Kansas basketball just signed head coach Bill Self to a “lifetime deal” to remain head coach of the Jayhawks. Given the ongoing investigation into his program by the NCAA, the timing of this announcement is pretty jarring.
The new contract is a five-year deal for Self, which will automatically add a new year at the end of each season. He is not the only head coach with a deal like this; John Calipari has a similar deal with Kentucky, though that seems aimed at pushing back on the constant NBA rumors.
The NCAA’s investigation was one of the first things that fans and the media pointed to after this news dropped. The other was the fact that it comes just a day after former KU head coach Roy Williams retired after 18 years at North Carolina. It seems unlikely that Self would be a UNC candidate, especially with the ongoing probe into his program (and UNC’s recent history with the NCAA), but it is hard not to think about the timing.
One part of the new contract makes pretty direct reference to the investigation, and will prevent Kansas from firing Bill Self over anything stemming from the NCAA’s findings. It is a pretty shocking thing to find in writing, and proves that the school is set to back its head coach, no matter what comes out from the allegations against the program over involvement in the adidas pay-for-play scandal.
Biggest news from new Self lifetime contract: “The parties agree that Athletics will not terminate Head Coach for cause due to any current infractions …” More middle appendage aimed at Indianapolis.
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) April 2, 2021
From the contract language directly, via Alex Gold of 610 Sports in Kansas City:
“Current Infractions Case: The parties agree that Athletics will not terminate Head Coach for cause due to any current infractions matter that involves conduct that occurred on or prior to the date of full execution of this Agreement. If Head Coach is suspended by the NCAA and/or the Big 12 Conference as a result of the pending NCAA infractions matter, Head Coach agreed that he and BCLT will forfeit 50% of earned Salary and Professional Services Payment during the time of such suspension. For clarity purposes and by way of example, if Head Coach receives a one-month suspension, then for that month only Head Coach’s salary and professional services payment would be reduced by 50% to $9,735 and $114,583.”
Two things about the current situation at Kansas should be noted: 1.) the school does not currently have an athletic director, after Jeff Long was ousted along with Les Miles, following the revelation of sexual harassment allegations from the former LSU head coach’s time with the Tigers. 2.) The School is currently using extremely minor allegations—the kind that would prompt a slap on the wrist for a successful head coach—to get out of the buyout for former football coach David Beaty.
If nothing else, the new Bill Self contract lays bare the priorities within Kansas athletics.
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