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The Kansas Jayhawks have just lifted the National Championship trophy over their heads, but that excitement may be short-lived as the NCAA investigation into corruption in college basketball could be nearing completion.
The University of Kansas was included in the list of schools under the FBI case in 2017, which claimed to have paid bribes to attract the best recruits to elite programs. According to then-U.S. Attorney General June Kim of New York’s Southern District, payments were made by coaches to refer young players to financial and business advisors.
“Coaches in some of the country’s major programs who demand and accept cash bribes; managers and financial advisors spinning in blue chips like coyotes; and employees of one of the world’s largest sportswear companies, secretly sending money to the families of high school recruits, ”Kim said in 2017.
Federal agents initially arrested 10 people, including former NBA star Chuck Person.
The FBI investigation prompted the NCAA to declare five Level I violations – which constitute a serious misconduct – against the Kansas Men’s Basketball Program in September 2019, including head coach Bill Self and assistant Curtis Townsend. The accusations were centered around payments made by representatives of Adidas, the school’s clothing sponsor, future KU recruits.
The NCAA announced in July 2020 that the case would be heard through the Independent Accountability Process (IARP). Under this process, an independent decision-making board consisting of five independent members with legal, higher education and / or sporting experience will consider the case and decide on penalties. There is no appeal procedure in the IARP.
The University of Kansas has spent more than $ 3 million on defense
Kansas vigorously defended the program and both of its coaches, spending more than $ 3 million to defend against NCAA violations, according to KCUR.
KU officials claim that Adidas representatives “deliberately concealed inadmissible payments from the university and its coaching staff. The university has never denied that these inadmissible payments were made,” the university said in a statement issued in 2020 in response to an NCAA notice.
“The university would have taken full responsibility if it had considered the violations to have taken place, as we have demonstrated by other self-reported violations,” the school said. It states that KU and its executives “stand firmly behind Coach Self, his staff and our men’s basketball program, as well as our robust execution program”.
The school has also demonstrated its support for its head coach by giving Self a five-year deal of $ 5.41 million, which automatically adds one year at the end of each season, effectively making it a lifetime contract.
“For almost 20 years, Coach Self has embodied the spirit and tradition of the University of Kansas, leading our men’s basketball program to the National Championship, 15 big 12 titles and 17 appearances in NCAA tournaments. We believe in Coach Self and believe in the future of our program under his leadership, and we are very excited that he will continue to be a Jaihock until the end of his coaching career, ”Kansas University Chancellor Doug Girad said in a statement issued during the contract.
The new Self contract included a clause stating that KU “does not terminate the work of the head coach due to any ongoing violations that include conduct that occurred on or before the date of full implementation of this Agreement”. It also states that if a coach is dismissed by the NCAA or the Big 12 “as a result of an NCAA violation case,” he will lose half of his salary at the time of the dismissal.
Kansas faces possible fines, including disqualification from next year’s NCAA tournament
One can only guess what punishment the IARP may impose. It could be anything from a blow to the wrist to a ban on the nation’s reigning champions from participating in next year’s NCAA tournament.
It is safe to say that the process has been very slow, and NCAA President Mark Emmert told reporters at a Final Four press conference that it took “too long”.
The fact is that the violations found in the FBI investigation would still be illegal if they occurred in 2022. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that college athletes could make a profit on their behalf, images and similarities in what is now known as the NIL deal.
The Supreme Court ruling opened the door for player-backed deals
The March Madness 2022 tournament was the first in which these NIL deals allowed athletes to take advantage of their popularity in deals ranging from local restaurants in their student cities to major national brands such as Gatorade and Adidas – companies at the center of the 2017 investigation.
Brands are expected to spend about $ 600 million on NIL deals before the first anniversary of the NCAA’s policy change in July. all over the NIL universe.
These costs are expected to grow to billions, opening a new era of financial opportunity for nearly half a million NCAA sports students – most of whom do not receive sports scholarships.
In the past, athletes could lose a scholarship or lose a player’s career in college by profiting from their name, imagination and likeness. Now they have a new way of financing education – such athletes who received money, according to an FBI investigation.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.