The ink barely had dried on Bob Huggins' new contract when Kansas State officials were offered a rare glimpse of what they were getting themselves into.
A few hundred miles east from Manhattan, where Huggins was introduced Thursday afternoon as the Wildcats' new coach, a few of his former - and perhaps future - ballplayers were making headlines at his last stop.
Maybe it was just an unfortunate coincidence.
First, there was the story of O.J. Mayo, a junior at Cincinnati North College Hill High and two-time Ohio Mr. Basketball. Mayo sat out the state high school semifinals Thursday night - on orders from his principal, who wouldn't disclose the reason - although he was cleared to play in today's championship game.
But Mayo has known for a while now where he and teammate Bill Walker, another very talented junior, wanted to go to college: whichever school Huggins wound up at.
"At the same time," Mayo said recently, "we have to see where he ends up, what the school's fan base is like, see what the fans think about him and make sure everything is great."
Everything is not great, though, with the program Huggins left behind. Hours before its NIT quarterfinal victory over South Carolina on Thursday night, the University of Cincinnati suspended two starters, leading scorer James White and three-point specialist Jihad Muhammad, for violating undisclosed NCAA eligibility rules.
Though Huggins hasn't been part of the program since he walked out the door last August with a $3 million buyout check - his contract wasn't renewed following his 2004 arrest for DUI - both White and Muhammad were his recruits. Draw your own conclusions.
Kansas State president Jon Wefald, in a rambling introduction at Huggins' news conference, mentioned a handful of the school's recent academic achievements and said he wanted an athletic program that would complement them. He talked about "plumbing the depths" in the school's search for a coach, about contacting the NCAA "six or seven times" to ensure integrity, and about America being a great place because it presents opportunities "to fit in ... and to start over again." And then he turned the microphone over to ... Huggins.
"I don't know that I've ever been around nicer people," Huggins said, "people committed to doing things the right way."
Any more questions about why big-time college athletics is such a cesspool?
Didn't think so.
Had Wefald been more honest and less convoluted, he would have said something like this:
"We're tired of losing, tired of being stuck at home during March Madness, tired of being dumped on in the Big 12, tired of not filling the arena, not selling more programs, jerseys, bobbleheads, bottle openers, keychains and every other doodad you can slap a Wildcat logo on.
"That, plain and simple, is why Bob Huggins is standing next to me today. He wins basketball games. I'll worry about all the other stuff when the NCAA opens a satellite office on campus."
Huggins will bring some great players to Kansas State, the Wildcats will win way more than they'll lose, and, sometime down the road, that satellite NCAA office in Manhattan will be calling Wefald with questions.
And anybody who didn't see it coming has no business running a grade school, let alone a university.