Kansas coach Bill Self had to know he was going to be asked about the ongoing NCAA investigation into his basketball program during the Big 12 Media Day Wednesday in Kansas City. While trying to avoid any specific issues, Self had to answer several questions about the investigation in a season where Kansas is ranked No. 3 in the AP preseason poll.
Here’s a few questions and answers I thought you might enjoy:
Q. Regard the investigation. You said in your statement you put out in September that you characterized the NCAA’s allegations as a false narrative and full of mischaracterizations. If that is the case, how would you characterize your relationship with former adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola and the text messages and calls you had with him?
BILL SELF: The message, if you read the statement, which you obviously did, was one in which I made the statement, then I also said that we cannot comment to any details of anything going on with the allegations due to the NCAA process. I’m going to follow that. I’m going to stick to that. Certainly the things that you just asked will be things that will be answered at the appropriate time, whenever it can be answered. Certainly this is not the time for that.
Q. With all the success you’ve had, a lot of people don’t like Kansas. With the issues involving the NCAA, what happened, do you think around the Big 12 in road games there’s going to be a lot more incentive for people to get after y’all, and can you use it as motivation?
BILL SELF: I think we’ve probably given some rabid fan bases some ammunition to help in some areas to fire them up . To be honest with you, we deal with hostile environments everywhere we go for the most part. I can’t imagine that playing a factor into our success away from home.
I will tell you this. Our guys have always enjoyed playing in the toughest atmospheres. Usually that bonds us together, unites us. Hopefully we will put a better performance out because of that. I don’t think that will have any input whatsoever whether or not we’re successful.
Q. You don’t comment on specific allegations. What concerns do you have about the impact of this investigation on your job status at Kansas?
BILL SELF: I’m really not concerned about that, the job status you mentioned. I know that our chancellor and our athletic director, the basketball program, are totally aligned in this. There’s been a lot of people say certain things, which everybody is entitled to opinion. Certainly you can’t be angry or bitter because people are writing and commenting on this because it actually has been big news in the college basketball world.
I just know the things that have taken place thus far, obviously nobody likes to deal with it, certainly I haven’t liked it, but it’s also in a strange way motivating me probably in a way that maybe I never have been to combat this by taking care of our business on the basketball court, working with our players in a way that maybe exceeds any way I’ve ever done it.
I do believe there could be a positive that comes out of that. That’s certainly one of them. But as far as my legacy or whatever, that doesn’t even register with me. I probably know me better than anybody else knows me. I know the people that I worked with over the years know me and everything.
I know that we have to get through this, and we’ll get through this, be very happy when it is behind us. My legacy is the least of my concerns right now. I just want to do the best job I can coaching at a place that I absolutely love.
Q. With the NCAA allegations hanging around, what sort of stuff have you been hearing on the recruiting trail? What effect can things like this have?
BILL SELF: Recruiting is hard regardless. When you’re recruiting at an elite level, you have obstacles each and every year that may be a little bit different to try to recruit. It’s something that we certainly explain out and are very transparent with everything going on. There’s not anybody that we recruit that we don’t tell them how it is, at least the way we know it to be.
I would say it’s definitely had an impact. I will also say this: I think we’re in position to have one of our better early signing periods we’ve had in a long time. Even though it’s hard, it’s never easy, I think we’re going to come out of it okay.