Thursday’s surprising announcement that Kansas University Athletic Director Lew Perkins would retire in September 2011 has placed KU and Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little in a difficult and precarious position.
Many questions remain to be answered about this situation, but the Perkins’ announcement seems to put KU in an even weaker position as it tries to negotiate the current upheaval in the Big 12 Conference. At a time when KU should have strong, dynamic leadership, its athletic director will have one foot out the door.
The situation places additional pressure on Gray-Little to take that strong leadership role. Problems in the athletic department, Perkins’ departure and the breakup of the Big 12 have put a big responsibility on the chancellor’s plate less than a year after her arrival at KU.