Archive for Thursday, May 12, 2011

KU Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger discusses Arrowhead game, team rankings at Chamber of Commerce luncheon

May 12, 2011

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Kansas University’s athletic director repeated old themes Thursday, saying he remains focused on helping student-athletes with the transition into adulthood.

Sheahon Zenger spoke at a luncheon hosted by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.

He’s a coach at heart, he said, and added that he felt that messages are best sent by reinforcement and reminders, but he did take questions from the audience:

New Arrowhead answer: As with an earlier appearance before a Lawrence Rotary Club, Zenger was asked about the KU-Missouri football game at Arrowhead Stadium.

At the Rotary Club, Zenger said that as of now Kansas Athletics needs the revenue from the game and can’t afford to pull it back to Lawrence.

Thursday, he struck a different tone.

“Everything’s under review,” he said, and asked that he be able to “live through a cycle” before making a decision. He added that he hadn’t even been to the game at Arrowhead yet.

Athletes and social media: One audience member asked whether he had any kind of policy related to athletes’ use of social media sites like Twitter.

“Each coach handles their own teams with that sort of thing,” he said.

At Illinois State, where he previously served as athletic director, he recalled a “phone coach” on the basketball team who was responsible for collecting all the players’ phones when they went on the road. He remembered one incident when a phone vibrated, and some of the players pulled out a second phone to see if it was theirs.

“You can try to stay a step ahead of them,” Zenger said. “But they’re better at it than we are.”

Team rankings: Zenger was asked about the performance of all athletic teams relative to other schools in the conference. KU was ranked at the bottom of the conference in the Learfield Director’s Cup standings last month.

“We need to start improving in every sport,” he said. “Just having Kansas on your chest isn’t good enough.”

The rankings are important, he said, and particularly the rankings among conference teams.

“We’re proud of this place, and we need to earn that pride in all sports,” he said.

Naismith’s rules: There still isn’t a specific plan for the display of James Naismith’s rules of basketball, Zenger said. Alumnus David Booth purchased the document for more than $4 million with the intent of displaying them in Lawrence.

“When we do it, we’ll do it right,” Zenger said.

Comments

Patti Hadl 3 years, 10 months ago

At the Rotary Club, Zenger said that as of now Kansas Athletics needs the revenue from the game and can’t afford to pull it back to Lawrence.

Thursday, he struck a different tone.

“Everything’s under review,” he said, and asked that he be able to “live through a cycle” before making a decision. He added that he hadn’t even been to the game at Arrowhead yet.

KU can't afford to lose the revenue from the AH game?!?!?!? Haven't we recently witnessed what money mongering does to the University's reputation? Will wait to hear Zenger's reaction after he attends his first game at AH this fall. Then, pray he pushes to move it back home for good.

Robert Rauktis 3 years, 10 months ago

Get rid of some of those associate AD's at $100,000 per annum and that money urgency might significantly lighten. They have more bureaucracy than USD 497 but at major league pay levels. We should have a Rival's ranking of efficiency.

JustNoticed 3 years, 10 months ago

No kidding, very disappointing. And this: "...he remains focused on helping student-athletes with the transition into adulthood." is nothing but blah blah blah.

4ABetterKU 3 years, 10 months ago

If KU wants to improve significantly in the Directors' Cup rankings, they need to add men's sports. KU cannot compete expect to compete with other universities by only offering seven (football, basketball, baseball, golf, cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track) men's sports. Points in the Directors' Cup rankings are scored by an institution's ten best men's sports and ten best women's sports. KU starts the year at a 30% disadvantage in the men's division, because they only offer seven men's sports. How does KU expect to improve and compete with schools that offer ten or more men's sports? KU eliminated two men's sports (swimming & diving and tennis) in 2001. After eliminating those two men's sports, KU's Director Cup rankings have declined an average of 17 positions since 2001. KU currently has the perfect opportunity to add men's sports, since men have been the under-represented gender in athletic participants. They could add two men's sports to balance out their athletic proportionality and improve their Directors' Cup success. Let's watch and see if Sheahon Zenger makes the right move for KU by adding men's sports, or maybe he believes ranking dead last in the Big XII Directors' Cup ranking is good enough. I guarantee other Big XII conference football programs are using their athletic department Directors' Cup rankings as one more additional recruiting tool against KU. Let's get our act together and improve KU's athletic image.

oldvet 3 years, 10 months ago

Sorry but Title IX eliminated that idea... and, of course, Turner Gill's 3-4 wins per year for the duration of his contract won't help the DC rankings.

4ABetterKU 3 years, 10 months ago

Actually, since males have been the under-represented gender in the KU athletic department since 2005, Title IX would allow KU to add two or more men's sports in order to move towards compliance with Title IX. Those two sports would improve KU's opportunity to score points in the Directors' Cup competition. Why is that important? Number one it improves the image of KU's athletic department, which is important for the university and important for recruiting student-athletes. Number two, when the issue of conference realignment rears its ugly head again somewhere down the road, KU does not want to be in the current position of having the worst athletic programs in the Big XII. KU needs to be competitive so they can remain a member of a BCS conference. Finally, during the NCAA basketball tournament, the Capitol One Cup competition was heavily advertised. Athletic department success and image is becoming more and more important to many universities. It should be important to KU too.

davidsmom 3 years, 10 months ago

There has been a lot of talk lately in the Chronicle of Higher Education about Title IX and the unintended consequences. It needs to be scrapped because it is seriously flawed. A lot of schools have had to drop men's sports and add women's sports that no one is interested in just to comply with the law. They should exempt football from the calculations and start from scratch with a new law.

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