Archive for Thursday, August 3, 1995


August 3, 1995


Roy Williams is a money-grubbing lout who single-handedly killed the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

At least, that's one view of Kansas University's men's basketball coach, and Williams hates to hear it.

"I've been a little puzzled and a little hurt by those comments," Williams said. "It hurts. It really bothers me. For people to say that, No. 1, they don't know what they're talking about. And, No. 2, they don't know Roy Williams."

Williams testified in June in a Wichita courtroom about a lawsuit filed by some Wichita high school parents who sought to end the KSHSAA's restrictions about player participation in the offseason. On July 14, Sedgwick County District Judge Robert Bell ruled that all the KSHSAA's rules were invalid, thereby ending the association's reign.

On Monday, Bell stayed the order indefinitely, allowing the KSHSAA's attorneys to appeal.

But Bell's original ruling caught Williams by surprise.

"I was shocked," he said. "The judge just decided he didn't like anything about it. That's not what I was looking for. I was looking for those specific rules to be changed."

Williams took issue with -- and testified about -- two rules in particular: the restriction that only three players from any basketball team can play together during the offseason; and the restriction that prohibits a coach from working with players in the offseason.

"There were three or four parts to the suit," Williams said. "I only testified about those two. I think they should be able to play together. They can do it in baseball and soccer. I don't think basketball's the evil it's made out to be. And I think they should be able to work with their coach -- if they want to."

Since the trial, Williams has come under fire for self-interest. Critics contend Williams wanted the rules abolished so he could line his pockets by boosting the enrollment at his summer camps.

"A lawyer asked me that," Williams said, "and I said my camp is at the maximum. There's nothing more than maximum. I said, 'Your honor, there's not enough money to make me have a fourth camp.'

"I got a letter from some person saying they had respect for me in the past but they didn't have any respect for me now. My whole goal was to help high school athletics. I was a high school coach. There's nothing closer to my heart than high school athletics."

For that reason, Williams said, he remained optimistic that the KSHSAA will return.

"I'm hoping this will all come out very positive," he said. "I think they need to ease up on those restrictions. I don't think they have the best interests of those kids at heart. I've been amazed at the number of coaches and parents and kids who have been supportive. I hope that some smart, level-headed people will sit down and be reasonable about this."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.