enforcement staff relies on a never before alleged theory. Specifically, the enforcement staff alleges that: (1) a corporate sponsor of an institution’s athletics program is a representative of the institution’s athletics interests because, by the very nature of the relationship, sponsors make financial contributions that promote athletics,” the university argues, “and (2) every employee, consultant, or other person associated with the corporate sponsor is a representative of the institution if the institution knew or should have known the individual was associated with the corporate sponsor.
“Stated otherwise, according to the enforcement staff, every corporate sponsor and most, if not all, individuals associated with the sponsor are boosters of every institution with which the sponsor does business. This theory, if adopted by the Panel, would have far reaching ramifications throughout the Membership given the universal use of corporate sponsorships throughout Division I athletics.”
The university also defended Self, who won 15 Big 12 titles and one national title at the school since joining in 2003.
“Head Coach Bill Self had no knowledge of any NCAA rules violations or illicit conduct exhibited by Adidas, its employees or its consultants,” the school said. “In addition, as the University noted in September 2019, voluminous evidence demonstrates uncontestably that Coach Self did, in fact, promote an atmosphere of compliance and fully monitor his staff. The charges leveled against Coach Self are not based on fact.”
The school also denies that there was a failure to monitor and that Larry Brown, who last coached at Kansas in the 1980s, could be considered a representative of the university or athletic department.
The school’s entire response runs over 300 pages, and it’s further evidence that Kansas looks to be very much ready to push back against the NCAA and fight the allegations against one of the country’s flagship programs. The NCAA, in the notice of allegations, appears equally as ready for a fight.