Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self spoke with the media for the first time since reports broke Wednesday of a rape investigation currently being conducted by the Lawrence Police Department that lists five Jayhawk players as witnesses.
Police are investigating the report of a rape of a 16-year old that occurred either late Dec. 17 or early Dec. 18 at the same dorm that’s home to the Kansas men’s basketball team. Five players on the nation’s top-ranked team are listed as witnesses on the police report; a sixth was listed as a witness in regards to a runaway child case opened 4 a.m. on Dec 18 (we’re still looking to obtain a copy of the police report since it must be picked up in person or via mail).
In his press conference, Self told members of the press he and the Kansas administration have been aware of the investigation since it began in mid-December, and that he has not received any information that would require punitive measures against any of his players.
According to the Kansas City Star, the investigation places the rape at McCarthy Hall, an all-male dorm home to the entire team. The dorm is not a normal residence hall; the donor-funded $12 million building opened in 2015, complete with a half regulation-size basketball court and fingerprint scanners.
Self answered questions from the media for 20 minutes at Thursday’s session, which doubled as a preview presser for Saturday’s marquee non-conference clash between the No. 1 Jayhawks and No. 4 Kentucky. The full press conference can be heard here via the Lawrence Journal-World. Some excerpts below:
On whether it’s a distraction ahead of Saturday’s Kentucky-Kansas game:
It’s not a distraction, it’s a major distraction. Certainly, most importantly, in general, when you talk about distraction, you talk about how it affects us. But more importantly, there’s an obviously very serious alleged allegation that has been made. So that trumps figuring how to guard Monk or Fox to be real candid with you. It’s been a distraction and one that we’ll deal with and our players will deal with. It’s not what we want to do but it’s what’s required at this time.
On what he knows about the rape investigation:
I haven’t been given anything. We have been told some of our players are potential witnesses. Sometimes, and this is, I’m probably speaking out of turn a little bit because I’m not a thesaurus and know all the definitions of all words, but witness can carry a pretty broad definition on what that is. Certainly that there’s players listed that are potential witness to a situation, which could mean anything that happened before, during, after, whether you’re an eyewitness or not of an alleged incident. I feel that—I know positively that has occurred. I know positively that positively we have been given zero information that would warrant suspensions or anything like that that’s connected to our players at this point in time. That’s what I know and I certainly will act on it if any information is given to us in the future that would warrant such action.
On knowing about the investigation since Dec. 18, and the Kansas administration’s response:
We met it head-on. When the administration was made aware of it I obviously was as well. So we’ve talked about it. But to talk about it from a factual situation, what happened, that’s not really fair to do because you want to find out what happening, but I’m going to be the first to tell you, you need professionals to do that, that actually conduct interviews.
On McCarthy Hall security:
To enter McCarthy Hall, you have to have a fingerprint or you have to be let in or buzzed in. Then you have to be escorted after that to get off the main floor. I’m not going to say right, wrong, and different. I don’t think security has anything to do with this potential incident.
On how he expects Kansas to respond on the court against Kentucky:
I’m a little bit uncertain of how we’ll respond, to be quite candid. I know that there are some people that aren’t real happy right now that I’m sure will use the basketball court to get away from the distraction.
On why Kansas waited for the story to be broken by reporters before publicly addressing the investigation:
Nobody’s withholding any information. I don’t know where you’re going with that, but I don’t like it. But there’s nobody’s withholding information at all. If you wanted to discuss how it’s being handled, go to the Lawrence Police Department. That’s not our responsibility to report everything that the LPD does, and it’s not their responsibility, I don’t think, to report it, because they have certain things that they have to do to certainly follow their protocol. So no, nobody’s hiding behind this at all and kind of I resent the fact you would even hint at that.