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Archive for Saturday, August 6, 2005

Mayer: ‘For life’ directive bogus, foolish

August 6, 2005

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I know some little old ladies in tennis shoes and scuffies who can go to bed and sleep well tonight knowing they are not, as they might have feared, collegiate criminals.

Just because they might have given a former college athlete a cookie or, God forbid, a wedding present, birthday gift or hot meal does not thrust them into the same category with Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker.

What made these charming creatures, some of them wives of former coaches, fearful for their spotless reputations was the so-called "student-athlete for life" foolishness that oozed from the recent Kansas University "self(serving?)-report" to the NCAA by Bob, Lew and the Gang up at Perkins Palace.

KU projected a "holier-than-thou" status about "violations" and cited self-imposed penalties and corrective measures that included men's basketball.

Out of all this mishmash of mishandling came an outlandish notion. Apparently, some legal eagle who'd been hired to clear all the dust bunnies from beneath the bed concluded that anybody who has ever been a jock, male or female, graduate or early-out, at a university can NEVER, EVER accept any favors or gratuities.

Thus, the absolutely ludicrous concept of "student-athlete for life" that some theorized about. At a cost of $143,000?

Man, what a massive crime wave schools and their faithful have conducted all these years! Have they no shame - sending a modest congratulatory check to a graduate, buying some guys alumni association memberships as Bernie Morgan did, just offering small tokens of appreciation?

Lordy, at the price of greeting cards these days, you spend $3.50 or so on such a missive and you've compromised the athlete, the school and established yourself as a crook that even Robin Hood wouldn't allow in his Sherwood Forest mob. Not.

Some local women I admire admit that many times they did nice little things for guys and gals who were leaving the KU scene. These pseudo-rapscallions don't feel they should be sent to the guillotine for alleged outrageous infractions.

"When in the world did this 'student-athlete for life' thing come about?" asked one frustrated lady donor. "How long has it been in the rules, show me exactly where it is in the books and where does it spell out a little gift or favor as illegal?"

It ain't, and it doesn't. It's all in how somebody interprets it. The NCAA says somebody can be a booster for life, legally, too, but does not project a student-athlete into eternity.

Roy Williams is more kosher about rules and propriety than the Jewish rabbi counterpart of the Catholic pope, whoever that might be. Williams asked for compliance advice and was told it was OK as long as there was no stuff involved like $100,000 jobs and antique Ferraris. Even a dolt such as I can fathom that.

Why did KU make it look like the three boosters had engaged in heinous crimes with the blessing of Mr. Clean? I don't care what some hired gumshoe like Rick Evrard, a former NCAA enforcement official, might contend. Knowledgeable people say it's not presented in that distorted way.

Let me get this straight. I can buy John Hadl, who played some football at KU, a hamburger without penalty. Even though he was a college jock, I'm sanitized because I'm buying it on his record as a professional quarterback in the NFL.

Along comes Jerry Waugh, a former KU basketball player and coach, and I can't get him a cheeseburger because as a former jock he is a "student-athlete for life."

He can't even stumble around toting a tin cup and wearing dark glasses seeking alms, no matter how modest the contributed coinage. Should've had an NBA tryout to create a buffer. What about any gifts coach Waugh might have sent former student-athletes at wedding time?

Great Caesar's Ghost! It just dawned on me there was a time shortly after Clyde Lovellette completed his KU career, before he was a pro performer, that I "gave" him a dime for a pay toilet when we were at an event in Kansas City.

Criminy! I could have compromised his amateur standing so badly he would not have been eligible for the 1952 Olympic Games where he and six other Jayhawks sparkled. KU could have been devastated if I'd revealed that gift.

KU never has had a more saintly supporter than Joan Edwards and her late and incomparable husband, Roy, who for years sent wedding presents to KU athletes and regularly guided them down the paths of righteousness.

Dana Anderson is anything but a crook, and Perkins, Hemenway and everybody else in the Jayhawk daisy chain ought to thank the good lord every night for his input. The effervescent Morgan is a guy who forever has had Jayhawk welfare at heart and always has been willing to put his money, though legally, where his mouth is.

Question is, why would KU orchestrate a self-report phrased to make them look like bandits on the basis of an unofficial interpretation by some lawyer leading to that "student-athlete for life" atrocity? Has KU become that paranoid?

So rest easy, little ladies, and gentlemen Williams, Anderson and Morgan. You ain't done nothin' wrong, because the interpretation that an ex-athlete is forever off-limits to kindness and caring is not spelled out on the books.

If there were such a thing, every athletics official at every college that ever had a donor of any kind would be scurrying for a hiding place.

More and more, people are thinking the administration at KU got so obsessed with making itself look saintly that it drove still another nail into the coffin of disenchantment and disgust about the way things are being handled by some of the key offices on and around Mount Oread.

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