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Friday, December 17, 2010

Keegan

Public deserves truth surrounding Bubba Cunningham backing out of KU job

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Something happened between the time Bubba Cunningham told friends he was going to leave Tulsa University to accept the athletic director’s position at Kansas University and the time Tulsa announced Thursday he had signed a new contract with the Conference USA school.

Cunningham thought he wanted to succeed Lew Perkins, but when it came time to pull the trigger, he couldn’t do it.

He’s not the first man in sports to have a change of heart.

Former Kansas football coach Glen Mason accepted the job at Georgia as his team prepared for an appearance in the Aloha Bowl, but he changed his mind and stayed in Lawrence for one more year before bolting for Minnesota, where he prematurely was fired after the 2006 season.

On December 26, 2009, Florida football coach Urban Meyer announced he would resign after his team played in the Sugar Bowl on New Years Day. The next day, Meyer said he instead would take a leave of absence for health reasons. He coached the Gators one more year.

Former Georgia Tech basketball coach Bobby Cremins accepted the job at South Carolina, his alma mater, only to change his mind three days later, when he decided to stay in Atlanta.

Dana Altman’s heart didn’t look into it when he stood beside Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles and sort of joined him in doing the school’s hog call.

Altman’s opening words: “I’m not sure my friends in Omaha would like to see me do that.”

One day later, he rejoined his friends in Omaha.

Cunningham didn’t make it all the way to a press conference. Why not? What happened? The time has arrived for Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to end her silence on the AD search with the truth as she sees it.

The truth might just be that leaving Tulsa for Kansas didn’t feel any more right to Cunningham than coaching in the South felt to Mason or doing the hog call felt to Altman. If that’s the case, the search for the smoking gun will lead nowhere. Not long after unreported speculation was whispered by one voice in Lawrence, Bob Fescoe of 610 Sports tweeted words similar to that whisper: “When you agree to terms on a contract with someone, you better have those same terms on paper.”

Let’s say there were two offers, one to which Cunningham agreed, a second he couldn’t bring himself to sign.

If that happened, in the interest of transparency, the chancellor wouldn’t be harming anyone by identifying the differences. Let the public decide whether she deserves the blame for failing to make him comfortable enough to close the deal, or if Cunningham — who had convinced the search committee he wanted the job — latched onto a technicality to slip out of a move that, in the end, just didn’t feel right to him.

Cunningham was the right guy, but if another candidate of equal caliber can be landed, the first choice’s rejection won’t even be the second-worst thing to happen in the KU athletic department this week, ranking third, right behind junior college quarterback Zack Stoudt’s decision to reject KU’s offer in favor of Ole Miss. Stoudt might be more difficult to replace. The sad arrest of Mario Little early Thursday morning, of course, ranks at the top.

Comments

KU_FanSince75 3 years, 4 months ago

Looks like Keegan is pissed----wants to save face with this article. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

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actorman 3 years, 4 months ago

You said, it jayhawk. I wonder if Keegan ever looks at the comments after his articles. I imagine it would be hard not to, but considering the high percentage of nasty comments, it would also be hard to read them. It would be interesting to know how much he looks at them or hears from others about them.

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John Percival 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm neither pro or con Keegan, but I have to imagine being a sports reporter was a lot more fun before the internet.

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Kit Duncan 3 years, 4 months ago

Wow! You people are not only totally off-base with your "Fire Keegan!" comments, but you have no idea what transpired regarding Cunningham's decision to stay at Tulsa.

This from Tulsa World Sportswriter Bill Haisten: "As the Kansas process reached its peak - when Cunningham had to decide whether to stay in Tulsa or move to Lawrence - "he really struggled with it," Upham said. note: (Upham is TU President)

TU would not divulge details of Cunningham's new contract, but Upham says the university did not extend a huge-money offer.

"We don't have real deep pockets," Upham explained. "This is not a great time for large expenditures outside the academic realm. What we did was within our means, and I don't think, quite honestly, the offer that we put together was the deciding thing."

Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/TU/article.aspx?subjectid=94&articleid=20101217_216_B1_WHENHE3137

The Tulsa Press has been following this story with far more enthusiasm and with no more details than Tom and the LJW staff. They have not gotten any more information from AD Cunningham nor TU President Upham than have the LJW staff from Chancellor Gray-Little. Give Tom a break!

