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Lost in the euphoria of this stunningly serendipitous Kansas University football season has been any notion of assessing its impact on the big picture.
While the Jayhawks' 11-0 start has been a short-term delight, the long-range effect could be even more significant based on what happened just 13 months ago.
In case you had forgotten, KU is on NCAA probation and will remain in the doghouse through 2009 based on instances of compliance shortcomings that occurred between 2000 and 2005.
As part of that probation, the Jayhawks' football program will lose three scholarships next year and three more for the following year. In other words, coach Mark Mangino can offer only 44 grants over the next two school years instead of the NCAA maximum of 50.
A six-scholarship cutback may not seem harmful on the surface, but in these times of parity even the slightest shortcoming can rise up and bite a program.
Now, however, with the Jayhawks a national media darling, Mangino and his staff are likely to be invited into many living rooms closed to them in the past.
So even though the Jayhawks will have three fewer grants to offer, the 22 players Mangino signs next February will be more talented - in theory, anyway - than the 22 he would have signed if, say, the Jayhawks had compiled a 7-5 record and produced no national buzz.
Parenthetically, I should mention that Mangino has taken Kansas into uncharted territory this fall even though KU, in anticipation of the upcoming NCAA penalty, docked itself one football scholarship in each of the last two years.
Then again, two fewer scholarships in two years isn't the same as losing six grants over the same period.
Meanwhile, if you're wondering about Al Bohl, the KU athletic director who hired Mangino in late 2001 and was the scapegoat for KU's NCAA transgressions, I can tell you he won't be at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday.
Bohl, who has lived in St. Augustine, Fla., since KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway fired him in the spring of 2003, will be at a book signing in Orange Park, Fla. He and his son Brett have co-authored a book entitled "Getting to Thanksgiving."
According to Bohl's Web site, the new book "exposes the dynamic interactions that can occur between family members and humbly reminds us to teach our children well, and to grow from our own experiences to become worthy role models."
I'm not sure how much of a role model Bohl is for budding athletic directors because the probation-producing gaffes - mainly his refusal to upgrade the compliance division of the athletic department - occurred under his watch.
Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that Bohl accomplished two notable positives during his short tenure on Mount Oread - 1) he hired Mangino, and 2) he led the charge to remove tailgating restrictions around Memorial Stadium.
These days, when Bohl isn't putting prose on paper, he speaks to civic groups and serves as an adjunct professor of sports management at Flagler College in St. Augustine.
If he wants to take some of the credit for the Jayhawks' current success, that's OK. But if the KU program suffers over the next two seasons, then he will have to shoulder some of the blame, too.