KU signs basketball coach Bill Self to lifetime contract extension

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Kansas Athletics may not have a permanent leader at the moment, but whoever is ultimately tapped to lead the University of Kansas’ athletic department will have one less monumental task on their plate.

Basketball coach Bill Self, whose contract was scheduled to expire at the end of the 2021-22 season, signed a lifetime contract extension Friday to coach the Jayhawks, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod and Interim AD Kurt Watson announced.

Self’s new contract will operate as a five-year rolling agreement that automatically adds one year at the conclusion of each season for the remainder of his career, KU announced in a press release. With no incentives included, the contract will pay Self a total of $5.41 million per year, including a $2.435 million retention bonus that he’s now due to receive every April 1.

Here are some other notes from Self’s contract:

  • Self cannot be fired for cause (meaning KU wouldn’t owe a buyout) related to the ongoing NCAA infractions case. If Self is suspended as part of that case, his salary during the suspension would decrease by 50%.
  • The value of his life insurance policy (which KU Athletics pays for, but Self owns) increased $2 million to $4 million from the last contract.
  • If Self leaves KU to take a coaching job in the NBA, he would owe Kansas Athletics $2 million for losses the athletic department would suffer.
  • If KU makes the NCAA tournament (something it’s done a record 31 times in a row), Self earns a one-time $50,000 bonus. If the team makes the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, Self earns an additional one-time $100,000 bonus (two provisions not included in his last contract)
  • Self now has a $20,000 per month membership to Wheels Up, a private jet charter company

“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,” Self said in a statement. “As we continue to work through the challenges facing our program, we look forward to moving ahead and focusing on our bright future.”

In 18 years at KU, Self has won 522 games and 15 regular season conference championships while advancing to three Final Fours and winning the national championship in 2008 — leading to his induction in the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.

As for those challenges facing the KU men’s basketball program, they remain a focal point for the athletic department. Self and KU face multiple charges of Level I NCAA violations related to the Adidas pay-for-play recruiting scandal that came to light through an FBI investigation in 2017.

Carter Gaskins/gaskins-photography.com Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self attends a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and cancer research, Sept. 19, 2019.

KU’s case is still pending in the NCAA’s Independent Accountability Resolution Process — a relatively new method of adjudicating alleged NCAA infractions through an outside panel of investigators rather than the NCAA itself. If punished, the penalties could include forfeiture of wins, a ban from postseason play, a reduction in scholarships to award, and show-cause orders for any coaches involved in the violations, including Self.

If the latter came to fruition, KU couldn’t employ Self without demonstrating to the NCAA why he should be allowed to coach without further penalty, and if they did, KU itself could face further discipline. A timeline on when KU’s case may be decided is still unknown; however, Friday’s deal made it clear the university will stick by Self no matter what punishment the IARP process may hand down.

“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,” Girod said.


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