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actorman 3 years, 4 months ago

"This has only caused some of the high profile basketball recruits to have second thoughts about coming to KU ..."

I echo raprichard in asking where the hell you got this. I can picture it now: a top-10 recruit is thinking about coming to KU but says to himself, "I love Bill Self, Allen Fieldhouse is the best venue in the country and the team is consistently great. I would be playing in front of awesome fans and have a real shot at a national championship. But there's simply no way I can go to a school who got turned down for the athletic director position by a guy named Bubba."

jayhawkinnebr's comment may not be the stupidest of the year -- in fact considering the source, it's not even his stupidest comment -- but it certainly ranks right down there. What an idiot.

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KSA_21_3503 3 years, 4 months ago

To be fair, no one is going to want to take over the AD position knowing they are stuck with Gill for 4 more years.

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johnsont1 3 years, 4 months ago

The media may have messed this up, but what do they care? Probably just means they get more traffic online and sell more papers.

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Varlo52 3 years, 4 months ago

A guess and perhaps a wild one: KU offered for X number of years with a penalty for early quitting. . Bubba wanted a free get-out-of town card if Notre Dame came calling. KU balked. So did Bubba. And don't think ND wouldn't hire a Bubba. They would hire a Gwendolyn if they thought it would bring back football glory.

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dick_hawk 3 years, 4 months ago

"Bubba" is a racist name associated with the oppressive south of yesteryear. That's why Mario went on a rampage the other night, at least that's the card he's playing.

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thekansasboy1987 3 years, 4 months ago

I RATHER HAVE GUY NAME BUBBA THEN ,SUE,KIM,MARY BETH.-----

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newtown 3 years, 4 months ago

Bubba realized that the convicts at running the prison at KU....

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kadub6 3 years, 4 months ago

All you need to do is take a look at this slob and you know he's full of it. He's done nothing but speculate and report rumors since before Perkins even left. So what if he's been right a couple of times - even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then!

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kureader 3 years, 4 months ago

Keegan, I'm surprised that as you listed the names of people who have "changed their minds", you didn't mention Roy Williams who swore he'd never leave KU for Carolina ... an opportunity lost to stir up some old feelings.

Seems obvious that Tulsa may have had something to do with Cunningham's decision to stay in Tulsa. If you look at his OLD salary and his NEW salary, we'll probably find a clue. That would be a good subject for your next article. People would love to know more about how Cunningham's employment agreement changed.

And, I don't know that anyone DESERVES to know all the reasons that he's staying in Tulsa, though I'm certainly curious too.

Hopefully, we'll announce another good candidate soon ... problem is, the next guy will know that he was our SECOND choice.

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Hank Cross 3 years, 4 months ago

Despite Keegan's ineptitude, if BGL was the cause of the problem, this needs to be examined. She utterly failed during the conference realignment last summer. First, you don't let your AD resign in the middle of this, even if he's dying. Second, why wasn't she trying her best to get us into the BE or P10? Even if it would've failed, we could've got some respect at the bargaining table with Bevo.

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jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 4 months ago

There is no way this is the media or Keegan's fault. They only print what is going on, can't do any thing more than that. Good for you Keegan. This only tell us there is a problem with the staff, Chancellor Little or maybe even with the president. I have said it before that there should be a internal investigation into the whole staff all the way up to and including the president. KU has had problems with Perkins, Gill, and the ticket sales. This has only caused some of the high profile basketball recruits to have second thoughts about coming to KU and it looks like it has effected the football recruits also. We are not sure if some of this (football recruits) is Gill or KU's fault. It has caused bb recruits to look else where. Keep up the good work Keegan.

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caddie733 3 years, 4 months ago

Seriously, everyone defending BGL should read thnktwice's post. She should not be fired, but clearly something happened when she got involved. The search committee took a lot of time choosing Bubba, and things were pretty much a done deal until BGL came into the picture. Also, how present was BGL during conference re-alignment talk? NON-EXISTENT! She was in Europe! I am not saying she is to blame for everything, but it is kind of funny how many people are blindly supporting her.

