The NCAA's committee on infractions has referred the Kansas basketball case to the newly formed Independent Accountability Resolution Process for potential adjudication, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, the NCAA enforcement staff said the Jayhawks committed "egregious" and "severe" rules violations that "significantly undermine and threaten the NCAA Collegiate Model," and alleged that coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend "embraced, welcomed and encouraged" Adidas employees and consultants to influence high-profile basketball recruits to sign with Kansas.
That was the NCAA enforcement staff's position in its 92-page reply to Kansas. The Jayhawks are charged with five Level I rules violations -- the most serious -- including lack of institutional control. Self is charged with head-coach responsibility violations.
Under NCAA rules, a head coach could be hit with a show-cause order and be suspended up to an entire season for Level I violations. Kansas is also charged with two Level II violations and one Level III violation related to the football program under former coach David Beaty.
The Infractions Referral Committee must decide whether to approve or reject the request to refer the Kansas case to the independent process, and then the Complex Case Unit, comprised of external investigators and advocates with no school or conference affiliations as well as one member of the NCAA enforcement staff, would assess whether further investigation of the facts in the case is needed.
An independent resolution panel (IRP), consisting of five independent members with legal, higher education and/or sports backgrounds, would hear the case and decide what penalties the Jayhawks would face. The IRP's decision is final, and there are no appeals.
Kansas officials, along with Self and Townsend, are disputing each of the five Level I violations regarding the men's basketball program, as well as each of the nine aggravating factors cited by the NCAA.
"The NCAA enforcement staff's reply does not in any way change the University of Kansas' position that the allegations brought against our men's basketball program are simply baseless and littered with false representations," Kansas officials wrote in a statement earlier this month. "As the federal trial proved, Adidas employees intentionally concealed impermissible payments from the University and its coaching staff. The University has never denied these impermissible payments were made. For the NCAA enforcement staff to allege that the University should be held responsible for these payments is a distortion of the facts and a gross misapplication of NCAA Bylaws and case precedent.
"In addition, the enforcement staff's assertion that KU refuses to accept responsibility is wrong. The University absolutely would accept responsibility if it believed that violations had occurred, as we have demonstrated with other self-reported infractions. Chancellor [Doug] Girod, [athletic director] Jeff Long and KU stand firmly behind Coach Self, his staff and our men's basketball program, as well as our robust compliance program."
Infractions cases involving basketball programs at Memphis and NC State have previously been referred to and accepted by the Independent Accountability Resolution Process.