LAWRENCE — Kansas’ battle with the NCAA will continue in front of a third party.
The NCAA announced Wednesday that KU’s request to have its infractions case resolved through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process has been granted by the Infractions Referral Committee. The Jayhawk men’s basketball team faces five Level I violations, which carry the most severe penalties.
The IARP was adopted by NCAA member schools in August 2018 to handle "select complex infractions cases and minimize perceived conflicts of interests," including cases with "the possibility of significant penalties," according to the IARP website. Pulling from the 15-member Independent Resolution Panel — a body that features NCAA outsiders with "legal, higher education and/or sports backgrounds" — a five-member pool will next be generated, with that group ruling on KU’s infractions case.
The IARP was created on the recommendation of the Condoleezza Rice-led Commission on College Basketball, which advised several reforms following the federal government’s probe into corruption in the sport’s recruiting world. The investigation produced indictments and exposed pay-for-play schemes across the country.
One program indirectly implicated in testimony and documents at the subsequent trials of three Adidas executives was KU, and last September, the NCAA served the university with a notice of allegations. That notice detailed improper payments by former Adidas fixer T.J. Gassnola and others with the apparel giant delivered to the parents and guardians of three elite recruits with the intent, the NCAA says, to steer them to Adidas-partnered KU.
The NCAA claims KU coach Bill Self, assistant coach Kurtis Townsend and other coaches and administrators either knew or should have known about those illicit payments. In March, KU countered with a response to the notice of allegations that denied any wrongdoing from the men’s basketball program, labeling the NCAA’s allegations unfounded and its notion that employees of an athletic department’s corporate partners can be considered boosters an "unprecedented" theory.
In addition to the three Level I violations tied to the illicit payments to the three prospective Jayhawk athletes, Self faces a head coach responsibility charge and KU a lack of institutional control charge, also Level I infractions. Each charge carries the possibility of postseason bans, scholarship reductions and show cause penalties and suspensions for members of the coaching staff.
KU also faces lesser Level II and Level III infractions for violations allegedly committed by its football program.