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Hank Cross 3 years, 4 months ago

How Keegan is able to keep his job and even vote in national polls is a mystery. The guy is an utter buffoon.

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beerhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

I think the phrase you were looking for Keegan was "Mea Culpa".

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thnktwice 3 years, 4 months ago

PEOPLE, WAKE UP!!! Pull your heads out of the sand. Man, I though I was a KU apologist, but some of you on here - wow. This has nothing to do with Keegan reporting it. Tulsa media broke story first anyway. Bubba's friends said he wanted to come to KU. Athletic Department staff were instructed to rearrange furniture for the "new athletic director" for God's sakes. This was all but a done deal. Do not give BGL a free pass here. I'm not demanding her head or anything, but don't just write this of as a media mistake. BGL doesn't seem to have athletics as a priority. Bubba had to drive himself up for Tuesady's meeting with BGL - any repsactable Chancelor or University President would send a plane. I understand plane usage is a delicate subject lately, but it is not cause to overreact in that sense. Bubba was, in many athletic circles, the next big thing. The committee chose him #1. By all accounts this was a good hire and he wanted to come. Something happend once BGL got involved. At least be leary, and concider that she may have screwed it up and may not care enough about athletics and how they affect the image of a University.. Don't just blame the media.

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gchawk 3 years, 4 months ago

"Dewey wins", just ask Harry S. Truman. Looks like the press got a little ahead of themselves, again.

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Steve Corder 3 years, 4 months ago

"THE TRUTH AS SHE SEES IT"? Now we have versions of truth. That's a comfort! "LET'S SAY THERE WERE TWO OFFERS"? Why stop with two? "IN THE INTEREST OF TRANSPARENCY"? I really want to know if KU didn't offer to buy Bubba's home at a high enough price.

This has me identifying with the AFLAC goose walking out of the barber shop after listening to Yogi Berra.

Incoherent

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newtown 3 years, 4 months ago

you whining girlie boyzz need to grow up. Keegan DID get it right, it WAS nearly a done deal. Exactly what is the problem ????

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orbiter 3 years, 4 months ago

article summary: Keegan reports something as true. It isn't true. Keegan looks like a fool. Keegan acts indignant.

pro-Keegan comments summary:
It's them high hifalutin blacks' fault.

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Jacobpaul81 3 years, 4 months ago

Keegan does it again.

Really dude, give up journalism.

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KGphoto 3 years, 4 months ago

Stop being crazy people. Nobody knows why it didn't work. Stop calling for consulting firms. Stop calling for firings. Stop pretending to know something you don't. BGL is a sharp woman who is more than qualified to be Kansas' chancellor. She's only been at KU for a little over a year and was handed a ticking time-bomb. Give her a break.

And I don't think you have to "know something about athletics" to hire a good AD. You might need that to hire a coach. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from SLU, and has been working with a university for 40 years. I think she's a little more qualified to hire an AD than anybody on this little journal post. That includes Keegan.

She has to clean the house before she can have the party. And right now, it's a big dirty house. Patience.

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Tony Bandle 3 years, 4 months ago

Wow!! Rejected by a guy named Bubba!! Oh, the shame.

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Ron Prichard 3 years, 4 months ago

@baldjedi: You say, "This has nothing to do with Keegan because lots of sources reported Bubba was coming to KU. I even read it on ESPN.com so it was supposed to happen." I have to respectfully disagree. Initially, the hire was cited by one or two people, Keegan being one of them. After the reports were out there, ESPN, SI, and many other national and regional media outlets picked it up and ran with it.

Keegan, you owe us, and KU, an apology. Not the other way around. Why don't you ask your "source" for an apology? KU never commented on the potential hire of Cunningham. Neither did Cunningham, for that matter. The only ones that felt the need to comment were mediocre reporters looking for a scoop who decide to turn speculation into fact.

Go write for a school you actually like.

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JayDocMD 3 years, 4 months ago

Seems pretty obvious that he used KU's interest to leverage a new/better contract with his current employer. I don't blame him - smart business move. However not good for KU to look like the chump. The search committee and/or KU admin needs to patch their leaks. The other candidates don't want to look like 2nd/3rd choices and this can snowball quick (ala Oregon b-ball search.) Lets run a tighter ship so we don't get caught with our pants down again. Its too cold out and shrinkage (of candidates) will definitely be an issue.

