Archive for Thursday, May 21, 2015

Haskell suspends football program, possibly others, to cut costs

In this file photo from Oct. 8, 2011, the Haskell defensive line lines up across from Quincy University during a game at Haskell.

In this file photo from Oct. 8, 2011, the Haskell defensive line lines up across from Quincy University during a game at Haskell.

May 21, 2015, 2:01 p.m. Updated May 21, 2015, 10:25 p.m.


In a move that stirred up emotions across campus, Haskell Indian Nations University on Thursday announced that it has suspended its football program for the 2015 season, citing a lack of funding as the main reason.

The initial announcement came early Thursday afternoon on the school’s Facebook page for its athletics programs and included no explanation.

“Football suspended for the 2015 season...” read the post, which was eventually removed.

A few hours later, in a news release sent out from the president’s office, Haskell officials detailed the reasons behind the decision, and Stephen Prue, executive assistant to the president, talked with the Journal-World about all that went into it.

“This isn’t a decision that was arrived at easily,” Prue explained. “This has been something that previous (Haskell) presidents have looked at and we’ve come to that point, like a lot of small colleges, where the amount of money to put on a sport like football and be able to compete at a high level is more than we have available.”

Prue, a 2002 Haskell graduate himself, said Haskell President Venida Chenault takes the safety of the school’s athletes very seriously and emphasized that the cost of maintaining a football program goes well beyond uniforms and road trips.

Haskell Stadium, which both Free State and Lawrence High used for years — and even made an offer to turf the field a little more than six years ago — is nearly 100 years old and in drastic need of upgrades.

“We have to be very realistic about the football program,” Prue said. “Our president has great concern about the equipment and the safety of the players and the training table and all the things that go into fielding a highly competitive program.”

For now, Haskell officials determined that’s just not possible. However, that does not mean it will remain impossible in the future. At this time, the suspension of the program is for the 2015 season only, and Prue said he hoped that those who might be hurting today but have pride in the rich history of Haskell football will step up to help keep the program alive.

Three of those people, all current Haskell football players, made themselves known Thursday afternoon through a visit to Prue’s office.

“We feel so bad for our student-athletes,” said Prue, referencing last season’s 61-man Haskell football roster. “There’s just never a good time to come to a decision like this. But I was really appreciative of those young men because they were respectful. You know they’re upset, you know they’re hurting inside, but they stepped up and said we want to do something.”

With the university currently searching to fill its vacant athletic director’s office, plus funding issues, both in athletics and academics, continuing to pose challenges year after year, Prue said school officials remained hopeful but realistic about the future and the need for help.

“I’m sure we’ve got students and parents that are upset,” Prue said. “But one thing we’d encourage folks who love athletics here at Haskell to do is make a donation to the (Haskell) Foundation. That’s something people can do that’s both positive and can have a significant impact on our athletic department.”

Given the current landscape, he admitted that envisioning football returning to Haskell without the help of some kind of third-party funding seemed far-fetched.

Because federal funding allows Haskell to not charge tuition, the school does not give out athletic scholarships. Student-athletes do sign letters of intent, but they’re not filed under the same rules as the NCAA. Because of that, Prue said any current Haskell football players who would like to transfer to another school would receive help in the form of support and letters of recommendation.

Those members of the team who were still on campus for summer school were told about the school’s decision at a meeting in the auditorium on Thursday.

“We wanted to tell people to their face,” said Prue, adding that Haskell football coach Rich Brewer left the program a couple of weeks ago to pursue what he called “a career move.”

Those players who could not attend the meeting, received the news via email, from friends on the team or social media, which revealed just how outraged several members of the current team and their families were.

“What a joke,” wrote one current Haskell football player on Twitter. “I’ve put in three years of non-stop hard work for nothing.”

Haskell has compiled a record of just 3-35 during the past four seasons, but there was no indication whatsoever that performance on the field had anything to do with Thursday’s decision.

“I’m sure some people feel like this is a dark day,” Prue said. “But we want to make a positive out of this. It’s a pretty tall hill we’ll have to climb, but native people are resilient and always have been in the past.”

Haskell will conduct a review of nine other athletic programs and said in the news release Thursday that it expects to support only six.

None by Robert Ankney

None by Devin FYD Leitka

None by Clayton Storm Saiz

None by ⚡Daddy Mike⚡

None by Dakota Botone

Media Release — Haskell Scales Back Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

Media Release — Haskell Scales Back Intercollegiate Athletic Programs


Arnie Bunkers 3 years, 1 month ago

I hope the Golf program is not cut. Moose has them finally competing with the top programs.

Martha Oldham 3 years, 1 month ago

I think it is sad that many of our educational programs are having financial problems. Some schools are cutting the length of the school year as well as programs. Our elected officials must do a better job of supporting educations. It is our future!!!!

David Holroyd 3 years, 1 month ago

I would be interested to know if Haskell officials and alums have approached the casinos run by different tribes for financial support for the football program. The affiliated tribes have money!

