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KU receives long-awaited ruling in NCAA infractions case

Men's hoops program avoids major penalties, receives 3-year probation & is forced to vacate 15 wins from 2017-18

5 min read

After a 6-year process that involved countless meetings, self-imposed penalties and speculation that covered a wide range of possibilities, the Kansas men’s basketball program finally received a ruling in its IARP case on Wednesday.

In it, the Independent Accountability Resolutions Process, which was put together in 2018 specifically to handle the most complex NCAA infractions cases, deemed that the five Level I allegations that Kansas was facing were too harsh.

The IARP ruled that KU’s case, which stemmed from a federal investigation in 2017 that led to the conviction of Adidas executives, a middleman who worked with them and several assistant coaches, was more in line with lower-level infractions and delved out a three-year period of probation to the KU men’s basketball program.

The ruling will have no impact on this season or the current team nor did it include any further penalties for KU coach Bill Self or assistant coach Kurtis Townsend, both of whom were named specifically in the case, dating back to KU first receiving its notice of allegations from the NCAA in 2019.

“The hearing panel was intentional in not prescribing penalties that would have a negative impact on current student-athletes,” the formal report stated. “The hearing panel also applied significant weight to Kansas’ self-imposed penalties, especially the men’s basketball recruiting restrictions for the 2022-23 academic year.”

Self, who was initially facing a Level I violation of head coach responsibility and lack of institutional control had his charge dropped to a Level III infraction. Townsend’s violations, which also were initially of the Level I variety, also were downgraded to Level II and Level III infractions.

Neither coach is facing any additional penalties beyond the four-game suspension and recruiting restrictions that they fulfilled earlier this year.

Kansas will continue to adhere to its self-imposed scholarship limitations of a reduction of three scholarships for the men’s hoops program over the next three years as well as a limit on official visitors.

The program’s three-year probation will run from Oct. 11, 2023 through Oct. 10, 2026 and will require all compliance staff and men’s basketball staff members to attend NCAA Regional Rules Seminars during each year of the probation.

Under the section titled, “Additional Penalties for the Institution,” it notes that KU will receive public reprimand and censure along with the following:

According to the ruling, KU will have to vacate all regular season and conference tournament wins, records and participation from the 2017-18 season in which former KU forward Silvio De Sousa participated, including its appearance in the 2018 Final Four.

The ruling states that “any public references to vacated records shall be removed from the athletics department stationary and banners displayed in public areas,” meaning the 2018 Final Four banner will no longer hang in Allen Fieldhouse.

In all, KU will vacate 15 wins and also be forced to forfeit its NCAA record of consecutive conference titles. KU passed UCLA’s mark of 13 regular season conference championships in a row during the 2017-18 season and now will go down in the history books as having tied UCLA’s record with 13 in a row from 2004-05 through 2016-17.

KU's NCAA-record 33 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances also drops back a few, to 28, which is still one more than the previous record held by North Carolina.

KU, which is expected to open the 2023-24 season as the preseason No. 1-ranked team in the country, now falls behind Kentucky as the NCAA's all-time wins leader in men's basketball — 2,377-2,370.

Wednesday's ruling also spelled out that the men’s basketball program’s all-time record, as well as Self’s individual record, will reflect those vacated wins and any trophies that KU received from the NCAA relating to the vacated wins are to be returned.

All rulings from the IARP are final and not subject to appeal.

KU’s case, which was referred to the IARP in July of 2020, is the final case that will be ruled on by the IARP, which will soon be disbanded by the NCAA.

Around 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, KU chancellor Douglas Girod released the following statement. Self and KU AD Travis Goff are scheduled to meet with the media later Wednesday.

Statement from Chancellor Girod:

“Today’s decision by the Independent Resolution Panel confirms what we’ve said since the beginning: the major infractions of which we were accused were unfounded. Most importantly, the Panel decision unequivocally confirms our coaches were not involved in – or had knowledge of – payments to student-athletes.

While doing our due diligence as part of this process, we acknowledged lesser infractions for which we self-imposed penalties last fall. Regarding the additional penalties announced in today’s decision, we accept them and will move forward.

As we’ve said throughout this process, KU has one of the most robust compliance programs in the country — a point that was confirmed by the multiple comprehensive audits we’ve undertaken throughout this process. Looking ahead, we will build upon our strong culture of compliance and continue to be a national leader in this space.

We appreciate the members of the Independent Resolution Panel for their fair review of the facts. We fully support Coach Self and his staff, and we look forward to him finishing his career at KU many years from now. Most importantly, we are pleased that our coaches and student-athletes can now move forward with their Jayhawk careers unfettered by the uncertainty this case has brought.”

Here's a quick look at some of the more notable ways KU's 15 vacated wins from the 2017-18 season will impact the Kansas basketball program in terms of its past accomplishments and milestones —

• KU now trails Kentucky on college basketball's all-time wins list, 2,377 to 2,370. KU had passed the Wildcats and moved into the No. 1 spot in recent years, finishing the 2022-23 season with 2,385 all-time victories. But vacating 15 wins takes that number down to 2,370 and puts the Jayhawks back in second place.

• The vacated wins also will be removed from Self's coaching record, which now sits at 569-132 at Kansas and 776-237 all-time. In addition, Self is now 21 wins (instead of just 5) behind legendary KU coach Phog Allen, who finished his Kansas coaching career with 590 victories, the most in program history.

• KU still holds the NCAA record for most consecutive regular season conference titles, but instead of owning it outright, with 14, the Jayhawks are now officially tied with UCLA at 13. KU's Big 12 title during the 2017-18 season moved the Jayhawks into first place on the list of consecutive titles, but with several Big 12 wins being vacated, the 14th title in the streak is now erased, leaving Kansas in a tie with John Wooden's Bruins for the most all-time.

• KU held onto its NCAA record of 28 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, but just barely. Last year's appearance pushed that streak to 33 consecutive tournaments, but having the 2018 appearance vacated means that streak ended at 28. That's still one more than the previous record, held by North Carolina, which advanced to 27 consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 1975-2001.

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