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Clarence Haynes 3 years, 4 months ago

Bubba could become the next AD at Notre Dame if and when that opens up and he is willing to wait it out at Tulsa.

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WilburNether 3 years, 4 months ago

No, Mr. Keegan, it's not the Chancellor who owes an explanation. It is the reporters and editors at the LJW, who owe readers an explanation of why their lazy and incompetent reporting got this story wrong.

Oh, wait, I just answered the question.

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KUfan88 3 years, 4 months ago

Let Bubba go...the guy we want is Dr. Sheahon Zenger. The guy is spooky smart, great social skills, natural leader and is a consensus builder.

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4everahawk 3 years, 4 months ago

I agree that the search committee is made up of some unusual choices. Did BGL pick this committee? Some of them are highly respected professionals, but don't seem to have the knowledge or experience to be choosing a new AD. BGL, at her own admission, has little experience dealing with athletics, so it's a little disconcerting that she will have the definitive decision in this hire.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

It's time to hire a consulting firm that is connected in the world of sports. We have tried letting our AD make the hire and it didn't work and please tell me what a financial advisor and candy man, among others, know about what makes a good ad!

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jayhawk1996 3 years, 4 months ago

No explanation is required. It would be nice to know why this didn't work out, but there's no moral or legal obligation for either side to share details.

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Mark Lindrud 3 years, 4 months ago

No one owes us an explanation. Bubba didn't want to come here after all. It sucks, but guys change their minds in the last minute all the time. This has nothing to do with Keegan because lots of sources reported Bubba was coming to KU. I even read it on ESPN.com so it was supposed to happen.

Now, we have to suck it up and keep looking for the right hire. We need to make sure we have someone in mind that is up to bring is to a new level. We have some improvements to make and our reputation is a bit sullied with the ticket scandal and the fact our football team is really down right now.

It is safe to say this won't be an easy job for whoever gets it and he or she will have a big project on their hands. I am not saying it can't be done, but the new AD will have to be ready to work, but I do believe if we get the right person that the job will have an amazing outcome because getting KU back on track is possible. I do hope the new AD works on getting the boosters and alumni back on board because we are going to need everyone's support and effort to help get KU moving in the right direction, but it can be done.

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HawkNut 3 years, 4 months ago

Gray-Little is going to run this University into the ground. Her desire for controll of the athletic department, something she should not control, will destroy anything built in the last 4 years and could end up running the best man on campus out---Self. Fire Gray-Little!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

Someone fill me in on blg. Being away I don't know what her deal is.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

The university owes nothing to nobody. They never came out and said anything. It's you tk that owe your readers an apology for a month of articles that you wrote that were wrong. And passing the buck to the university to cover your own backside. . .

If tk were right thus year we would of seen Larry Scott fly in on his private jet to invite us to the PAC 10. Where our first game would of been against an asu team coached by mike leach with oc mark mangino. Played in front of new AD bubba c who got the job despite not interviewing for the position.

As Ace Ventura said "fiction can be fun!"

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KEITHMILES05 3 years, 4 months ago

Tom, you need to resign and allow Bedore to cover your stuff. You have brought a new low to sports reporting.

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klineisanazi 3 years, 4 months ago

KU will not reveal any details of the negotiations, at least officially, while the search is ongoing. That is no way to attract good candidates, who want at least some assurance of confidentiality . This is a classic case of the media getting blindsided and then getting indignant. It is entirely possible that Bubba simply changed his mind. Simple as that.

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KSA_21_3503 3 years, 4 months ago

I'll tell you what happened in three letters: B G L

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4everahawk 3 years, 4 months ago

Tulsa papers were the first to put the rumor out there. According to several articles it sounds like Bubba himself told 'sources' he was taking the job here. No one at KU made any announcements indicating that a press release was coming. If he was the one releasing his intent to leave Tulsa and then at the eleventh hour changing his mind, then blame him, not LJW reporters. Sounds like the offer was indeed made, he accepted, then backed out before signing contract....simple as that. If, in fact, he leaked his intent to take the job, I would have to question his professionalism. KU messes up a lot, but wouldn't leak this kind of info before his signature was on the contract. It would be interesting to know who the 'source close to the search committee' is that was mentioned in an earlier article.

