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Kansas Jayhawks Bill Self suspended 4 games in self-imposed punishment

Oct 14, 2022; Lawrence, Kansas, US; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self stands next to the 2022 NCAA National Championship Trophy during Late Night at the Phog at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas head coach Bill Self is suspended for the first four games of the 2022-23 season in self-imposed punishment also expected to include recruiting limitations, Stadium reported on Wednesday.

Self signed a lifetime contract that prohibits being fired for cause for reasons associated with the 2017 federal probe into college basketball recruiting and payments executed by Adidas that led to the demise of Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Arizona’s Sean Miller.

Self has maintained his innocence but said he’s not at liberty to discuss details of the matter.

Self would miss Monday’s season opener against Omaha, the first game the fifth-ranked Jayhawks will play as defending national champions, and return Nov. 23 against North Carolina State in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

Stadium reported Norm Roberts would be acting coach and the punishment also includes a four-game suspension for assistant coach Kurtis Townsend. Roberts would also coach Kansas in the Nov. 15 game against Duke in Indianapolis.

The suspension relates to the federal probe into payments involved Adidas orchestrated payments to KU players and recruits.

The investigation revealed a text exchange in which Adidas’ T.J. Gassnola told Self that Silvio De Sousa was among recruits offered payments of up to $100,000 in covert deals financed by the apparel company.

Self responded: “We good,” the defense exhibit of the communication shows.

Gassnola said: “Always. That was light work. Ball is in his court night.”

Phone records showed Self and Gassnola were on the phone for five minutes later that night.

Still, Self denied any knowledge of payments to players or recruits.

Gassnola testified he paid $20,000 to De Sousa’s family and confirmed it with Townsend, including a text follow up that payment was made to De Sousa’s family in Angola.

“Coach has been on the phone with Angola. We are good to go. We will commit tomorrow,” the text from De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne, read.

Less than one month later, Kansas announced that it had agreed to a 12-year, $191 million contract extension with Adidas.

The FBI also had audio of a phone call involving Townsend and Merl Code regarding financial demands from Zion Williamson’s father. Williamson chose to attend Duke.

Duke reportedly cooperated with the NCAA request to provide any information the university gathered involving similar demands. In the call with Townsend, “cash in the pocket” and “housing for him and his family” were discussed.

Additional messages from Self to Gassnola include the coach saying he was happy with Adidas, “Just got to get a couple real guys.”

“I promise you I got this,” Gassnola replied. “I have never let you down. Except Dyondre lol. We will get it right.”

Gassnola testified the reference was to Deandre Ayton, who chose to attend Arizona.

Townsend and Self were pulled from the recruiting trail in July as part of the self-imposed punishment.

–Field Level Media