Archive for Saturday, October 17, 2015

Inside McCarthy Hall, the KU basketball team’s ‘insane’ new home

Athletes, other students just moved into $11.2 million apartment building

The $11.2 million McCarthy Hall houses the Kansas men's basketball team to the southeast of Allen Fieldhouse on KU's campus.

The $11.2 million McCarthy Hall houses the Kansas men's basketball team to the southeast of Allen Fieldhouse on KU's campus.

October 17, 2015

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Nobody has to duck inside Kansas University’s McCarthy Hall.

With extra-lofty ceilings, tall doorways, high countertops and even shower heads mounted 9 feet off the ground, the new on-campus apartment building is constructed to scale for 7-footer types.

Just opened last week on Naismith Drive next to Allen Fieldhouse, Marie S. McCarthy Hall is home to the 16-member KU men’s basketball team plus 21 non-athlete upperclassmen — all male students. There’s also an extra apartment for guests, such as recruits or visiting family members.

The $11.2 million, three-story facility was built with private money, and KU Student Housing runs and staffs it.

A fireplace, television and seating fill the lobby of KU's new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

A fireplace, television and seating fill the lobby of KU's new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

Construction fell a few months behind, and the basketball players and other McCarthy residents started the semester at Naismith Hall (in past years, the athletes have lived at Jayhawker Towers apartments).

But McCarthy was completed and the residents moved in Oct. 8 — just in time to show off the new hall to basketball recruits who came to town for Late Night in the Phog on Oct. 9.

Here’s what’s inside:

Apartments: With full kitchens and private bedrooms. There are two layouts, two-bedroom with one bathroom or four-bedroom with two bathrooms.

Members of the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical department tour a living unit at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Members of the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical department tour a living unit at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

A half-court basketball court: Adjacent to the lobby and visible through big glass windows, with a wooden floor and replicas of the national championship and “Beware of the Phog” banners that hang in Allen Fieldhouse.

Brandmeyer Family Court, a half-court basketball facility, is one of the highlights of the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Brandmeyer Family Court, a half-court basketball facility, is one of the highlights of the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

A multipurpose room: With a fully equipped kitchen, large round tables and a couple more TVs. KU Student Housing director Diana Robertson said the kitchen is available to any residents and that Coach Bill Self indicated he may use the space for home game day meals and a pre-game team meeting place.

Diana Robertson, director of KU student housing, right, introduces Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel to a multipurpose room and kitchen inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Diana Robertson, director of KU student housing, right, introduces Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel to a multipurpose room and kitchen inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

A movie theater: Or media room, with 25 plush recliners that each have their own cup holder.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour the media room inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour the media room inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

A barbershop: There won’t be a barber operating out of the shop, but the facility is there in case someone comes in from time to time, Robertson said. The room features a crimson leather chair (with a Jayhawk on it) and a counter and sink. The barbershop is adjacent to the game room.

McCarthy Hall, the new $11.2 million home of the Kansas men's basketball team, features a barbershop adjacent to the building's game room.

McCarthy Hall, the new $11.2 million home of the Kansas men's basketball team, features a barbershop adjacent to the building's game room. by Mike Yoder

Game room: With a pool table, ping-pong table and big window overlooking the basketball court.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour a recreation room at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour a recreation room at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

An outdoor lounge: This balcony at the north end of the third floor has another fireplace, TVs and tables and chairs.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour an outdoor deck with fireplace and widescreen televisions at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel tour an outdoor deck with fireplace and widescreen televisions at the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

Study rooms: One on each floor.

Fingerprint scanners: In addition to keycard access at other KU residence halls, McCarthy has fingerprint scanners at the building entrance and all apartments.

Living in McCarthy costs $9,875 a year, Robertson said, though full scholarships for athletes cover their room and board. The second most expensive dorm at KU is Oswald/Self — also brand new this fall — which costs $9,230 for a suite with private bedrooms.


‘Words can’t describe’

KU envisions the new facility as both a good home for its basketball players but also a draw for new recruits.

"We have the best venue (Allen Fieldhouse), and we will have the best housing,” Coach Self said in a KU Athletics press release prior to McCarthy’s construction. "These things are very, very significant for the benefit, development and overall experience of our student-athletes. We want them to be comfortable and have the same type of living conditions as the programs we're recruiting against."

Perry Ellis, a senior forward from Wichita, said he always thought Jayhawker Towers were great.

McCarthy is something else.

“Words can’t describe it,” Ellis said. “I think it definitely will help persuade kids. It’s just so nice.”

Ellis — who’s 6-foot-8, according to the KU basketball roster — cited McCarthy’s super-high ceilings and extra privacy as favorite features.

As for the basketball court, players obviously spend a lot of time already in formal practices — up to 20 hours in a typical week.

The court floor was still curing Wednesday but Ellis said he expected players would try it out as soon as they were allowed.

“It’s definitely still fun,” Ellis said. “You always want to get better and better.”


The other residents

In addition to the basketball players, McCarthy is open to male upperclassmen who are not athletes.

Cole Neville is one of those.

