Heard on the Hill: KU Chancellor speaks (a little) about A.D. search; women’s basketball team spreads joy, swag at LMH; Sam Brownback looks kind of funny carrying 3,000 postcards

Finals week is over, and the campus is a lot more desolate, but I’m still here dishing out news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• I had the chance at the end of last week to interview Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on a separate topic, but our conversation eventually got around to the issue on many people’s minds — the athletics director search.

She didn’t offer much, and certainly no comments on the Bubba Cunningham contract situation or potential candidates moving forward.

She did say, however, that she hopes to have the post filled by early next year.

And — like many Heard on the Hill commenters last week — she offered some comments directed toward me and the rest of my media brethren.

“The coverage is damaging to the search,” she said, when it exposes candidates before they’re committed to the university. “I think it becomes costly for candidates to be involved. … I don’t think it’s helpful to our search and I think makes our search more difficult.”

I asked the natural follow-up question, whether any candidates had backed out yet because of the coverage. She said no, but that it’s happened before in other searches she’s been involved with.

I stretch my objectivity a bit in this blog, and offer a few opinions on a variety of things I wouldn’t normally in a newspaper article.

In this case, however, I think it’s best to just keep my thoughts on the chancellor’s comments to myself, and throw it open to comments and e-mails. It’s worth noting that I’ve heard similar thoughts from others, too.

• The KU women’s basketball team for the 18th year delivered pennants, shirts, hats and other memorabilia on Friday to patients at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

I’ve covered that event in the past, and I remember how well-received the team was by the patients in the hospital, particularly in the hospital’s maternity ward, where players (and maybe even a journalist, too) ooh’d and ahh’d at newborns. The players and coaches seemed to have a good time, and I remember how some told me they looked forward to the event each year.

Licensees of the university donate the swag, which amounted to about $26,000 this year.

• Just wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to see this video from last week.

I’d read Scott Rothschild’s story when it came out, but didn’t click through to the video until just recently. It’s worth a watch.

KU student body president Michael Wade Smith surprises Gov.-elect Sam Brownback with a presentation of 3,000 postcards signed by students in support of the Kansas Board of Regents’ plan to fund higher education.

The governor-elect wasn’t supposed to be present — the cards were to be given to a staffer instead. But he walked into the office at exactly the wrong time — when the presentation was going on.

The intrepid Michael Wade seized the moment, and Brownback awkwardly walked away with a bundle of postcards. He didn’t, by the way, commit to any funding plans, but did say he would be talking with higher education folks later.

• I take tips for Heard on the Hill in any form, any time. Anyone wishing to send me 3,000 postcards can do so c/o Andy Hyland, 645 New Hampshire St., Lawrence, KS 66044. For those looking to save on postage, just try ahyland@ljworld.com.