NCAA Sends Kansas Notice of Allegations, School Will ‘Fiercely Dispute’ Allegations

The University of Kansas received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA on Monday that alleges five Level I violations by the Jayhawks’ men’s basketball program and two Level II violations by the school’s football program under former coach David Beaty.

In accordance with NCAA bylaws, Kansas will have 90 days to respond to the Notice of Allegations and the school’s response will be considered by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

“The University’s response will fully and comprehensively present its positions regarding the Notice,” the university said in a statement. “In the meantime, though, it is already clear from an initial review that the University will fiercely dispute in detail much of what has been presented.”

Here’s a summary of the alleged violations from the NCAA:

  • Adidas, Adidas outside consultant TJ Gassnola and Adidas Director of Global Sports Marketing for Basketball Jim Gatto offered and provided impermissible benefits to and had impermissible recruiting contact with Kansas recruit(s) (Level I)
  • Kansas Coach Bill Self, Kansas Assistant Coach Kurtis Townsend and “four representatives of the institution’s athletic interests” engaged in recruiting violations related to a then-prospective men’s basketball student-athlete (Level I)
  • Three Adidas consultants engaged in impermissible recruiting activities with three prospective student-athletes between December 2014 and September 2017, and Kansas Coach Bill Self and Kansas Assistant Coach Kurtis Townsend had knowledge of some impermissible recruiting contacts (Level I)
  • Kansas Coach Bill Self is presumed responsible for the violations detailed in Allegations No. 1 through No. 3 and “did not rebut the presumption of responsibility” (Level I)
  • Kansas failed to exercise institutional control and monitor the conduct and administration of its athletics programs (Level I)
  • Kansas’ football team exceeded the limit of the number of coaches who may be employed by one coach. Non-coaching staff member Jeff Love, a former football video coordinator, participated in “technical and tactical instruction with football student-athletes or assisted in making tactical decisions with football student-athletes during on-field practices” (Level II)
  • Former Kansas Coach David Beaty is presumed responsible for the violations detailed in Allegation No. 6 and did not rebut the presumption of responsibility (Level II)

 

The NCAA lists nine aggravating factors in the Notice of Allegations:

  • The school is involved in multiple Level I and Level II violations (in this case, seven such alleged violations)
  • A history of Level I, Level II or major violations (specifically cited are violations from 1957, 1960, 1972, 1983, 1988 and 2006)
  • A lack of institutional control
  • Alleged violations were premeditated, deliberate or committed after substantial planning
  • Persons of authority condoned, participated in or negligently disregarded the violations or related wrongful conduct
  • A pattern of noncompliance within the sport program
  • Intentional, willful or blatant disregard for the NCAA constitution and bylaws
  • Kansas “unnecessarily delayed the investigation when it did not timely produce certain requested documents”

 

The NCAA listed a mitigating factor of Kansas’ established history of self-reporting Level III or secondary violations.

Here’s the university’s complete statement in response to receiving the Notice of Allegations:

On Monday, September 23, the University of Kansas received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA enforcement staff regarding alleged violations of NCAA bylaws within the Kansas men’s basketball and football programs. The University has begun its detailed review of the Notice and has been granted access to some of the NCAA evidentiary documents for the first time. Per NCAA bylaws, the University has 90 days to submit a Response to the Notice of Allegations to be considered by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

The University’s response will fully and comprehensively present its positions regarding the Notice. In the meantime, though, it is already clear from an initial review that the University will fiercely dispute in detail much of what has been presented.

First and foremost, the University emphasizes that it emphatically rejects the assertion that Adidas and Adidas employees and associates were boosters and agents of the University (as defined by NCAA legislation) during the period of the alleged violations and therefore acting on the University’s behalf when they engaged in alleged violations of NCAA bylaws.

As for the allegations regarding Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bill Self, voluminous evidence demonstrates uncontestably that he did, in fact, promote an atmosphere of compliance and fully monitor his staff. The University firmly and fully supports Coach Self and his staff.

