Kansas coach Bill Self signs ‘lifetime’ contract extension while NCAA investigation continues

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Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self has signed a “lifetime” contract extension with KU, the school announced Friday.

The 58-year-old Self, whose current contract was set to expire after the 2021-22 season, has reached an agreement on a new five-year rolling agreement that automatically adds one year at the conclusion of each season for the remainder of his career.

The new contract guarantees Self $5.41 million per year — a $225,000 base salary, a $2.75 million professional services contract and an annual $2.435 million retention bonus — a raise of about $200,000 annually.

Self’s previous contract, signed in September 2012, guaranteed him $52.2 million over 10 years. Self’s $7.2 million retention bonus that was due under the old contract will now be paid in $100,000 monthly installments over seven years.

KU’s basketball program under Self is currently in the latter stages of an NCAA investigation alleging major infractions. Self and his assistant Kurtis Townsend are accused of NCAA violations related to impermissible benefits provided by Adidas representatives to recruits. Lawyers for KU and Self challenged the NCAA allegations in a forceful response last year.

As part of the new agreement, KU will not terminate Self for cause “due to any current infractions matter that involves conduct that occurred on or prior to” the signing of the new contract. Instead, if Self is suspended by the Big 12 and/or the NCAA, he will forfeit half his base salary and professional services payment while on suspension.

“I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Chancellor Girod, Kurt Watson, and the rest of the leadership at KU for their belief and faith in me to provide this lifetime contract,” Self said.

“Every day, I am reminded just how fortunate I am to lead this storied program and there truly is no place else I would rather be. As we continue to work through the challenges facing our program, we look forward to moving ahead and focusing on our bright future.”

Self’s new deal comes as KU is in the process of hiring a new athletic director. The interim AD is Kurt Watson.

“I have known Bill for many years, but working closely with him over the past few weeks in my current role has shown me even more so on a daily basis how deeply he cares about this program,” Watson said. “We are certainly proud that he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at KU in 1985 and that this new contract will ensure he finishes his coaching career here as well.”

In 18 seasons at KU, Self is 522-118 for an 82% win percentage. During that time, he has led the Jayhawks to an NCAA-record 14 consecutive Big 12 Conference titles, a streak that was snapped in 2019. His teams have won one national championship, appeared in three Final Fours, have been a No. 4 or better NCAA Tournament seed in each of his seasons and have a 277-15 record at Allen Fieldhouse.

“For almost 20 years, Coach Self has embodied the spirit and tradition of the University of Kansas,” KU chancellor Douglas Girod said.

“We believe in Coach Self and we believe in the future of our program under his leadership, and we are thrilled that he will continue to be a Jayhawk for the rest of his coaching career.”

Self’s contract includes specific language relating to what happens should KU face penalties with its current NCAA infractions case.

If Self is suspended as a result of the current NCAA case, he will forfeit half of his $2.975 million annual salary during the length of that suspension, though it will not affect the $2.435 million retention bonus he’s set to receive on April 1 of each year.

Also — with the exception of the current NCAA case — Self consented to compensate KU, KU Athletics and the Kansas Board of Regents 50% of the costs and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, incurred as a result of the KU men’s basketball program “being placed on probation due to a major, intentional, significant or repetitive violation of NCAA rules and regulations by Head Coach directly.” Those payments, according to the contract, would not be more than 20% of Self’s total annual compensation.

Self’s new contract also contains details about what would happen if the two sides do separate.

If KU chooses to fire Self without cause, it would owe him one year of his total guaranteed salary at $5.41 million, plus a prorated share of his annual $2.435 million retention bonus given every April 1.

If Self chooses to leave KU for an NBA head coaching position, he will owe the school $2 million within 60 days. His contract also states he must alert KU’s athletic director within 12 hours if he has begun discussions with an NBA team or NCAA program about a different job.

Self’s contract contains incentive payments as well. He will receive accumulative bonuses for a Big 12 regular season championship ($50,000), Big 12 Tournament championship ($25,000), AP coach of the year honor ($100,000), and also appearances in the NCAA Tournament ($50,000), Sweet 16 ($100,000), Final Four ($150,000). He also earns $200,000 if he wins a national championship.

Self will receive $20,000 per month as part of a “Wheels Up” private jet membership for his own personal use as well.

The new deal comes after KU’s just-completed season, when the Jayhawks — as a No. 3 seed — lost in the NCAA round of 32 to USC and finished 21-9 overall.

Self spoke openly this past year about how the NCAA’s investigation into KU had hurt the team’s recruiting efforts. In February, he said KU’s “playing field has been more difficult recruiting against the people we normally recruit against just because we have the NCAA situation hanging over our heads” before saying it had “absolutely” cost the school some individual recruits. At the time, Self estimated that KU’s NCAA matter could be resolved in late summer or early fall.

The NCAA was initially forceful in its allegations against both Self and Townsend in 2019’s original release of a Notice of Allegations, as evidenced in one line in the notice that stated the two KU basketball staff members, along with Adidas representatives, “intentionally and willfully engaged in NCAA violations and blatantly disregarded the NCAA constitution and bylaws.” Each of the five basketball charges were Level I — or the most severe — and KU also was cited with lack of institutional control.

KU, Self, Townsend and their attorneys all have strongly denied the men’s basketball allegations.

The case is now outside the NCAA’s control while being handled by the new Independent Accountability Resolution Process, which conducts its own investigation and ruling.

An IARP decision will be considered final, with no NCAA process available for an appeal.