KU Jayhawks coach Bill Self makes critical comments about transfer portal, NIL deals

Rich Sugg/rsugg@kcstar.com

Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self commented on the NCAA transfer portal and name, image, likeness agreements during an event Sunday in Houston.

Asked about the issue of college players earning NIL money, Self told Houston Fox 26 sports director Mark Berman the current setup is “out of control. It is. I’m not saying ‘bad,’ but I’m saying we haven’t put our arms around it yet. Everybody’s kind of interpreting it their own way, which is totally permissible and legal within the rules.

“It’s changed the playing field to where it’s not quite as level as what it potentially could be. I’m all for the kids and their families benefiting from this. There’s nothing wrong with that, but once again, a kid shouldn’t transfer because he can get $50,000 more (in NIL money) or be told he can get $50,000 more somewhere else and this place (his original school) has actually done a very, very good job in helping develop him.”

Last Saturday, after former Kansas State guard Nijel Pack chose Miami as a transfer destination, it was reported on Twitter that Pack had secured a LifeWallet NIL deal good for $800,000 over two years plus a car.

Self, whose 2021-22 NCAA championship roster included four players from last spring’s transfer portal (Remy Martin, Jalen Coleman-Lands, Joseph Yesufu and redshirt Cam Martin) had this to say when asked about the transfer portal at the Houston event:

“I think it’s bad. In theory it’s good, you know, freedom of movement all this stuff. In theory it’s good,” Self said. “I think sometimes it (transferring without having to sit out a season) gives young people a way out without actually trying to fight through some things. But in theory … you know, coaches can move. In theory kids should be able to move too, but it’s out of control right now with the reason you are moving is because, ‘I can get a bigger NIL deal somewhere else.’

“I’m not sure the reasons we are moving are for the right reasons. I think they are for reasons that sometimes wouldn’t be best for a youth’s life over time. I do think there’s something about us staying somewhere and fighting through some stuff.”

Self after the recent KU basketball banquet said: “NIL already is affecting recruiting. It’s the way the game is. It’s not going away. No matter what anybody says about NIL, how negative or positive, that’s the business we live in (and) have got to live in.”

Former Iowa State guard Tyrese Hunter, who has entered the portal, has listed KU as one of six possible transfer destinations. KU also reportedly is interested in recruiting former South Dakota State shooting guard Baylor Scheierman. who has heard from KU, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Gonzaga and others.

Self assesses second title

Self was asked by Berman if winning his second national title in 2022 was as “sweet” as winning his first in 2008.

“I will say for me I think this one is sweeter,” Self said. “Winning the first one was unbelievable, an unbelievable experience but in that one everything fell right.

“We didn’t have any major obstacles to kind of go through. This one was a little bit different. Every obstacle we had turned out to be a huge blessing. We got tougher and harder because of it. We are the same team that Kentucky beat by 20 in our building just two months before the championship game. Our guys have been humbled and fought through some stuff. That’s what I think makes this a little more special.”

Self praises Sampson

Self also was asked about Houston coach Kelvin Sampson, a person Self has known for decades. Houston, which has emerged as a regular member of the Top 25 poll during the eight-year Sampson era, soon will be competing against KU regularly as a new member of the Big 12.

“I’m obviously familiar with Kelvin because we competed against each other in the Big 12 when he was at Oklahoma (1994 to 2006). There’s no better coach in college basketball. There’s also nobody that gets their teams to play harder and compete harder than what his does,” Self said.

“i learned a lot from him because he always said there’s a difference between playing hard and learning how to compete. I don’t know if he still says that but that’s what he certainly said when he was at Oklahoma and it’s true. What he’s doing (in building strong program at UH) is absolutely no surprise to anybody that knows him.”