Archive for Monday, December 6, 2010

Heard on the Hill: New KU A.D. will face academic questions, too; minority coaches group praises KU for Turner Gill hire

December 6, 2010


Your morning dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• As KU’s search for a new athletics director enters its final phases, one thing I’d be interested to ask whoever comes on is how that person intends to deal with the growing divide between athletics and academics.

That’s an ever-present topic at KU, but it’s also at the forefront at universities across the country. I remember one of the first few announcements new Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little made on campus highlighted the $40 million that Kansas Athletics would be giving to academic programs using proceeds from the new Gridiron Club. That, of course, fizzled after athletics officials couldn’t sell space in the proposed swanky football seating area.

And I still remember a former faculty senate president at KU expressing frustration at having to deal with cutbacks across the university while Allen Fieldhouse had palazzo tiles in the bathrooms.

Other universities, however, are finding new ways for academics to support athletics. At Nebraska, for example, a new 20,000-square-foot space for university research is part of upgrades to Memorial Stadium. Athletics will chip in $1.5 million to help get the space for researchers to move in.

The KU athletics department uses its own, privately raised dollars to support its activities, and it does contribute money back to the university, most in the form of student scholarships for its athletes. And it has its own obligations to pay, too. The department forked over $3 million to outgoing football coach Mark Mangino last year.

But faculty who talk to me often say, even with all that, it’s difficult to forget things like former A.D. Lew Perkins’ pay package in 2009, when he earned about $85,000 a week.

So, while others may look for on-field success first, I’ll be watching and listening to see what the new A.D. thinks about the rest of the school's bread and butter. And I’ll be even more interested to see what kind of action, if any, the new person takes on the matter.

• A University of Central Florida and Black Coaches and Administrators report on minority hiring in NCAA Division I football programs notes that KU’s hire of Turner Gill was one of seven minority hires in the football bowl subdivision for the 2010 season.

Not surprisingly, the hire earned KU an “A” on UCF’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport’s annual football hiring report card.

Schools were judged on four criteria measuring how well they incorporated minorities in their hiring plans. Of the 20 FBS schools with football openings, only one — the University of Southern California — received an “F” for its hiring process.

The report said that today, there are 15 minority head coaches at FBS schools, representing about 12.5 percent of all head coaches. And that figure has actually increased significantly in recent years.

• To all those students out there preparing for those finals, you should finish strong. Because Yoda said so. Or something like that...

There’s a bunch of activities listed to help students cope with end-of-semester stress, including some yoGa classes, sessions on stress management and other academic workshops, courtesy of the Star Wars crazies over at the office of the Vice Provost for Student Success. They’ll even open up Mrs. E’s for a late-night breakfast session the Sunday before finals from 10 p.m. to midnight to help satisfy that food craving.

• I’ve been trying to find out how I can make $85,000 a week. Feel free to send me a Heard on the Hill tip on that topic or anything else at


kujayhawk7476 7 years, 6 months ago

Lew Perkins was a talented AD and deserved every dollar we paid him. He provided much-needed guidance along with superior fund raising skills. He's retired now, and it's time for people to stop complaining about his salary. Instead, people should be asking how much of a fan of athletics is the new chancellor? That question might be the most difficult one the new AD has to deal with. I haven't formed my opinion yet, but I will be quick to want her to go if she doesn't support the new AD.

smot 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm with Gandalf. It would be hard to believe Lew did not know about the ticket fraud....if he didn't, he should have. The exercise equipment fiasco proves Lew was willing to accept favors without paying for them. When all is said and done, I think Lew will be charged with a criminal act and go to trial or plea bargain out.

smot 7 years, 6 months ago

No argument with the fact Lew brought in a lot more money than he was paid. There is also no argument in my mind that he took advantage of his position to receive personal gifts for return of favors. This is illegal.

smot 7 years, 6 months ago

That would depend on whether Lew was an employee of the State or whether he claimed this as income.

weeslicket 7 years, 6 months ago

you are correct. lew perkins was not charged with, nor convicted of anything.

but also, lew perkins turned out to have fading managemant skills. hence, his ouster.

(in understand he landed quite softly)

Stuart Evans 7 years, 6 months ago

"A University of Central Florida and Black Coaches and Administrators report on minority hiring in NCAA Division I football programs"

This is the 21st century, and I think that blacks and other minority groups have just about covered every facet of being employed in America. Why are there still groups like this around to make praise for something that has been accomplished again and again and again? It seems that the only segregation going on anymore are the very public announcements by all sorts of minority groups to remind us all that they are minorities.

