Archive for Friday, August 21, 2009

Stories to follow in 2009

August 21, 2009

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Odds and ends while daydreaming about the Kansas football team meeting Oklahoma here after a 6-0 start, including Big 12 victories over Iowa State and Colorado:

• Don’t cackle. That’s well within reach. With that kind of momentum, there’s no telling what the Jayhawks might do against the Sooners. Only thing is, I dread the prospect of KU players, as they too often do, using the old self-victimization bit about, “Well, nobody thought we could be this good but we always believed in ourselves.” Nuts! Fired-up fans think Kansas can start that fast; ought to, in fact, as long as there aren’t some crucial ACL cripplings. If KU is that well off by Oct. 24, win or lose against OU, it won’t need a pity party.

• Won’t be long now before we’ll be hearing a lot of KU’s famed, distinctive Rock Chalk Chant. I love it, like many, but it rankles the heck out of me how it’s been bastardized, a development that is repeated and repeated on those promotional audios. Some time back I got a note from Sarah Hill-Nelson, who shares my ire. Sarah wrote: “ . . . there needs to be some sort of tutorial. The final line of the Rock Chalk Chant is ‘Kay-You-OO.’ It’s a three-syllable word (by tradition) that is now being done as a two-syllable expression (Kay-You).”

Why some semantic dolt chose to streamline the chant is beyond me.

• The Endowment Association is one of the last places I’d have expected to hear a defense for highly paid Jayhawk basketball players who aren’t kicking back big sums to the alma mater. But a spokesman made a great point: For all the loot these guys get, they need to be investing and setting aside for the future so that THEN they can remunerate old KU for the foundation it gave them.

The KU pros who currently are raking in all the way from Paul Pierce’s $18 million-plus per year down to Darnell Jackson’s $450,000 have obligations to family, a sound future and are aware of the following:

Within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former National Basketball Association players are broke. Hope our guys can do a lot better and will keep KU in mind down the line — as many older Jayhawk jocks generously have done already.

• The microscope is on Kansas State and how it copes with the changeover in the presidency and athletic directorship and that incredible financial debacle mucked-up by Jon Wefald and Co.

Wefald once shared the mantle of Golden Boy with football coach Bill Snyder, now back in the football saddle. Discussing in 2003 how Snyder got things rolling at KSU, Wefald said: “When I got here, there was a sense of futility. If the old administration had stayed for three more years, I think football would have been dropped. We would have no marching band and we’d be at about 12,000 students.”

Since ’86, KSU enrollment soared from 13,000 to over 25,000, fund-raising began a push from $7 million to the $95 million-a-year level and Manhattan officials say the town’s economy benefited handsomely.

There were the worst of times, then the best of times. Now everyone’s waiting to see which way K-State fortunes swing from the current state of fearful limbo.

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