Kansas coach Bill Self said Sunday that he was encouraged by both the NCAA’s recent vote to grant autonomy to the big five conferences as well as Ed O’Bannon’s victory over the NCAA in U.S. District Court.
The new government structure could allow the biggest schools to pass legislation without interference from smaller schools, while the O’Bannon ruling will allow college athletes to cash in on their likeness while in school.
“I think it’s going to certainly affect how things are done moving forward,” Self said of the O’Bannon ruling. “But let’s be real, and Jay Bilas brought it up and it’s a great point: Johnny Manziel could have potentially been suspended for his post-Heisman year last year, because of autograph signings, making money off his name. But the NCAA is doing the exact same thing within their own website, making money off Johnny Manziel’s name.”
As one might expect from a coach at a high-profile basketball school, Self is also bullish about the potential ripple effects from the legislative reform, with one rather substantial caveat: He hopes the men’s NCAA basketball tournament is unaffected.
“If I was at Tulsa,” Self said, referencing his second head coaching stop, “I would probably be nervous, because ‘Is this the beginning stages of a breakoff?’ But what it is, it’s the beginning stages of trying to avoid a break-off, so I would be fine with it, as long as it didn’t affect the tournament.”
While the new governing structure could cause greater financial disparity between schools in the big five conferences and low-major conferences, Self believes that inequality already exists.
“The thing about it is,” Self said, “when you’re at a low or mid-major school, not very often are you going to out-recruit the high-major guys. You could, but you end up getting them by out-evaluating or things falling right. But usually if a high-major program wants you and a low-major program wants you, you usually go to the higher-major program.”
Self also said that recent changes, such as mandating that schools provide unlimited meals and snacks for athletes, have been beneficial for his players.
“I think there’s been a conflict of interest that started decades ago,” Self said. “But now it’s going to be handled in a way where I think it that’s probably more fair and probably more beneficial to the schools.”