Archive for Tuesday, October 29, 1996

KU RUNNING BACK HENLEY REJOINS JAYHAWKS

October 29, 1996

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June Henley is back on the Kansas football team.

"I've reinstated June Henley," KU coach Glen Mason announced during his Monday media briefing. "He will not start against Iowa State State. Will he play? I don't know."

Henley, the Jayhawks' leading rusher and scorer, was suspended prior to the Nebraska game after being arrested on three traffic counts, including driving under the influence.

Reinstatement means Henley will probably make the trip to Iowa State for Saturday's game, but Mason wouldn't go that far.

"There's no guarantee," the KU coach said. "I want to see how he reacts to the whole thing."

Henley's initial reaction after Mason informed the senior running back he would be reinstated was noncommittal.

"He didn't say a word," Mason reported. "He's been very subdued. He's embarrassed. He's about as low as a kid can get."

Mason said he spent all weekend trying to resolve the Henley question.

"It's his senior year and he's coming down the wire and eliminating the rest of his season was too harsh," Mason said. "But he's on my probation now. Anything else and he's done."

Mason stressed he isn't naive enough to believe Henley will never drink again, or that alcohol consumption will cease on university campuses.

"My goal is he'll never drink alcohol and drive again, or get in a car with somebody who's driving after drinking," Mason said. "I'm very concerned about anyone who drinks and drives an automobile.

"I carry a beeper because I've got teen-age kids and I've told them if they ever need me, call me. And I've told them, 'Don't ever, ever get into an automobile with a driver who's been drinking.'"

Mason realizes he'll take some heat for reinstating Henley -- "I know a lot of people would like me to cut his head off" -- but the decision met with general approval from Henley's teammates.

"I'm happy," senior offensive tackle Scott Whittaker said. "He messed up, he paid for it. He missed a game. He was on SportsCenter. I think what was done was enough."

Echoed sophomore outside linebacker Patrick Brown: "The punishment fit the crime."

As late as last week Henley was being touted for the Heisman Trophy, but a two-page section listing Henley's accomplishments was conspicuously absent from this week's KU football media release.

Despite missing a game, Henley still ranks among the top 10 nationally in rushing, scoring and all-purpose yards. He has rushed for 790 yards and scored 13 touchdowns.

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