Andy Anderson 3 years, 1 month ago

Indian casinos should offer up some of the billions they have to the football program. Because, it's for the children.

Mike Ford,

Where do you stand on the casinos taking care of the children?

Steve Jacob 3 years, 1 month ago

Football is expensive, so I hope the savings is put to good use.

Clara Westphal 3 years, 1 month ago

A Potowatomee Indian friend of mine told me the casino on the reservation has a lot of money. They should use it to support Haskell. Those students deserve better than they get.

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

We, as Americans, who have screwed Native Americans for 200 plus years, have an obligation to suppport Native American culture. The onus should not be on a small Native American Nation with a few thousand members.

Andy Anderson 3 years, 1 month ago

That is delusional thinking. I see why Complex cities like Detroit and Baltimore are in the condition they are in.

You don't train people to be self sufficient by giving them anything and everything without working for it.

Joe Blackford II 3 years, 1 month ago

Semiahmoo much?

The 99-acre Upper Skagit Reservation

"The 84-acre Upper Skagit Reservation lies in the uplands of the Skagit River Valley, east of Sedro-Woolley in Skagit County. Another 15 acres of undeveloped commercial land lie along Interstate 5 near Alger."

"giving them anything and everything without working for it" YEAH, they maintained the entire Skagit Valley watershed, but it was only worth 99 acres when it came time to trade it in. I'm sure land prices skyrocketed when the Californians invaded your home turf. Unfortunately, the Upper Skagit tribe had none left to sell . . . .

Bob Smith 3 years, 1 month ago

If you want to roll around in the dungheap of liberal White guilt, go right ahead. Just don't expect that we're all going to join you there.

Joe Blackford II 3 years, 1 month ago

They conceded Bob, your side is already won King of the Dungheap.

Have a Great Friday!

a What's Left-of-Lenin Poster dedicated to the mind of B. Smith

a What's Left-of-Lenin Poster dedicated to the mind of B. Smith by Joe Blackford II

Mike Wahweotten 3 years, 1 month ago

You are working under the assumption that the PBPN doesn't already give to Haskell, or other educational institutions/charitable causes. You know what happens when you assume things, correct?

Mike Wahweotten 3 years, 1 month ago

I'll state this in a very general manner, but over the years, the Prairie Band Potawatomi has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Haskell, with little fanfare. I seriously doubt there is a private, for-profit corporation that exists that has made the financial commitment to the Haskell program more that the PBPN has. There are tribes out there, far wealthier than the PBPN (let's talk about oil money, eh?) that enroll their students in Haskell and haven't given a dime in support. Back off the PBPN.

Kevin Randell 3 years, 1 month ago

How many institutions like Haskell are there in the U.S.? If not many, then yes, I agree that it would be the right thing for the casino's to step up and "help", but not fund completely.

David Holroyd 3 years, 1 month ago

LJWorld, May 6, 2015

Article about Haskell,Foundation. Roughly a quarter of a million dollars has been raised with $100,000 each from Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota in Minnesota and Seminole in Florida for ATHLETICS.

What goes with Haskell?

Jeremiah Jefferson 3 years, 1 month ago

I would take the Haskell football team over KU any day.

James Garvey 3 years, 1 month ago

Without Sports won't enrollment DROP? If they are in such DIRE Financial straights how long will they stay open?

James Garvey 3 years, 1 month ago

@Bill McGovern...What PLANET do you live on?

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

The white culture has a 200 plus year history of treating Native Americans miserably. Thankfully, we don't massacre them anymore. If they want football., or any other sport, at their flagship University, they should have it. The lack of funding by the BIA is shameful .

Scott Callahan 3 years, 1 month ago

Again, enough with the white guilt. It's irrelevant here. And you can get rid of the PC "Native American" label nonsense, too. In 1996, I met and spoke with Russel Means, longtime leader of the American Indian Movement, shortly after he published his essay "I AM AN AMERICAN INDIAN, NOT A NATIVE AMERICAN!". He saw the label for what it was, the leftwingers throwing his people a bone instead of actually doing something tangible to help them. A few other ethnic groups should take note.

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

You may have "spoken" with Russell Means, but, he, Dennis Banks, and my parents were having a good time in our living room on Ohio Street while I was trying to study for a high school chemistry test back in the early seventies. My late father worked closely with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation to recover St. Mary's College from the Jesuits, which sat on land that had been stolen from their people in the 19th century. I have probably forgotten more about Native American culture and history over the years than you would ever hope to know. He also produced and directed a feature documentary film on the Potawatomis with a graduate KU film student. I assisted with some of the editing.

My father was made an honorary member of AIM, allegedly the only white man who was ever issued a AIM card.

Try your "I spoke and met with Russell Means" on someone else.

Bob Smith 3 years, 1 month ago

I love it when people play BD on these threads.

Andy Anderson 3 years, 1 month ago

Are you a "Native American" Mr. Forer? I am.

Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

Andy, my answer is too critically complex for a simpleton to grasp,

Mike Wahweotten 3 years, 1 month ago

I'll back Scott Callahan on this issue. I am 61/64th's DIB (5/8ths PBP--Mr. Forer, you should recognize my surname as prominent in the PBP community)

I agree with Russell Means' statement that he emphasizes being an Indian over being "Native American." Anyone born in the Western Hemisphere is a Native American. The word "Indian" did not derive from Chris Columbus. When he invaded back in 1492, he would have called "India Indians" Hindustanis.

And if I can play my Russell Means/AIM card, my grandmother was an AIM member and was best friends with Theo Means (Russell's mom.)

Andy Anderson 3 years, 1 month ago

Chris never landed on the continent.

Try again Mike with your Complex critically thought out diatribe.

Mike Wahweotten 3 years, 1 month ago

Did I ever say he landed on the continent? I know your diversionary tactics, Andy. Go away.

Brock Masters 3 years, 1 month ago

It seems you want the American Indians to have their cake and eat it too.

They are a sovereign nation and as such should be self-sufficient and not dependent upon another country.

I have a suggestion - be Americans, not hyphenated Americans and lets all work together to make OUR country a better country.

And to anyone who believes Americans have acquired the land we occupy illegally I say then take a principled stand and find an American Indian and give them your house and you land. Otherwise, you're just giving them lip service.

Bob Smith 3 years, 1 month ago

Football is to education as bullfighting is to agriculture.

Mike Ford 3 years, 1 month ago

There are so many uninformed and borderline racist comments on here that education is needed.

Firstly, The US Congress has plenary powers over Indian Affairs in the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. Congress appropriates funds to tribal services to pay for the lands they took in the last 225 years so that you all could have the lands you live on. You all should go to Kaw City, Vinita or Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and thank the Kaw, Shawnee, and Delaware tribes for the lands they were forced to cede away between 1825 and 1869 by acts of he US Congress so that you all have your lands to live on. The monies the US Government paid to tribes in treaties is appropriated by the Congress to pay for Indian services. All of this welfare talk many of you use is total nonsense. The treaty money is held by the US treasury and released by congressional appropriation. The problem since forever is that the US Congress doesn't take it's job seriously with Indian Country unless it's stealing lands or attacking tribal sovereignty. The US Congress took it's job seriously with the Indian Removal Act of 1830, The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, The Dawes Allotment Act of 1887, and House Resolution 108 (Termination) Act of 1954. All of these acts either stole millions of acres of lands from tribes or did away with federal recognition for hundreds of tribes between 1954 and 1966. When land theft is involved the US Congress is expedient. When paying for this theft the US Congress is slow. It also doesn't help when obstructionist voters send obstructionist candidates to do obstructionist work in DC which is Job #1 for the GOP for the last seven years running. If you're one of the obstructionist votes who send these seat occupiers to DC to do nothing you should be held accountable for the funding issues at Haskell. After all Congresses job is to fund programs unless certain people want dysfunction to thwart function. Some of you champion this right?

Secondly, it's not the gaming tribe's responsibility to take over the treaty obligations that the US Government has neglected. Few of you understand the heavy foot of colonialism and the fact that tribal gaming has only been in effect since the late 1980's. Your country had almost two centuries to wantonly destroy the infrastructure that existed before you and you're going to allow tribes less than thirty years to economically overcome the loss of 90 million acres of land to the Dawes Allotment Act of 1887 alone and thirty years of tribal gaming to overcome the mess and upheaval your culture has created. REALLY????

Brock Masters 3 years, 1 month ago

"Your country had almost two centuries...."

Is it not your country too?

Mike Ford 3 years, 1 month ago

Also in states like Connecticut, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, California, and Oregon states get millions in compact (shakedown) money from tribes. The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma generates 1.6 billion dollars into the Oklahoma economy. Oklahoma shakes down 38 tribes that it stole land from for sooners to have land between 1887 and 1906. CONGRESS NEEDS TO DO ITS JOB AND FUND INDIAN COUNTRY OR GIVE LANDS BACK.

Andy Anderson 3 years, 1 month ago

Everyone has to pay (shakedown) money to the greedy people in government. That is a given. It is the American way. Pay the greedy government people or go to their jail.

Why doesn't the casino's support Haskell? Are the people in tribes greedy as well?

Brock Masters 3 years, 1 month ago

As part of the evil white government why don't you set an example and give back the land that your people stole from the American Indians?

Bob Smith 3 years, 1 month ago

Yup, we all need to get on the Mayflower and head back to Europe.

David Holroyd 3 years, 1 month ago

Why isn't the money donated to the foundation for ATHLETICS being used? Is football not considered "athletics"?

It would be fun though as a fundraiser to have the Haskell team play KU .

Lawrence is just soooo uppity!

Probably some Jayhawk donors would have wished they had donated tonHaskell.

Brock Masters 3 years, 1 month ago

Not going to happen. They still haven't recovered from getting spanked by the Shockers basketball team.

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