Archive for Wednesday, June 6, 2012

KU football’s GPA jump a ‘big stinkin’ deal’

June 6, 2012


Kansas University associate athletic director for student support Paul Buskirk has been employed by the department since 1987.

During that time, the veteran academic has seen a lot, done even more and worked with all varieties of coaches and student-athletes.

But he has never seen anything like KU football coach Charlie Weis.

Monday, KU announced that the football team had improved collectively by half a letter grade, soaring from a team grade-point average of 2.46 during the fall semester to a 3.0 this spring. Not only was the squad’s 3.0 the highest in program history, it also was a direct reflection of Weis, a no-nonsense leader who believes there’s a right way to do things and accepts nothing less.

“This is one of the most incredible jumps in academic performance from a team that I’ve ever seen,” Buskirk said. “This is not just over five players or 10 players or 20 players. This is over 70 or 80. That’s a huge, huge jump in performance, and I don’t want to undersell it at all.”

It’s easy for KU administrators and academic officials to bang the drum for their achievements in the classroom, no matter how big or small. Their jobs depend on the A’s and B’s outweighing the C’s and D’s. But that’s not what this is. Buskirk is nearing the completion of his third decade of service to KU because he’s honest and genuine. Rarely does he paint rosy pictures when they’re not there, and he works for no one but the student-athletes. That’s why Monday was like one of those days back in grade school when it was someone’s birthday and everyone in the class got cake.

Buskirk insists there was neither chocolate frosting nor edible flowers in his department on Monday, only satisfied grins coming from all corners. Specifically, Buskirk highlighted co-counselors Glenn Quick and Shanda Hayden, tutoring director Michelle Martin, and graduate assistant Dan Franco.

But their efforts may have gone wasted had it not been for the strong message handed down from the top. On the day he was introduced back in December, Weis emphasized the importance of academic success.

“I remember that because he caught me off guard,” Buskirk said. “I sat in the back and he made a reference to hiring a brand-new liaison for academics. I froze in my tracks at that moment because I hadn’t heard about any other hire. He went on, of course, to point out that he was the academic liaison. I have never worked with a football coach who has taken on the primary responsibility for academic liaison and concern. Ever. But that’s what coach Weis has done. Amazing stuff.”

The way Buskirk tells it is simple to understand. This latest improvement is not the stuff of miracles. It came as the result of a concentrated effort by coaching staff, athletic department and student body believing that the sound of a choir that sings together is much sweeter than discordant voices.

“If you don’t tell them it’s a big stinkin’ deal, they don’t know it,” Buskirk said. “But when we tell them that and then they get a 3.0, they go, ‘Whoa; I got a 3.0. That’s a big stinkin’ deal.’ And they’re proud of something they never thought they could accomplish. Once they’ve tasted it, they want to do it again.

“Coach Weis is gonna keep moving on,” Buskirk continued. “And I guarantee if you ask him, he would say, ‘This is what we should have been doing all along.’ I love it. I love every bit of it.”


SinoHawk 6 years ago

Kudos to Coach and the players! I would be interested in knowing the average GPA of the student body at large, as well.

newmedia 6 years ago

Congratulations to all involved! A good GPA from KU will take you a lot farther in life than a few W's and L's. However, bet the hard work in the classroom translates to a better performance on the field. Best of luck this season and keep up the good work...

Rock Chalk

hiphopsux 6 years ago

Couldn't have said it better nwmedia. Big congrats Jayhawks!

Bob Forer 6 years ago

Even if Coach Weiss doesn't win any more games than Gill, he is definitely an improvement, simply based on the increased academic performances. But trust me, he's gonna win a few more ball games.

Jayhawk1958 6 years ago

Born, Gill was very religious and that seemed to be his main focus as a coach.

Enoughsaid 6 years ago

Why shouldn't their grades improve if the coach want to put that on his resume. He has all the tudors that money can buy and The Athletic Department has the money and clout to cook the books.

Topple 6 years ago

He was referring to the royal family.

someguy 6 years ago

Most people would pick Elizabeth I or Henry VIII as their favorite Tudor but I would have to go with Mary just because she has an incredible drink named for her.

Topple 6 years ago

Guess you beat me to the punch!

Terry Sexton 6 years ago

and I spiked it, too! (but not in the end zone. Coach doesn't go for that)

John McCoy 6 years ago

Initially, I thought Weis was a terrible hire. But I am beginning to warm to him. Not only this academic matter but also his recruiting have been sterling. KU's academic advisors are truly worthy of the name "tudor."

marleys 6 years ago

Compared to his predecessor, he looks like a fantastic hire.

Topple 6 years ago

A tree stump would look like a fantastic hire compared to his predecessor...

averyconcernedcitizen 6 years ago

I hope these successes translate into a program that grows in winning traditions both off and on the field. I can't wait until this fall to get back to my seat in Memorial Stadium and see Weis' players succeed on the field as they have in the classroom!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.