A junior majoring in political science and minoring in psychology, Neville transferred to KU this year from community college in his hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz. He said he got a scholarship that’s paying his room and board.

Neville called KU to inquire about campus housing and was told he qualified for a new dorm that was under construction. Neville — who has never been to a KU basketball game — said he realized only later that he’d be living with the basketball team.

At that point, he said he started getting excited because he knew “it was going to be really nice.”

Neville said he toured McCarthy for the first time about a week before moving in.

“Right when I walked in I was like, ‘Oh, wow, OK. This is pretty insane,’” Neville said. “I love it.”

A Jayhawk hangs on a wall inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team.

A Jayhawk hangs on a wall inside the new $11.2 million McCarthy Hall, which houses the Kansas men's basketball team. by Mike Yoder

So far the place has been pretty quiet, Neville said. Residents have only been in McCarthy a week, part of which was fall break.

“I can’t wait to see what it’s like throughout the season,” Neville said.

Robertson said there currently are two open spots for non-athletes, after one man who had signed up left KU and another decided to move into a different residence hall.

Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director for public affairs, said it’s good to have both groups of students under the same roof, especially for the athletes.

“Interaction with non-athletes is vital to college life,” Marchiony said. “McCarthy gives them the best of both worlds — it gives them exposure, but it also provides them with a bit more security.”


Who's Marie S. McCarthy?

Kansas University alumni Kent and Missy McCarthy donated the lead gift to construct McCarthy Hall, which is named after Kent’s late mother and proud Kansan, Marie S. McCarthy.

Marie McCarthy was born in 1929 and attended KU on a math scholarship, a rarity for women in her day. She graduated in 1951.

“Mom was a Kansas girl who grew up during the dust bowl era,” Kent said in a Kansas University Endowment report. “KU and the basketball team were a big part of her life, and we wanted to honor her.”

Contact KU and higher ed reporter Sara Shepherd
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Comments

Richard Heckler 2 years, 2 months ago

Gonna try to keep the boys out of trouble eh ........

Very nice.....

Where is the new living for the lady athletes?

Brett McCabe 2 years, 2 months ago

Where is your donation check for new housing for women athletes? What was the amount of the contribution?

Jeremy Arthur 2 years, 2 months ago

The original plans called for McCarthy Hall to house both men's and women's basketball but the legislature blocked KU from issuing bonds (to be paid back from housing revenues) to pay for the additional construction, forcing them to scale back the project to one which would be paid for solely by private funds. I believe that they do have expansion plans in place for a women's version if/when enough private funds are donated for the project.

Hopefully Coach Schneider can inject enough enthusiasm into the project to make those donations a reality.

Ken Miller 2 years, 2 months ago

I get it that private money was used to build the new hoops living palace, and I also get it that KU Men's Basketball generates a LOT of revenue for KU, Lawrence, the State and private entities that have figured out how to make money on that bandwagon. I get it that KU hoops needs to keep up with Kentucky, Duke, etc. when it comes to player perks. I get ALL of that.

But what do our state legislators think when they see this and then soon will have a say in funding higher education in Kansas? Will lawmakers be able to separate "fact" from the impression that spending this kind of money on KU basketball players means that KU has plenty of accessible cash?

Perception v. Fact. What usually comes out on top?

Brett McCabe 2 years, 2 months ago

Never, never, never manage your organization to the low expectations of others. Manage it to be the best at what it does, and then deal with the fallout.

Amy Varoli Elliott 2 years, 2 months ago

Actually the basketball program does not generate much money for KU, money from the program goes back to the program to pay for an over inflated coaches salary and needless pamper of athletes that do very little for the university. I would rather see the student who add to the university pamper than a small group of kids who are unlikely to even graduate.

Jeremy Arthur 2 years, 2 months ago

For someone who is stereotyping other's academic abilities you are surprisingly ignorant.

According to the Star, KU basketball actually made almost $10 million in profit for the university (that's after the coaches salary and the money spent "pampering" the athletes are counted as expenses). That money is of course used to fund the non-revenue sports.

And according to Inside Higher Education, through 2014's tournament KU has both a perfect APR (Academic Progress Rate) and GSR (Graduation Success Rate) for its mens basketball players. Not sure where you are coming up with your "unlikely to graduate" comment unless it's some sort of ugly stereotype based on the players' race and/or socio-economic backgrounds?

Beth Ennis 2 years, 1 month ago

The only thing I would say that may sound negative, but isn't intended that way, is that I don't think the perfect GSR includes the one and dones, which are becoming more and more common in our program. I liked it better when we had almost all of our players for 3-4 years and only occasionally the one and done. You got to know the players more and it felt more like a local team. But yes, if the players stick around, HCBS is very good at putting their academics high and they all graduate. Some with very tough degrees.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 1 month ago

Careful, Amy. You'll be attacked for class warfare.

Beth Ennis 2 years, 1 month ago

Hopefully fact. If our legislators don't know that the sports programs tend to be financed by themselves basically and by private donations, they don't belong in the legislature and we as voters have failed and elected incompetent people. (of course, that is exactly what has happened unfortunately) This comment was supposed to be further up on this page.....

