Report: KU officials participate in IARP hearing; final ruling could be next
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Representatives of the Kansas men’s basketball program and Kansas Athletics last week participated in a long-awaited hearing with the Independent Accountability Resolutions Process regarding the NCAA’s infractions case against KU, according to a report from SI.com.
The hearing has been viewed by many as the last major hurdle in reaching a resolution in KU’s case.
The SI.com report indicated that both KU and LSU — the last two schools with unresolved cases on the soon-to-be-eliminated IARP track — have had their hearings and that final rulings are expected in the next few months.
The report said that a ruling in the LSU case is likely to come first since the Tigers had their hearing in February. If the timelines from previously completed IARP cases involving Arizona, Louisville, Memphis and North Carolina State hold, KU could receive its final ruling sometime this summer.
All rulings by the IARP are final and not subject to appeal, which is different from rulings handed down by the more traditional NCAA Committee on Infractions.
The NCAA’s case against KU, which includes allegations of five Level 1 infractions, a charge of head coach responsibility and a tag of lack of institutional control, was accepted by the IARP on July 1, 2020, nearly one year after KU received its initial notice of allegations from the NCAA in September 2019.
The case against Kansas stems from a federal investigation in 2017 that led to the conviction of shoe company executives, a middleman who worked with them and several assistant coaches.
The Kansas case hinged on whether representatives of apparel company Adidas were considered boosters — the school contends they were not — when two of them arranged payments to prospective recruits. The school never disputed that the payments were made, only that it had any knowledge that the inducements were happening.
In November 2022, KU announced several self-imposed penalties in what current KU Athletic Director Travis Goff said was a move he hoped would “assist in bringing the case to a conclusion.”
Added KU Chancellor Douglas Girod when the self-imposed penalties were announced: “Throughout this process, we have had ongoing conversations with all the involved parties. We believe the actions we are announcing today move us closer to resolving this matter. We look forward to commenting further when this process is fully resolved. Until then, I want to reiterate our unwavering support of coach Self and our men’s basketball program.”
Included among KU’s self-imposed sanctions were: four-game suspensions for KU coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend; the reduction of four official visits by recruits and no official visitors for Late Night in the Phog; holding Self and Townsend out of off-campus recruiting efforts for a four-month period; and the reduction of three total scholarships for the men’s basketball program, to be distributed over the next three years.
Throughout its short period of existence, the IARP was criticized often for how long the process had taken in each case, with former NCAA President Mark Emmert even chiming in with his frustrations.
“By anybody’s estimation, they’ve taken way too long,” Emmert said at the 2022 Final Four.
NCAA and IARP officials said a larger number of cases than expected contributed greatly to the backlog. In an attempt to speed up the process and create greater transparency, the IARP began posting a timeline of updates in each case online in October of 2021.
The most recent update in KU’s case on the IARP web site is dated March 30, 2022.
One of the central figures in KU’s case, former KU forward Billy Preston, who never played an official game for the school, was back in the news this week in an ESPN 30 for 30 podcast by Paula Lavigne about Preston’s rise and fall.
In it, Preston was asked directly if he thought KU’s coaches knew about the payments made by Adidas reps to his mother, Nicole Player, and Preston said he believed they did.
“They ain’t no victim,” Preston said on the podcast. “They knew what was going on, too. They put the whole thing together. They set it up. Like, KU was the whole reason we even met.”
During a federal trial in 2018, Adidas bag man T.J. Gassnola testified that he had paid Preston’s family $90,000 and that the payments were made without knowledge of the KU coaches and that he intentionally tried to keep that information from the coaches.
In response to the NCAA’s amended notice of allegations put out by KU in March of 2020, Kansas officials emphasized that the jury in the 2018 trial “determined beyond a reasonable doubt that Gassnola’s and (Jim) Gatto’s payments and promised payments were concealed from the University and that the University was a victim of Gassnola’s and Gatto’s crimes.”