Kansas University basketball fans will be able to work on their frequent-flier miles in coming years, thanks to the NCAA Management Council.
The Council on Sunday recommended allowing teams to play in exempt tournaments every year - not the current two tourneys every four seasons. The recommendation should be rubber-stamped by the NCAA Board of Directors in April.
"It means we would play in an exempt tournament every year," KU coach Bill Self said. "It's not about going to Maui or a certain spot. It's an opportunity to develop and play against different styles which is great for college basketball."
KU, which traveled to the Maui Invitational in November, has agreed to play in the Preseason NIT in 2007 and again in Maui in 2009. In 2008, KU likely will compete in the Guardians Classic (two home games, two in Kansas City) in conjunction with the opening of the new College Basketball Hall of Fame.
For next season, KU is exploring entry in the Las Vegas Holiday Tournament. The format is two home games followed by two more in Glitter City in a pool-play type format. The games in Vegas likely would be held the Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving week.
The NCAA has decided postseason tournaments will not count against a team's 28-game schedule. Also, teams will be allowed to play games a week earlier than the start of this season.
No Tech, MSU: KU will not travel to Michigan State and Georgia Tech next season, as previously planned.
"Both teams asked us to postpone (at least a year). It happened in the space of 10 days. They had different reasons," KU senior associate athletic director Larry Keating said.
KU will travel to South Carolina next season and may travel to Kentucky. KU and UK have started talking about a new home-and-home series.
Rookie of week: KU freshman Brandon Rush on Monday was named Big 12 newcomer of the week after averaging 16 points and eight rebounds in wins over Yale and Kentucky. Texas' P.J. Tucker was player of the week.
Secondary violations: KU on Monday responded to freedom of information requests by the Journal-World and other publications requesting a list of secondary men's basketball violations reported by KU to the NCAA the last three seasons. There were three self-reported violations:
¢ Sophomore Darnell Jackson received approximately $5,000 worth of improper benefits from a booster. He's served a nine-game suspension and must pay back the money.
¢ KU paid for surgery on the left wrist of incoming player Alex Galindo in the summer of 2004. At the time, it was a secondary violation since the 2004-05 academic year had not started. Paying such expenses is no longer considered a violation. Galindo had to repay the cost to a charity of his choice.
¢ Bill Self held a two-hour video session with his players on Jan. 22, 2005, when the team was stranded upon trying to return from a road trip to Philadelphia. Watching tape of the loss to Villanova put the team over the limit of hours of practice time a team can spend during a week.
Secondary violations do not require NCAA sanctions.
Polls: KU, 9-4 heading into Wednesday's 8 p.m. battle at 10-2 Colorado, received 27 votes in this week's AP poll. The Jayhawks had four votes in the USA Today/ESPN poll. Colorado received no AP votes, but 27 in USA Today/ESPN, ranking No. 31 overall.
"We've been a team that I don't know is Top 25," coach Bill Self said, "but we've been pretty good the last month because defensively we're so much better."
"I don't think we should be ranked," Rush said. "We failed against a couple ranked teams and beat one. It (ranking) means nothing right now."
Bumps: Micah Downs didn't practice Monday because of a hand injury. "He nicked his shooting hand up. He did last week, too," Self said. "Hopefully he'll be able to play in the Colorado game. He is doing a lot better. Hopefully it's a matter of time with him."
Downs arrived early for practice on Monday, firing up extra jumpers from mid-range and past the three-point line.
More on grad rates: KU men's basketball's graduation success rate recently was announced at 43 percent compared to the 58 percent national average. This rate was for athletes who entered KU in 1995, '96, '97 and '98.
Kansas State ranked first in the Big 12 at 80 percent, followed by Baylor (79), Texas Tech and Missouri (67), Colorado (54), Texas A&M (46), Nebraska (44), KU, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma (33), Texas (25) and Iowa State (17).
"I would say by our standards at KU it's probably below par," Self said. "But you also have to understand that's with a group of people done some time ago (from 1995 to '98). To me it's really hard to evaluate that. It's not evaluating a reason somebody didn't complete a career, such as NBA opportunities.
"The thing that always amazes me about graduation rates ... I'm amazed if a guy is six hours short and he can stay in school and finish or go make himself $1 million a year, why would there be a penalty to go make a million a year? Ultimately the responsibility falls on the individual but the school has to do its part. The new bylaws will make sure that happens."
The NCAA in February will assess penalties to schools that fall below a certain standard. KU officials have not heard where they stand.
"Everywhere we've been we've emphasized academics," Self said. "You look at us and the places we've been, over time that (new regulations) shouldn't affect us negatively."
Quin on Rush: Missouri coach Quin Snyder on his coaches show last week suggested Rush's eligibility would have been called into question had he gone to Missouri instead of KU. He was asked about that Monday.
"I was referring to what we have right now internally with our administration," Snyder said. "It's a very strict standard of scrutiny in our recruiting, and that's an internal policy I'm not going to go into. It's something that's really been in place administrative. It's probably an offshoot of everything we've been through (NCAA penalties).
"I will not compare it to any other school. I just know there's a lot of situations right now that because of a standard of scrutiny that we have internally in our athletic department that we don't recruit ... it's limiting."
Small crowds: Ricardo Patton on CU's averaging just 2,098 fans a game in seven home dates. "Well, I guess I just need to just say that I appreciate the people that have come out and just leave it at that."