Opinion

Opinion

KU’s year as bad as it gets

May 23, 2011

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Las Vegas offers propositions on just about any sports wager imaginable, but when an outcome is too predictable, it’s taken off the board. No way Vegas or any bookmaker elsewhere working illegally ever would offer odds on which of Kansas University’s 14 athletic teams that compete in the Big 12 will have the best conference finish in the 2011-2012 season.

The only answer, of course, is men’s basketball, which in 2010-11 won the conference with a 14-2 record, won the Big 12 tournament, advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tourney and finished 35-3.

Men’s track and field, which placed sixth at the conference championships, was the only other KU squad to finish in the top half of the league.

Men’s and women’s cross country finished seventh out of 12, and women’s track and field and volleyball were seventh among 11 teams.

More bad news: Women’s swimming and diving (fourth of six), women’s basketball (tied for eighth), men’s golf (ninth), women’s tennis (tied for ninth) and women’s golf (11th) all had forgettable seasons.

Wait, it gets worse. Four KU teams — football, women’s soccer, softball and baseball — all were dead last. KU’s crew team competes in Conference USA, but there was a Big 12 regatta for the four schools that put boats in the water. Kansas finished, you guessed it, fourth.

So it’s an extremely safe assumption that Bill Self’s basketball team, which returns just 29 percent of its scoring and 22 percent of its three-point field goals and does not have a single player who has averaged double-figures scoring for a season of college basketball, will be the school’s best next year with or without undecided recruit DeAndre Daniels.

The Jayhawks’ baseball team lost its final nine Big 12 games, getting swept by Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Kansas State. The 9-9 start in conference games was more surprising than the 0-9 finish, given the team’s shortage of experienced pitchers. KU surrendered at least 10 runs in each of its final six Big 12 games.

Sunday’s results, 13-9 and 10-6 losses to Kansas State in the final games played on KU’s campus in any sport during the 2010-2011 school year, were a pretty fair representation of how things went for all Jayhawks teams, except the franchise.

Why all the losing? Geography and facilities, more than ever, play a big role in success. A clever, hard-working coach used to be able to close the gap by finding hidden recruiting gems, but that’s more difficult to do because nearly every school has work-obsessed coaches now. Sleepers are tougher to find because the best athletes have so many more means for exposure.

Yet, in women’s basketball, the sleeping giant of the Kansas athletic program, neither explanation applies. The facilities are equal to those of the men. Geography? Two Kansas City-area players led Texas A&M to the national championship. Danielle Adams and Tyra White, the Aggies’ two leading scorers, combined for 48 points in A&M’s 76-70 victory against Notre Dame in the title game. That was a tough double-whammy for KU’s women’s basketball fans to absorb.

Oh well, at least the year has ended. Look at it this way: Next year can’t be any worse.

Comments

OutlawJHawk 3 years, 11 months ago

New AD needs to put a fire under every program coach, except Self. And there is no excuse for women's basketball to be as bad as it is. If there is no expectation for winning, don't expect it. Fire a couple of coaches to make the point.

kujayhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

Ouch. But I thought Perkins did such a great job? What a scam artist.

firebird27 3 years, 11 months ago

We have difficulty competing in baseball and softball because of weather. For soccer, many players are on 1/2 scholarships, because there are insufficient funds to provide full scholarships for all players. I suspect the same is true for a number of other sports. Considering the deep pockets of places such as the U. of Texas, we cannot compete due to lack of funds. But there is no excuse for our women's basketball team not doing well, and it should be a revenue producing sport. It is easy to attack Perkins, but the problem is the lack of a revenue base in Kansas, which is small in population and less wealthy than other states in the Big 12.

kujayhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

The NCAA limits the scholarships for soccer, just like they do in baseball.

Gary Hawke 3 years, 11 months ago

Bull! These excuses are so old and lame. Nebraska. K State and MU always seem to do soooo much better than us in baseball and softball. Weather and facilities are lame excuses. KU has put millions into baseball. Volleyball and soccer have an equal chance with all others. KU dropped men's swimming and crew to give $ to women's programs that have fallen flat. Golf and tennis shouldn't have anymore trouble recruiting than other Big 12s...except maybe Texas. And women's basketball. It should and could be a successful, moneymaking program. Obviously we have the support. We don't have the COACHES!!!! Notice how K State began filling their arena for women's bb once they started winning. Why does the athletic department allow losers as coaches to stay around so long. They'd never tolerate it in football or bb. Hire some good coaches. That's the main job of the AD!!!!

kujayhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

Hire some good coaches but pay them less. What Bonnie makes is a joke given her results.

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