Archive for Thursday, June 18, 1998


June 18, 1998


Luke Axtell has lost his appeal for an extra year of eligibility at Kansas.

Axtell, a freshman shooting guard who has announced plans to transfer from Texas to Kansas, on Wednesday appealed the vote of Big 12 Conference faculty athletic representatives, who recently denied him a third year of eligibility at KU. The appeal was denied by CEOs of the league universities at the Big 12's annual Board of Directors meeting in Dallas.

Under Big 12 rules, athletes transferring from one league school to another must sit out a year and also lose a year of eligibility. So following the denial of the appeal, Axtell will be a junior at Kansas during the 1999-2000 season.

Big 12 faculty representatives had denied Axtell's bid for a third year by a 10-2 vote on May 22 at their spring meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo. Texas and Kansas were the only schools voting for Axtell's request. Axtell had hoped the fact UT administrators released his grades to media outlets in violation of the Buckley Amendment, might sway the league to waive the lost year of eligibility rule.

``The appeal was discussed at length,'' Kansas chancellor Robert Hemenway said. He, on Wednesday, was elected chairman of the Big 12 Board of Directors. ``There was considerable sympathy for the student-athlete, but in the end the board voted to uphold the faculty representatives' decision.

``The concern KU has had all along ... the issue we raised and the student-athlete raised was whether extenuating circumstances would justify the waiver (of the lost year). The board came to the conclusion whatever extenuating circumstances there were, they were not sufficient to cause the rule to be waived.''

Hemenway would not report results of the vote in accordance with board policy.

Axtell has said he will transfer to Kansas regardless of the results of the appeal. His dad recently told the Journal-World results of the appeal would not influence his son's decision to attend KU.

Also Wednesday, the board decided to hire a headhunter agency to locate candidates for the vacant Big 12 commissioner post. Oklahoma State's Dave Martin has been serving on an interim basis.

``We are very pleased with the interim commissioner and the job he and the staff are doing,'' Hemenway said. ``We are very pleased with the management structure of the Big 12 Conference office. We feel the conference is in good shape.''

Martin is not a candidate for the commissioner position. ``This will be an open search and we are certain that we will make a decision on who is best person for the conference,'' Hemenway said.

Hemenway said the conference was united. ``The unanimity of the Board of Directors and the institutional commitment to the well-being of the Big 12 Conference in this search and in all portions of today's meeting make us very confident about the future,'' Hemenway said. ``There is absolutely no North-South conflict within the Big 12. Whatever conflicts there might have been when the conference was formed have been resolved.''

-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is

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