Kansas coach Self considers legal action against NCAA

Kansas coach Bill Self is considering legal action against the NCAA due to the investigation into his program, according to a letter that was sent to the organization by Self’s attorney.

Scott Tompsett, who represents Self, wrote to the NCAA that the purpose of the letter was to “formally put the NCAA on notice of Mr. Self’s current and prospective claims against the NCAA relating to the NCAA’s infractions investigation of the KU men’s basketball program and Mr. Self.”

The letter was initially obtained by ESPN through an open-records request and was subsequently seen by the Kansas City Star.

In the letter dated June 12 and sent to NCAA vice president of legal affairs Scott Bearby, Tompsett wrote, “Without limiting Mr. Self’s claims, he is considering bringing legal action against the NCAA and NCAA officers, employees and representatives for negligence, breach of contract, defamation, fraud, tortious interference with contract and tortious interference with prospective contract.”

Kansas has been charged with five Level I rules violations — the most serious type — including lack of institutional control.

Self, 57, could be suspended for up to an entire season for any Level I violations.

Tompsett described the allegations regarding Self as “erroneously premised upon an arbitrary, misguided and unprecedented interpretation and application of NCAA booster and recruiting legislation.”

Last month, the NCAA enforcement staff alleged in a 92-page memo that Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend “embraced, welcomed and encouraged” Adidas employees and consultants to influence highly regarded recruits to sign with Kansas by sending money to the players’ families and handlers.

Kansas responded by saying the allegations were “simply baseless and littered with false representations.”

Meanwhile, Tompsett sees the situation as an attempt to end Self’s employment.

“To put it bluntly, the NCAA enforcement staff is attempting to end Mr. Self’s long and very successful coaching career for conduct which all coaches engage in and which the NCAA has known for many years is commonplace and permissible, i.e., sharing information with and receiving information from shoe company representatives,” Tompsett said in the letter.

The allegations are related to the bribery scandal that rocked college basketball. Several former employees and consultants of Adidas faced criminal prosecution in the scandal.

The NCAA accuses the school of a lack of institutional control and Self specifically for violations regarding the recruitment of Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa.

The NCAA stated that it views former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola and former Adidas executive James Gatto as Kansas boosters, writing, “In short, there is overwhelming factual information demonstrating that Adidas, Gassnola and Gatto promoted the institution’s interests.”

During a trial in October 2018, an FBI wiretap was introduced in which Townsend and Adidas consultant Merl Code were heard discussing what was needed for highly sought recruit Zion Williamson to sign with the Jayhawks. Williamson later chose Duke.

Self has a 501-109 record in 17 seasons at Kansas. His 2007-08 squad went 37-3 and won the NCAA championship.