KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Although his program is embroiled in a significant NCAA investigation, Bill Self said he's never been more "motivated" to win.
Self, who made his comments during Big 12 media day on Wednesday, was defiant a month after the NCAA charged the University of Kansas with lack of institutional control and its head men's basketball coach with violating coaching-responsibility standards, all stemming from the FBI's investigation into college basketball that has rocked the sport over the past two years.
The school's relationship with Adidas, which just signed a 14-year, $196 million extension with its flagship school, has also been scrutinized.
"Certainly, I haven't liked it," Self said about the investigation. "But it's also, in a strange way, motivating me, probably, in a way that maybe I have never 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."
In the notice of allegations the school received in September, the Jayhawks are charged, in total, with five Level I violations. NCAA bylaw 18.104.22.168 states that a "head coach is presumed to be responsible for the actions of all staff members who report, directly or indirectly, to the head coach. The head coach will be held accountable for violations in the program unless he or she can rebut the presumption of responsibility." Self could potentially face a show cause penalty once the ordeal ends, likely no earlier than next summer.
Kansas, ranked third in the Associated Press' preseason Top 25 poll, is once again a national title contender. But the NCAA investigation is a cloud over the program unlike any Self has faced in his career.
He acknowledged that the NCAA drama could fuel opposing crowds.
"I think we've probably given some rabid fan bases some ammunition to help in some areas to fire them up," Self said. "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."
T.J. Gassnola, an Adidas consultant who was sentenced to probation for his role in pay-for-play schemes, allegedly organized a $20,000 payment to the guardian of Silvio De Sousa after Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend allegedly requested it, per an attorney for James Gatto, who made the accusation in his closing arguments for his client at the federal trial.
On Wednesday, Self refused to discuss his relationship with Gassnola, citing a previous statement in which he accused the NCAA of creating a "false narrative" about him and his program.
"Certainly, the things you just asked will be things that will be answered at the appropriate time, whenever it can be answered," Self said. "Certainly, this is not the time for that."
Self won the 2008 national championship at Kansas, and he led the program to an unprecedented streak of 14 consecutive Big 12 titles. He's in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is widely regarded as one of the top coaches in the game.
But he said he's not concerned about the investigation's possible impact on his legacy and expects to see brighter days with the program.
"As far as my legacy or whatever, that doesn't even register with me," Self said. "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 and be very happy when it's 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."
Self later made it clear that he sees the NCAA investigation as a battle and emphasized that he believes that Kansas will emerge as the victor.
"Absolutely, Kansas will always prevail," Self said. "Always. And I'd like to think I will as well. But I think the school is obviously much more important than an individual is."