Tim Quest 7 years, 6 months ago

Well, this was predictable. Racist whites get really, really uncomfortable whenever someone brings up the fact that racism still exists. You're no exception.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 6 months ago

how am I the racist? because I see that there are special groups which self segregate? national black caucus, naacp, black coaches admin? I'm not asking for there to be white groups to mirror these; I'm asking why minorities still feel the need to do this to themselves.

Racism only exists in the minds who are trying to continue to perpetuate the problem. We have had black supreme court justices, secretary of state, senators, congressmen, ceo's, president, football coaches, teammates, schoolmates, etc. Where is the racism that is holding all of this back in 2010?

slowplay 7 years, 6 months ago

What percentage of the athletes do they represent? If it wasn't for groups like this would the percentage still be around 12-13%. Is their a fair representation in basketball? Baseball? Women's sports? Why do you even care?

Jason Bailey 7 years, 6 months ago

Completely agree. I see people as people, not skin color. I have friends of all races and nationalities and we get along well. This whole "I'm white, you're black" thing is perpetuated by those outside of the caucasian community. I'm also tired of seeing people referring to their friends as the n-word -- that's fine and dandy but you have some white guy say it, even if referring to his friends, and the world will set afire.

Racism is alive and well but it's not on the white side any longer.

ecilop 7 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

KU_cynic 7 years, 6 months ago

Andy, there's more to this academic-athletic divide than you suggest. There are some changes a-brewing in governance of KU athletics; in a year or two the new AD will not be working under the same structures and understanding as Perkins did -- and I'm not just talking about superficial changes. Many faculty have long sought these changes and will approve of them, but some KU backers will not. Lack of disclosure about these proposed changes or uncertainty about their significance might make it harder for KU to hire an ambitious AD who would like to have the freedom and discretion -- both financially and adminstratively -- that Perkins did.

PugnaciousJayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

I nominate Andy Hyland for the position of Athletic Director.

WilburM 7 years, 6 months ago

The Athletic Corporation has taken on a ton of debt and can't fill the stadium for football. That's a recipe for financial disaster, and one that any AD will have to address. And it's the situation that Lew left KU with. Immense costs (salaries, especially) and long term capital obligations. Not a pretty picture.

Maybe FB will improve and we'll sell out for years to come, but there are only a handful of Universities that do that and make significant $$ on football. Given KU's track record, it's a difficult scenario to put much faith in.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

"minority coaches group praises KU for Gill hire" Football fans, not so much.

oldvet 7 years, 6 months ago

Boy, snap, you're now on Farney's hit list...

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

I go to punish myself for the sins of the white devils.

BigAl 7 years, 6 months ago

Vince Lombardi couldn't have done any better with these players. Maybe he would have won against North Dakota State but probably would have lost to Georgia Tech. Or Colorado. Who knows? There was only so many wins in this team this year no matter who was coaching.

The cupboard was bare. Mangino definitely did no better his first year either. Maybe worse. And let's not forget the 7 game slide Mangino had us on with better players! The fact is that Gill stopped the Mangino losing streak with younger and not-as-talented players.

BigAl 7 years, 6 months ago

KUbacker says: "Blacks make up 13% of the population in this country and this article says they're 12.5% of the head football coaches at the major colleges - Mission accomplished. Shut up you race baiting idiot!"

Since we are talking football and not the general population, I would bet that blacks make up quite a bit more than 13% of the football world. In that regard, coaches being hired at a 12.5% clip would be rather low. But then again, I might just be a "race baiting idiot"

Jock Navels 7 years, 6 months ago

perhaps, then, a report on players in div 1 and grades get an A if 87% of your players are white...hahahaaha...what would be the repurcussions of that! who cmes close? Stanford? Boise State? Also in the realm of extreme you notice that the black coaches are all "unemotional"...nobody hires an outspoken, kind of crazy, shoots from the hip black guy...a Leach or Miles kind of guy...Gill, Shannon, Twilingham...etc...all have the composure of an old east coast law firm emeritus... I say give the A to the school that hires a fired up can dance black guy... just sayin'

Jason Bailey 7 years, 6 months ago

Yes, the mark of a successful candidate in Div-I, BCS conference call should be "Character". Riiiiight. Sorry, I want a proven track record not affirmative action with a tinge of "he'll bring unicorns to practice".

Richard Payton 7 years, 6 months ago

Swanky football sting nets...... the crook who got off? Future AD $85,000 a week no way - we now have a messy $$ situation

slowplay 7 years, 6 months ago

"The election of Barack Obama and the hiring of Bernadette Gray-Little and Turner Gill should have ended the discussion of racism in America".... Are you serious? Do you actually believe that racism no longer exists?

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