As potential penalties loom over Kansas, Bill Self threatens lawsuit against the NCAA for defamation

Could Kansas basketball coach Bill Self file a lawsuit against the NCAA?

Self’s attorney made the NCAA aware of the possibility in a letter dated June 12. The letter, which was obtained by multiple media outlets, says Self is considering a lawsuit against the NCAA for claims such as defamation, negligence and fraud.

The NCAA levied five Level I allegations against Self and the Kansas basketball program in September of 2019. Those allegations included a head coach responsibility charge against Self and a lack of institutional control charge. The allegations stem from the federal trial into college basketball corruption and an Adidas’ consultant’s payments to people associated with Kansas players Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa.

Self’s attorney is requesting that the NCAA preserve all materials from Kansas’ infractions investigation and all other relevant NCAA information relating to schools’ relationships with shoe and apparel companies. From the Lawrence Journal-World:

“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,” Scott Tompsett wrote.

Self was in regular contact with Adidas’ T.J. Gassnola and text messages between the two discussing te recruitment of players were made public at a federal trial. There was also a call between Kansas assistant Kurtis Townsend and another Adidas consultant that included an apparent reference to paying Zion Williamson to get him to come to Kansas. As you know, Williamson chose to go to Duke.

Williamson was granted a stay in a trial over a lawsuit by a former marketing agent on Wednesday.

Bill Self is threatening a lawsuit against the NCAA. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
Bill Self is threatening a lawsuit against the NCAA. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

NCAA already hit Oklahoma State with postseason ban

When the indictments hit ahead of Gassnola’s federal trial in the spring of 2018, Kansas said it was named as a victim. It still re-upped with Adidas, however, and signed a contract extension with the company in 2019.

When the NCAA served Kansas with its NOA, Self said the governing body was being unnecessarily aggressive regarding a “false narrative.” It was clear then that Kansas and Self were going to fight against the NCAA’s charges, and it’s even clearer now that Self won’t back down after this letter.

The NCAA doesn’t appear to be backing down, either. Fellow Big 12 member Oklahoma State received a postseason ban for the upcoming season after it was hit with just one Level I allegation and cooperated with the NCAA’s investigation after it was named in the federal investigation. Kansas has five allegations. And it has been hostile to the NCAA’s efforts to look at the basketball program.

If the NCAA hits Kansas with significant postseason penalties and levies a show-cause penalty against Self, the chances of the legal action threatened above skyrocket.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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