Post-IARP, Self promises Jayhawks will ‘go for the throat’ in recruiting

photo by: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Kansas coach Bill Self speaks to the media during the NCAA college Big 12 men's basketball media day Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City, Mo. — Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self was feeling a mixture of relief and pain Wednesday at the Big 12 Conference’s annual media day.

Relief because one week earlier, the Independent Accountability Resolution Process had rendered its long-awaited ruling on NCAA violations by his program and delivered a principal penalty — 15 vacated wins from the 2017-18 season — that he said he expected and felt was fair.

Pain because he had broken his ribs.

While playing with his grandkids on the court at Allen Fieldhouse prior to Late Night in the Phog, Self said he broke two ribs. He joked that it disrupted his sense of finality somewhat at the conclusion of the IARP saga.

“It probably hasn’t felt as different as I hoped it would,” he told reporters, “in large part because my ribs hurt so bad.”

Self took on a decidedly more confident tone, quips and all, than the cautious optimism he had displayed exactly one week earlier, practically down to the minute, when he addressed the media at Allen Fieldhouse in a scheduled press conference following the IARP ruling.

In fact, on this Wednesday, Self said that with the result finalized, the program can now return to a higher standard of recruiting. Kansas can, he said, “go for the throat.”

“The opportunity to go for it is back where it was prior to when all this went down,” Self said, “and I’m real excited about that.”

He pointed out that for a four-year span facing pending sanctions, even as KU got further removed from the initial federal inquiry into corruption in college basketball and so it was less salient in public discourse, the program didn’t regularly recruit top prospects with the same frequency that it once had: “We’ve gone through times in our tenure here where we’re one of three or one of four with four of the best 15 players in the country every year.”

“Fortunately for us, the guys we recruited turned out to be better than those guys in many ways,” Self said. He did acknowledge that it’s hard to imagine “going for the throat” more than the program already did in a period when it won a national title.

That 2021-22 national title was back in the conversation a year and a half later at Wednesday’s media day, not just because of the IARP’s resolution. Self confirmed a recent report in the KU Hearings newsletter that he himself had offered to sit out the 2022 NCAA Tournament in order to hasten a favorable conclusion of the IARP. Not as an admission of guilt, he said, but “for the protection of our players and for the future, not knowing the process or trusting the process whatsoever.”

He added that his attempt to make that deal came around the time his father died, and his father had previously told him, “Whatever you do, get this behind you.”

“I was at the point, guys, I would have done just about anything to get it over with,” Self said. Last week, he had summed up the IARP in saying “the unknown was probably as much of a penalty as anything” it could have done to the program.

The Jayhawks are certainly in the conversation for highly decorated players this year; 2024 KU commit Flory Bidunga, the top center in his class, stands as the shining example so far. The recruiting class of Bidunga, Rakease Passmore and Labaron Philon ranks No. 3 in the nation on

“That idea of operating with a free mind is something that hadn’t existed with us in a long time,” he said. “And so with that being said, having it behind us is something that will be a huge positive. But my ribs hurt right now.”


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