Archive for Saturday, September 25, 2004

Perkins jumps gun on afternoon news conference

September 25, 2004


Kansas University officials said Friday evening they were hoping to move beyond an eight-month court battle over whether to release Athletic Director Lew Perkins' contract.

"I want to make sure the media who were in litigation with the university over my contract know I hold no animosity," Perkins said during an evening news conference. "I understand they have a job to do, and I respect that. Now that this is all done I hope we move on and spend our attention on what's really important, and that's the kids -- the student-athletes -- the coaches and our programs."

Despite his comments, KU apparently released information on the contract to the Kansas City Star before Friday evening's news conference and denied requests from the Journal-World to obtain it early.

By midafternoon Friday, the Star had posted a story on its Web site explaining the contract. The story quoted Perkins.

When the Journal-World asked to speak with Perkins, a reporter was told Perkins wouldn't comment until the news conference. Spokesmen with University Relations and the athletic department also declined to provide copies of or information about the contract before the news conference.

Asked at the news conference about the apparent double standard, Chancellor Robert Hemenway said he wasn't aware of the situation.

"I didn't give any information to anyone," he said. "I have no idea. I didn't know until about 10 minutes ago."

Perkins said he thought someone attending a KU Athletic Corp. meeting Friday afternoon heard about the planned 5:15 p.m. news conference and tipped the Star.

"My assumption is someone called the Star and told them," Perkins said.

He said he chose to answer the Star reporter's questions Friday afternoon. However, the story on the Star's Web site said a reporter talked with Perkins on Friday morning.

For his part, Hemenway called the court battle between the media and university simply a "difference of opinion."

"We hold no animosity toward the Kansas Press Association, The Associated Press or the Lawrence Journal-World," he said, referring to the media organizations that sued KU for the contract. "They have their jobs to do. We have our jobs to do. We felt it was important enough to ask the court's opinion and the court has given that opinion."

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