Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self’s attorney Scott Tompsett recently informed the NCAA of Self considering pursuing legal action amid the current NCAA investigation.
Tompsett sent the letter of notice to NCAA vice president of legal affairs and general counsel Scott Bearby on June 12. He wrote the letter was meant to "formally put the NCAA on notice of Mr. Self's current and prospective claims against the NCAA relating to the NCAA's infractions investigation of the KU men's basketball program and Mr. Self." ESPN’s Mark Schlabach first reported the news.
"Without limiting Mr. Self's claims, he is considering bringing legal action against the NCAA and NCAA officers, employees and representatives for negligence, breach of contract, defamation, fraud, tortious interference with contract and tortious interference with prospective contract," Tompsett wrote.
Tompsett's letter also requests all written and electronic communications related to this case be preserved, including information relating to the 2018 investigation in the Southern District of New York involving former Adidas employees James Gatto and Merl Code.
The Kansan obtained a copy of Tompsett's letter through an open records request.
Kansas men’s basketball faces five Level I violations — the highest violation under NCAA guidelines — including a lack of institutional control. Both Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend are both directly mentioned in, and disputing, the allegations.
The allegations focus on the program’s relationship with Adidas. The NCAA alleges Adidas acted as boosters for the Kansas men’s basketball program. Kansas Athletics signed a 14-year, $196 million apparel and sponsorship deal with Adidas in April 2019.
Kansas football was also charged with two Level II violations and one Level III violation under former head coach David Beaty. On June 5, Kansas Athletics reached a financial settlement with Beaty for $2.55 million after previously not paying Beaty’s contract buyout.
NCAA Committee of Infractions Chair Designee Carol Cartwright cited numerous policy issues and recommended the case be moved to the newly founded Independent Accountability Resolution Process on May 18. The University of Kansas, Self’s attorneys Tompsett and William M. Sullivan, Jr., and Townsend’s attorney Stuart L. Brown replied June 8 in agreement, but petitioned to separate the football and men’s basketball cases.
“For the COI, prior to a hearing, to attempt to force parties into “accepting responsibility” for violations they robustly contest indicates a lack of neutrality that is alarming and should disqualify that body from adjudicating the case,” Tompsett and Sullivan, Jr. said. “Accordingly, Mr. Self believes the only option going forward is for the case to be referred to the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP).”
Kansas suggested the football case be handled by the traditional COI process and the men’s basketball case be handled by the IARP.
Tompsett said the NCAA’s suggestion of Adidas being boosters was an “erroneous premise” and that the Amended Notice of Allegations does not “allege that Mr. Self is culpable in any way, shape or form for the alleged payments” to potential recruits.
"To put it bluntly, the NCAA enforcement staff is attempting to end Mr. Self's long and very successful coaching career for conduct which all coaches engage in and which the NCAA has known for many years is commonplace and permissible," Tompsett wrote.