Chuck Woodling 2 years, 2 months ago

McCarthy Hall is less on the perception scale than Kansas State's $65 million football facility.

Steve Jacob 2 years, 2 months ago

Players I bet would rather get paid then living in that place. Someday someone will organize a strike, probably football first.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 2 months ago

They are now getting stipends, in addition to free room, free board, free books, free tuition, free tutoring, free travel, free personal training, free personal coaching and a long list of other benefits. They get a pretty good deal.

The best way to get "paid" to play a sport is to be good enough to make it to paid leagues. That opportunity is available to anyone who can make it a reality.

Bob Smith 2 years, 2 months ago

Got to also consider all the under-the-table cash and benefits from boosters.

Clara Westphal 2 years, 2 months ago

What are the requirements for other non-athelete students to live there? So far there is one. That does not make a group.

Jeremy Arthur 2 years, 2 months ago

The requirements are posted directly on the KU Student Housing Website:

"Eligibility This building is an apartment complex for single non-traditional students, upperclass students, and transfer students with at least 30 credit hours. As such, it is intended to provide an environment where mature, responsible students already acclimated to the rigors of college studies can succeed. First-year students (incoming freshmen or transfer students with fewer than 30 credit hours) may be allowed residence in McCarthy Hall if they can demonstrate a familial relationship with an eligible resident or their participation in an academic or extracurricular program provides the student with substantial structure and support, thereby assuring that they are prepared to live more independently in this apartment-style environment."

Jeremy Arthur 2 years, 2 months ago

Also, just because they article only interviewed one non-athlete resident doesn't mean that he's the only one. The NCAA dictates that there be at least a 50/50 ratio of athletes to non-athletes in any student housing. McCarthy Hall holds 38 students, there are 16 basketball players, and, according to the article, 2 current vacancies. That means that at present time their are 20 non-athletes living there.

Carol Bowen 2 years, 2 months ago

Height. They have to be able to reach the shower.

David Holroyd 2 years, 2 months ago

And the football team can live at HERE , right across from the stadium.

David Holroyd 2 years, 2 months ago

If this hall is 11.2 million, why is the Eldridge expansion so expensive?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 2 months ago

Yet another nail in the coffin. I have felt for years that the university and local media's slavish devotion to the KU basketball program is pretty much a direct effect on why there will never be a successful football program at Kansas University. This expenditure of millions of dollars for "attracting new (one year wonders) to the basketball team is a slap in the face of the football program.

Beth Ennis 2 years, 1 month ago

but this was paid for by private donors. Where are the private donors for the football team? There aren't many. Until we can hire a coach who can do something with our program, it isn't going to attract private donations. It has nothing to do with the media. Let's give our new coach a chance. It's his first year and he is playing with players someone else recruited.

Carol Bowen 2 years, 2 months ago

Except for the recreation facilities, the parlors and rooms remind me of the dorms at my alma mater back in the day. I hope the new student residential housing is as pleasant as this building. It would be a great improvement over KUs old residence halls.

MaLinda Manis 2 years, 1 month ago

Before I post my opinion/comment, I want to say that I don't know any specifics, details, stats, etc. But my question as a fan, Jane Q. Citizen (who does not live in Douglas County, but not far) is this...why such a lavish facility? Are all these fancy amenities going to make or break the athletes performances on the court? Is it really that KU is keeping up with other colleges, or that it's appealing to potential players? I'm not being facetious, just curious. I would think that the simple necessities would be ample as long as they meet the requirements. And as some others have commented, why not such lavish facilities for the ladies? If there were enough private funds, would the ladies get such a facility? Where were these private funds from, and were there any left over? Or will anyone ever know that information?

Bob Forer 2 years, 1 month ago

Its not about making or breaking their performances. Its about getting them here in the first place.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 1 month ago

I think they are competing for the best players, and the other schools are providing luxury living too. Besides, these guys don't get paid while the sports program rakes in the money on their talent, so they might as well have some nice digs.

John Barrett 2 years, 1 month ago

Like it or not, fewer people will pay to see women play basketball, than pay to see men play basketball. In fact, as bad as the KU football program is, football and men's basketball are really the only revenue producing sports for not just KU, but virtually every FBS university. These 2 sports are expected to support the entire athletic department.

When I was a student at KU, we were assessed a fee to pay for non-revenue producing sports -- football and men's basketball produced enough revenue to pay for every sport, except women's basketball. After graduation, when I still lived in Lawrence, Volume Shoe (Payless Shoe Source) sponsored the Women's basketball games, so admission was free. They still could not fill Allen Fieldhouse.

When women's basketball has the appeal of men's basketball, so it is a revenue producing sport, rather than a drain on the athletic department budget, I am sure they will have "such lavish facilities."

Steve Jacob 2 years, 1 month ago

Oh, and Louisville basketball team has a Hall just like this for the basketball team, and are answering questions today about strippers and prostitutes paid for by graduate assistants at the Hall.

Lauren Baruth-Stromberg 2 years, 1 month ago

Good thing this was built with private money, because it's too exorbitant to be justifiable. Do they need to keep a certain GPA to stay in there or did I miss that bit?

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