Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little met with athletic department officials Tuesday afternoon for what university spokesperson Lynn Bretz deemed a “show of support.”
The meeting, which lasted about 15 minutes, was called to assure that everyone at the school was on the same page regarding the latest challenge facing the university.
“The Chancellor wanted to stop by to express support of the staff of Kansas Athletics,” Bretz said. “She talked to them about topical things like the Big 12 realignment concerns and all that, and she acknowledges that it’s been a challenging year for the Kansas Athletics staff and that it was unfortunate that a very small number of people’s actions had harmed the reputation of an entire department.”
Bretz continued: “Their work has been very successful this year and (Gray-Little) just wanted them to know that she appreciated them and that they did not go unnoticed.”
KU athletic director Lew Perkins did not attend the meeting but associate atheltic director Jim Marchiony, who was in the room, said Perkins had planned to attend.
“He was supposed to be there but he got called away at the last minute and didn’t make it back before the meeting ended,” Marchiony said.
When asked what came up that drew Perkins away, Marchiony responded with: “He’s dealing with a lot of things right now, not the least of which is Big 12 realignment. But I know he had planned to be there.”
The meeting, no matter how minor, illustrates just how great the task at hand is for KU officials. While the rumor mill continues to crank on a daily basis, Kansas administrators constantly have been asked to address the future of the Big 12, with expansion threats involving both the Big Ten and Pac-10 looming.
“She reassured them that she was doing everything she could to help keep (the Big 12) together,” Bretz said. “She said that she supported Lew’s efforts to keep the Big 12 together and that she knew he was well-known for his knowledge and experience and connections and all of these were being put to good use right now.”
Bretz said Perkins and Gray-Little met briefly after the meeting to discuss strategy regarding the future of the Big 12.