Tuesday, October 13, 2009


KU’s lost scholarships significant


From my chilly vantage point at the Kansas University soccer field, I could see Parrott Complex, the stronghold of Kansas Athletics Inc.

It was Sunday afternoon and I thought perhaps fireworks might be showering the skies above the building or bells tolling, or maybe some other form of celebration denoting a red-letter day in KAI history.

Then again, how often do you hear of a university announcing it is no longer on NCAA probation?

Kansas officially departed the NCAA’s doghouse on Sunday, or three years after the august body’s infractions committee saddled KAI with a handful of sanctions that — face it — most of you have long since forgotten.

In the wake of Saturday’s spotty Big 12 Conference football opener against Iowa State — or the day before the three-year slap ended — it might be worth revisiting a couple of those penalties.

As you know, the Jayhawks’ defense against an offensively challenged Iowa State team, was full of cracks, so much so that coach Mark Mangino went so far as to say he knew back in April it was only a matter of time before the defense would be “exposed.”

In nearly four decades of covering KU football, I don’t think I ever heard a more candid comment from a coach, particularly in this day and age when the atmosphere around major-college programs is so close-to-the-vest they won’t even divulge injury specifics.

At the same time, coaches rarely make excuses, either, particularly about injuries because they are, in truth, part of the game.

Sometimes a coach is fortunate with injuries and sometimes he isn’t. Back in 2004, for example, Mangino was forced to use four different starting quarterbacks in four straight games because his QBs were falling like bowling pins.

Yet Mangino’s current QB, statistically the greatest in a century-plus of football on Mount Oread, has been uncommonly durable. Todd Reesing may not throw bullets — in fact, most of his passes wobble — but he has been virtually bullet-proof.

Anyway, back to those penalties. As part of the 2006 NCAA probation, Kansas was docked three football scholarships for both last year and the year before last. That’s six grants out of 50, or 12 percent.

Now 12 percent may not sound like much, but when you throw in the inevitable attrition caused by injuries, departures and recruiting mistakes, then you have compounded your inability to fill crucial positions in the future.

Obviously, there is no definitive way to determine if those six lost scholarships are the reason KU’s defense is struggling, but when we hear Mangino talk about using different schemes rather than changing personnel … well, that just tells me he’s already using the best players he has with the skills to play on the defensive platoon.

I don’t expect to hear Mangino bellyaching anytime soon — or ever, for that matter — about the half-dozen scholarships he was docked.

However, since those players would be sophomores or juniors today, assuming they weren’t red-shirted, to suggest the six absentees haven’t had an impact may be naive.


Billy Derringer 10 years, 3 months ago

i think this story is incomplete, thats it, i thought it was starting to get interesting and then the story is over? i thought we were going to look at this more indepth o well. How about basketball team how has the lost scollys hurt them? well just incomplete if you ask me, this was a tease...... it could of been a good article.

tennesseest 10 years, 3 months ago

Agreed, talk about only scratching the surface....

Ben Kane 10 years, 3 months ago

lost scholarships always hurt. Look at how long it is taking Miami to recover from theirs.

MinnesotaJay 10 years, 3 months ago

Since the shortcomings of the piece have been mentioned already, I'll just say I found it informative, or at least a timely reminder of the handicap under which the program has been operating. I can't help to think that the Mangino team, successful already, will be that much more formidable going forward.

OCJHAWK 10 years, 3 months ago

MinnesotaJay - my thoughts exactly. I thought we were done last year on the missing scholies. I saw that we didn't have very many to give this year in a previous article. Does anyone know how many we have to offer (give) this year? We have been stuck on 13 commits for a long time, which makes me thing MM and Co are being choosy. I say this since nine of the twelve HS recruits are nationally ranked at there position.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 3 months ago

i don't know. of course it hurts to lose scholarships, but to definitively say it's the reason why our defense had a bad game vs a league opponent, is a big stretch.

i mean, how many guys do we have playing special teams, or arent' playing at all because we gave them a scholarship, and they haven't lived up to billing, or have been hurt?

schools use to be able to offer 120 scholarships, and KU didnt' commit big resources to football, and Alabama, OU, NU and Penn St. used to stockpile all the can't have it both ways.

Either you target and sign the right kids, or you develop the ones you have....did NU's defense stink two years ago, because they didn't have enough scholarships?

number1jayhawker 10 years, 3 months ago

It wasn't just losing schollys, it was also the fact that we were limited to the number of schollys we were able to offer JUCO kids. I think it was 3 maybe 4 players per year or something like that. With the hit and miss on JUCOs, it will be nice to be able to bring in 5 or 6 at a time. Please don't go the ksu route though and bring in 18. LOL

milwaukeeJAYHAWK 10 years, 3 months ago

glad to know we're out from under it....and we thrived! best 3 years of ku football ever. weird, huh?

Eurekahwk 10 years, 3 months ago

" in fact, most of his passes wobble"

This is why we shouldn't let people from Mizzou write about KU. That is the dumbest thing I've heard. Most of his passes are not wobbly. Most of them are darts. If they wobbled as much as you say they do, it would be really easy for the secondary to break on them. Don't you think?

buckleyhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

I wouldn't say most of his passes wobble, but some of them certainly do. It really doesn't matter...stats don't lie. He is statistically, and in general, the greatest quarterback to ever play at ku (granted i only have 15 to 20 years of jayhawk football knowledge, but i know ku has never been this consistently good under another).

The article does give a nice little reminder of what mangino and company has been able to do short-staffed, however much you think 12% is short-staffed. It's pointless to play the what-if game (except to realize that you don't ever want to loss schollies in the future)...but it should remind jayhawk fans that mangino, the coaching staff and the AD at large has done a pretty good job of keeping ku football good for the longest period of time in the history of college (historians feel free to correct).

greatabu 10 years, 3 months ago

One problem with your thesis Chuck; KU didn't have 50 scholarships to hand out over those two years before the probation. We signed 22 in 2007 and 20 in 2008. Why only 20 in 2008? Because we were up against the 85-man total scholarship limit. We couldn't sign anymore even if we had wanted to. Even if we had signed 25 in 2007, then we could only have taken 17 in 2008. We had 42 scholarships available over that time and the NCAA limited us to 44. That way the NCAA can say they came down on us, but in reality it had zero impact on our recruiting numbers.

Joseph Kuebel 10 years, 3 months ago

GREATABU - Great point further pointing out and rendering this article completely useless, wholly, and not thought out in the sense of 1. Only starting to scratch the surface and 2. The face that we wouldn't haven' recruited anyone anyways so it has had zero effect!

LOL! WOW GOOD ONE CHUCK! What a joke it's been on here lately.

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