Archive for Friday, October 9, 2009

KU officials deserve pat on the back

October 9, 2009


Whether or not you like Lew Perkins, Bill Self and Mark Mangino as administrators, coaches and whatever, you gotta pat them on the back for how they have faced up to the recent lousy behavior by basketball and football players. They have given no hint of sweeping anything under the rug and have declared their eagerness to wipe off the soot that has tainted Kansas University’s image.

Consider the blase reactions at places like Florida State, where good old Bobby Bowden has goshed-and-gollied away so many dubious football program activities. Or UMass, Memphis and now Kentucky, where John Calipari seems always to be only a step ahead of the sheriff while involved in his basketball hegira.

You win enough and you can brush off a lot of the frills and furbelows of bad behavior, and Bowden and Calipari win enough.

Kansas under Perkins, Self and Mangino has won pretty well itself in recent times, yet they didn’t hesitate to open the cupboard, look for chipped cups and noted there better not be any new ones show up on the shelves.

Yeah, some of the apologetic KU jock zealots say the campus scuffles involving basketball and football players are being overplayed by media, get this, “only interested in selling papers.” How old is that frail alibi?

When the school’s athletic director, Perkins, states that the recent donnybrooks amounted to probably the most distressing climate in his 40 years on a major job, including Wichita State and UConn, it’s not paper-selling fluff — which should not be publicized at all, let alone banner-headlined and front-paged.

This ridiculous basketball-football conflict is something I’ve never before seen, a la Perkins’ perturbance. If you think Mangino gave Raimond Pendleton a ripping along the sideline after he drew a silly hot-dog penalty, imagine what is, or has been, the verbiage with any footballers who are out of line. Regardless of whether cagers or gridders were more the facilitators, it bears watching and should yield suspensions or dismissals if it occurs again.

Self has taken a lot of the trouble personally. You can see why when he busts his buns so consistently in favor of his athletes. He plans to extra-boot-camp any and every miscreant, and he has suspended Brady Morningstar for a semester for suspicion of drunk driving and missing a curfew that was brought about by the earlier muckerisms. As good as Bill has been to Brady, you can see why he’s ticked.

At age 23, you think a guy would be smart enough to realize that after midnight, most things that happen are bad. How drunk was he at 3-ish last Saturday on the turnpike, and how many lives did he risk? Who was with him, and how sloshed were the passengers? Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, and if anyone more sober than Morningstar was in tow, why wasn’t Brady’s lousy judgment overruled? Probably no player was involved, or he’d be docked, too, for curfew violation.

But the salient part of all this misbehavior is that the guys in charge are not hesitating to admit responsibility and have made clear their policies. There are a couple of athletes I keep hearing scurvy things about, even after the recent hassles.

The KU hierarchy is attuned to their discordant activities. The next guy to display thug tendencies may have a rock the size of the one the Road Runner dumps on Wile E. Coyote deposited on their human being.

The Big Three are watching, kids, so be good or be gone.


rgh 8 years, 5 months ago

I love Self and Mangino and can't stand Lew. That fact aside, Self and KU did nothing to interject into the fight Tyshawn was involved in as far as we know. If there was punishment then come out with it so we all know! We knew right away with Morningstar what the consequences were and rightfully so. Drinking and driving is very serious, but to have a starting guard dislocated a finger throwing a punch and posting ugly things on Facebook need to also be publicly addressed. Otherwise, I think he's running a little extra in workouts and that's it. What happened to the football players involved? Uncle Lew giving them the "family" talk and moving on? Ya, I'm still steamed that long time ticket holders beloved KU die hard alumn lost good seats while Lew concerned himself with the all mighty buck.

Sean Williams 8 years, 5 months ago

You hate Lew? Or, you hate the integral part of money in sports? Much as you hate him, you love the winning position the Jayhawks are in, I bet. People loved Larry Brown taking us to #1 in 1988, and Roy Williams getting us into the NCAA's time and time again. And they hated that they left. I don't hate any of them for taking us where we wanted to go. It is important to keep track of where it is you're going, though, and how you get there. Don't kid yourself. Money and sports have been correlative forever. KU began raising money for sports with Phog Allen in 1948. Today's battlegrounds need today's money - you can't fight contemporary contests with yesterday's budgets. The folks that were comfortable in their seats purchased during times of low demand were displacing big donors who could only buy seats in the rafters. Get over it. If you don't like money in sports you're swinging at the wrong pitch. Competition involves money.

You can love Lew for his reaction to these events, though. Tyshawn's battle didn't need to involve the Athletic Director. He didn't break the law. Brady's indiscretion, however, was huge. Drunk driving is a social problem that can have bad, sad, or tragic outcomes. Here's where Bill Mayer pats Lew on the back. Lew didn't avoid this fast ball wild pitch, but he didn't hit it out of the park, either. Yet. He did make a social statement and demonstrated strong character. KU can promote health and welfare at a time that alcohol and sports are entwined. If you don't like money in sports, you're misinformed. Don't miss the point of the games, though. At all levels of sport, it is desirable to maintain sportsmanship. It's important to educate while playing. Money, sport, alcohol, girlfriends/boygriends, competition, and rivalries all have their place. The primary intent is civil conflict within boundaries -- Brady was outside the lines and has the opportunity to educate all of us. Celebrate that he seized the essence of what an example he is. Celebrate that Perkins, Mangino & Self stay focused on educating their players and their fans.

The real game is honor, integrity, responsibility, and the spirit to continue striving for those values. Play hard. Play fair. Make mistakes. Make amends. But remember the goal to the games.
College is over in a few years. What you learn there lasts forever - on and off the field.

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