KU football leaders Kwamie Lassiter II, Kenny Logan Jr. make the best of strange circumstances forcing them to miss out on Big 12 Media Days in Dallas
photo by: Matt Tait
Up early and dressed to the nines by 6 a.m., Kansas football players Kwamie Lassiter II and Kenny Logan Jr. spent the rest of Thursday lounging in the team facility in their suits instead of representing the program at Big 12 Media Days in Dallas.
The disruption in the day’s plan came when inclement weather in and around Lawrence forced KU pilots to cancel their flight to Dallas.
Head coach Lance Leipold, Athletic Director Travis Goff and others were supposed to be on the plane, as well.
Senior Associate Athletic Director Dan Beckler told the Journal-World that pilots typically have a 14-hour window to complete roundtrip travel and they remained hopeful throughout the morning’s early hours that they would still be able to make the trip.
But as the weather worsened and things began to look more bleak on the three radar screens the pilots were monitoring, the trip was canceled around 8 a.m., 40 minutes after their scheduled departure.
So instead of smiling for the cameras and floating around A T & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where the Dallas Cowboys play, with other top talents and coaches from the Big 12 Conference, Lassiter and Logan conducted all of their interviews for the day inside Mrkonic Auditorium via Zoom in Lawrence.
photo by: Matt Tait
“It’s definitely disappointing,” Logan told the Journal-World while waiting on the rest of the day’s virtual media sessions. “I was excited to go, just to be around that and be in that environment.”
In years past, Kansas has sent players and coaches to this event both the day of and the night before. But Beckler said the Big 12’s recommendation to keep the trips as short as possible to comply with pandemic protocols made going down on Thursday an easy call.
While both players said they were disappointed to miss out on the opportunity to represent the program and show off their fancy new media day suits, both also said they were fine with rolling with the changes and making the best of the situation.
“You’ve just got to control what you can control and just keep moving forward,” said Lassiter, who stressed that he was going to get out of the dress clothes “as soon as I can.”
Although news of his hiring came more than a couple of months ago, Thursday was supposed to be an introduction to Big 12 football of sorts for Leipold, and the player representatives said they were looking forward to being a part of officially ushering in the new era.
“He’s pretty upset we’re not going,” Logan joked of Leipold. “He’s not really showing it, but, being around him these last couple of months, I’ve gotten to know him and I think he’s upset.”
That said, Logan added that there was a connection between Thursday’s disruption and the latest rebuilding effort under Leipold.
“It does tie in,” he said. “We’ve been working pretty hard, we’ve got our heads down and we’re not really worried about what the outside world has to say. We’re working hard for one another, we’ve been building relationships and we’re just trusting the coaching and building from the ground up.”
As a junior, Logan may have another chance to experience what he missed on Thursday. Lassiter won’t. But not getting the chance to sell what’s new with the program did not seem to bother him too much.
“You can see that come September 3rd,” he said.
That, of course, is the date of KU’s season opener, at home against South Dakota.
Missing out on the trip to Dallas also meant missing out on a celebratory meal with team officials. But KU was able to salvage that part of the equation.
For Lassiter and Logan, that meant steak and shrimp from Six Mile Chop House.
For Leipold, it meant his first taste of Toppers Pizza as a Lawrence resident. However, Thursday’s meal was not Leipold’s first encounter with the pizza chain that is located across from David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
Toppers’ world headquarters is located in Whitewater, Wisc., where Leipold coached for eight years and won six national championships before heading to Buffalo and now Kansas.
Naturally, reaching those heights is the long-term goal for Leipold and the current KU players, but they all realize there’s a lot of work to be done before talking about those types of feats.
Lassiter and Logan said being chosen by the program as the face and voice of that process was something they’ll always remember, even if it didn’t go exactly as planned.
“I was honored,” Lassiter said. “It was nice to be chosen to represent the university. That made me feel good.”
Added Logan: “I was honored, too. Just to be able to stand in front for our team and for the university was something I really appreciate.”