Regarding the self-reported football violations, the University’s monitoring systems worked to identify the issues, and KU self-reported violations to the NCAA related to the conduct of two members of the previous coaching staff. Those involved in the football violations are no longer associated with the University.

The University strongly disagrees with the assertion that it “lacks of institutional control.” In fact, the University believes that the record will demonstrate just the opposite. The University of Kansas takes seriously all NCAA and Big XII bylaws, consistently provides education to its staff members, and monitors its programs to ensure compliance with these bylaws. Additionally, the University has taken several actions to enhance its already strong compliance programs. Chancellor Doug Girod and Director of Athletics Jeff Long also retained an outside compliance expert to review the entire compliance program and provide recommendations, if warranted, about opportunities for improvement in light of the changes in the national landscape around college basketball. The report found that our compliance program meets or exceeds industry standard in all facets. Furthermore, the University proactively established a reporting line from the senior compliance administrator directly to the Chancellor and enhanced the frequency and depth of compliance education programs for student-athletes, staff, parents, donors and local businesses. As a result of these actions, the University’s already strong compliance programs are now even more robust.

We understand this is a unique moment in collegiate athletics, and we recognize the NCAA finds itself in a challenging position. But we don’t believe these allegations are the most appropriate way to address long-standing challenges in college basketball.

The University will continue to cooperate with the NCAA enforcement process and looks forward to submitting its Response to the Notice of Allegations, and we will gladly make that response public when it is submitted.

Kansas Coach Bill Self also released a strongly-worded statement in response:

“By the NCAA’s own admission through its public statements early this summer, it’s no secret that there is tremendous pressure on the NCAA to respond to the federal court proceedings involving college basketball. Compelled to reassure member institutions and the general public that it can police its member institutions, the NCAA enforcement staff has responded in an unnecessarily aggressive manner in submitting today’s unsubstantiated Notice of Allegations, and I, as well as the University, will vigorously dispute what has been alleged.

In its haste and attempt to regain control, the enforcement staff has created a false narrative regarding me and our basketball program. The narrative is based on innuendo, half-truths, misimpressions and mischaracterizations. In reality, we all know there is only one version of the truth. The truth is based on verifiable facts, and I am confident the facts we will demonstrate in our case will expose the inaccuracies of the enforcement staff’s narrative.

I have always taken pride in my commitment to rules compliance and led programs that operate with integrity and within the rules, and I am proud of the success that we have achieved at each program along the way. Every student-athlete who has ever played for me and their families know we follow the rules.

These allegations are serious and damaging to the University and to myself, and I hate that KU has to go through this process. With our staff’s full cooperation, these allegations will be addressed within NCAA procedures and with urgency and resolve. I will strenuously defend myself and the program, but I will respect the process and will not speak to the details of the case.”

One of the biggest issues at hand in the Notice of Allegations and Kansas’ future response to the notice is the NCAA’s defining of Adidas employees and associates as boosters and agents of the Kansas men’s basketball program. One of the strongest lines in the university’s initial response was “First and foremost, the University emphasizes that it emphatically rejects the assertion” that Gassnola, Gatto and other Adidas associates were acting on Kansas’ behalf when they committed the alleged violations.

In one of the recent federal trials regarding corruption in college basketball, Gatto was charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud as prosecutors argued the University of Kansas was a victim of the conspiracy, while the defense argued Gatto’s actions were done to help Adidas and its affiliated schools.

In March, Gatto was sentenced to nine months in prison.

The NCAA’s enforcement staff believes it could enter a show-cause order regarding Self and Townsend’s alleged involvement in the allegations, according to the Notice of Allegations, which, if administered, would be the strongest punishment the NCAA could deliver to a coach and one that has often resulted in coaches resigning, being fired or having difficulty returning to the sport at their same level of position once the show-cause penalty expires.

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