Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Kansas holds Bill Self, Kurtis Townsend off road for July live recruiting period as NCAA case drags on

Kansas coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend were held off the road for the live recruiting period in July, sources told CBS Sports. Self and Townsend missed the biggest month in college basketball recruiting, which came and went Sunday afternoon without the leader of the reigning national champions at key events nationwide.

The Jayhawks weren’t without representation across the country, however, as assistants Norm Roberts and Jeremy Case were on the road throughout the spring and summer.

Kansas officials could not comment on the matter, as the NCAA threatens additional penalties if schools discuss ongoing cases publicly.

Self and Townsend were subject to self-imposed sanctions from Kansas that signal the first cooperative effort by the program as it continues a years-long battle with the NCAA stemming from the FBI investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball recruiting. KU received its Notice of Allegations from the NCAA in September 2019 before issuing a strongly worded response in May 2020. Since then, Kansas and the NCAA have been quiet about the case publicly.

Privately, Kansas has been ferociously fighting back at nearly every allegation the NCAA is pinning to Self and the program. Kansas is facing five Level I allegations, including a lack of institutional control, in addition to Level I violations individually against Self and Townsend. Kansas is one of many schools involved in the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP), which was created following the fallout from the FBI investigation. That case went public in September 2017. Nearly five years later, program such as Kansas, Arizona and LSU are still awaiting resolution in their cases.  

Kansas is still awaiting its critical and long-overdue hearing with the IARP’s decision makers, sources said. The NCAA is also in the process of overhauling its enforcement process as a part of the greater restructuring of Division I with the transformation committee. 

An absentee Self has stirred conversation in coaching circles, particularly as he and Townsend weren’t on hand at the recruiting calendar’s crown-jewel event, Nike EYBL’s Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina. As the weekend wore on and Self was nowhere to be seen, speculation increased further. 

Kansas enters the 2022-23 season coming off a national championship in early April, Self’s second with the Jayhawks. KU is ranked eighth in CBS Sports’ offseason Top 25 And 1.

Coaches will not be able to visit recruits in person again until mid-September. Whether Self and/or Townsend will be allowed to resume full recruiting activities by then remains to be seen. As for how much damage control this move will help in Kansas’ bid to avoid significant punishment from the IARP, industry sources believe a significant suspension for Self and a potential postseason ban for the Jayhawks are penalties that remain on the table. 

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