Archive for Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Editorial: Football embarrassment

Is there any hope for Kansas University to rise above its ranking as the worst team in all of the six power conferences?

December 24, 2013


During the past several weeks, college football coaches have been scouring the country looking for talented high school or junior college players. The recruiting game can be, and is, vicious because coaches know the excellence of their recruiting efforts will determine, to a large degree, the level of success the coaches are likely to enjoy.

Successful coaches earn more money, attract national attention and usually enjoy longer contracts. Losing coaches are at the low end of the pay scale with less job security and less ability to generate alumni and fan interest. Such interest translates into greater ticket sales and revenue, increased school spirit and the likelihood that alumni and friends will be more generous in their private support of the school.

Unfortunately, Kansas University, despite an occasional winning and bowl-eligible team, has not enjoyed sustained success on the football field. Is this due to poor coaches, poor players, poor facilities, lack of interest by senior school officials — or a combination of all those factors?

A recent issue of Forbes magazine carried a story titled, “The Best and Worst College Football Teams for the Money.” The survey was limited to the six automatic-qualifying conferences — Atlantic Coast Conference, American Athletic Conference, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12 and Southeastern Conference — the so-called power conferences.

Guess which team was judged to be the worst in all six conferences.

The Kansas Jayhawks!

The magazine said, “Kansas maintains its stranglehold on the title of worst college football team for the money. The Jayhawks have spent over $8 million per victory, the result of playing in a major conference but winning just six games over the last three seasons.”

Colorado and California join KU as the three worst teams for the money.

The best teams? For the first time in three years, Kansas State is not on top because the Wildcats, only a few miles west of Lawrence, with a smaller budget and smaller enrollment, dropped to the number TWO spot in the national survey.

How embarrassing for Jayhawk fans to have the worst team in the national survey while Kansas State is ranked second “best” after being on top of the ranking for two years.

What can KU fans expect next year? Does the record of KU football teams indicate school officials, athletic directors and fans are comfortable with this embarrassing situation? Otherwise, wouldn’t it be natural to expect students, fans and alumni to demand better performances from the coach and his players?

Consider the possibilities if the KU football team enjoyed the enthusiasm, support and national attention that the KU basketball program receives.

Again, what’s the trouble: poor coaches, poor players, poor athletic directors and/or poor expectations for school administrators? What does it say about the KU athletic program to be listed as the worst football program among all of the automatic-qualifying conferences?


Scott Burkhart 4 years, 5 months ago

In my opinion, a losing program becomes a "culture." Looking back, say, 10 - 15 years you would not say that Colorado had a losing program or losing "culture." Like other sports, football has its big name schools that will always garner the top prospects in the country. I feel like Coach Mangino was on the right track here. His last season was not good but at least he had some pride restored in the program and recruits were, once again, looking at KU as a serious alternative to some of the bigger name schools. It will take Coach Weis more than two or three seasons to change a culture of losing. The alternative is to fire him and try to find someone with equal or better qualifications for less money. Good luck with that.

No, I say stay the course. Coach Weis knows football. He has forgotten more about coaching, personnel, recruiting, Xs and Os, and the price that it takes to succeed in that world, than you and I, together, will ever know. Athletic Director Zenger made a good hire and the University should stand by this one for as long as Coach Weis wants to remain.

Chris Anderson 4 years, 5 months ago

"Losing coaches are at the low end of the pay scale..." Empirically not true based on the current KU football coach and his predecessor.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 5 months ago

I am a sort of disinterested observer of this problem. I have been a long-time fan of the Oklahoma Sooner football teams since the days of Bud Wilkinson. As most of you probably know, OU has usually fielded a winning team with a few bad years. But the reverse is, unfortunately true of the KU Jayhawk football teams.

The basketball team, ot the other hand, gets most of the press, most of the fan support, and a lot of money spent on the parade of one-year high school wonders who have no intention of using the resources of the University to get an education and graduate. I guess that formula does not wook too well with the football team.

It has been said that success breeds success, but there seems to be something very wrong with the approach that the University takes to the football program. The basketball team gets almost all the glory and the expectations of the football program usually are very little.

Something is very wrong here. The guys from Parington Oval (OU) always get great fan support, great press, and usually manage to at least be competive for a natonal championship. Perhaps some very deep soul searching in due in the vastly different approach is needed in the way the University handles their two major sports programs.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

Obviously spending big bucks on the KU stadium was not the answer.....and will never be the answer. The football teams are playing as good as they were before the spending extravaganza.

Kick back,relax and simply enjoy the game. What the hell. Is a degrading editorial going to accomplish anything? I don't see how.

The primary focus should be academics. The money spent on KU athletics could easily fund a fair number of students annually who need the assistance and have the brain cells. What about that?

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