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Dyrk Dugan 3 years, 4 months ago

the Chancellor is supposed to "identify the differences" and come clean in public on why Cunningham stayed at Tulsa? not happening. as most publications tend to do these days, the LJW jumped the gun, reported the "KU to name new AD" story, and they got burned.

someone, AD, football coach, basketball coach or your local warehouse supervisor, ain't in the job, until they are in the job. If he truly wanted to come here, he would have come. and guess what TK? Maybe KU pulled the plug? ever thought about that? Happens in recruiting all the time......"player X changed mind goes to School Z other than Y"....well, school Y pulled the schollie....utlimately, THEY had a change of heart.

the thing is, the LJW truly doesn't know....so it was speculation to begin with, and it's speculation now. and fairly worthless. Let's get on to the next person. Let's get someone in here, organized, a true administrator, who will work in KU's overall athletic interest.

i think Bates from Miami Ohio, should get the next strongest look.

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treidy 3 years, 4 months ago

Keegan you have those embarrassments ranked wrong. This is number one, followed by Little then Stoudt.

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Varlo52 3 years, 4 months ago

I rarely comment and have not been either a vocal or silent Keegan basher. Like nearly all writers he has good days and bad days, but I have to add my vote to that of those who say it is none of his (or our) business why no deal came to fruition. Perhaps both Keegan and his "source" will be more circumspect about prematurely naming the next candidate in line.

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Keith Richards 3 years, 4 months ago

As every rational person has pointed out Keegan, maybe not in these exact same words, but you sir are a moron.

The media, as in you, should be apologizing to your readers and to yourselves for doing a crappy job. Why on hell does the Chancellor owe you an explaination. The search committee and the Chancellor were quiet on the situation, saying it would probably be after Christmas before a hire was made. You ran with an anonymous 'source' for your article, not something official from anyone connected. Why would the Chancellor comment on rampant speculation?

Keegan is so bad I highly doubt this horrible article would even crack his top 10 worst.

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Chicago_JHawk 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm not sure why Gray-Little would be obligated to comment. All of the examples Keegan cites were situations where a press-conference or at least a release was made before the decision was reversed. In this instance, some "sources" reported it, but apparently no one from Cunningham's camp or KU's camp did or said anything official.

Keegan wants to "Let the public decide whether she deserves the blame for failing to make him comfortable enough to close the deal...". Why does anyone deserve blame? At best, Bubba was offered the job, mulled it over, and turned it down. Nothing wrong with that.

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amatxjayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

Sources report Tom Keegan is about to accept a position as an investigator for the NCCA. Folks inside the NCAA really like his style. He is willing to work on no truths, half truths, leaks, and innuendo even though he very often looks stupid. They also like his ability to draw conclusions from completely unrelated events.

Another source (just in) has him taking a position near his alma mater where stupid is less obvious. Either of these options would be welcome news in and around Lawrence, KS.

Hint to Keegan - "It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." Your last two articles have you two for two.

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Ashwin Rao 3 years, 4 months ago

The chancellor didn't officially report the possibility of the hire, so she is not obligated to discuss this matter... Just move on.

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Janet Scott 3 years, 4 months ago

Cunningham nor Bernie Gray-Little owe an explanation to the public. People change their minds. Who hasn't gone down the same road Cunningham just traveled in assessing a new [life-changing] deal, coming to the conclusion he did, with the timing of decision late in the process? Get real, Tom; you're embarrassing yourself further.

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Eliott Reeder 3 years, 4 months ago

I was waiting for the "he's more cunning than ham" line...

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Ben Kliewer 3 years, 4 months ago

How sad that ahpersecoachingexperience can't b*tch about our new AD in 14 posts on every article... Oh well, he'll find some way to about whoever we do get.

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KEITHMILES05 3 years, 4 months ago

The chancellor doesn't owe ANYBODY squat for an explanation. Talk about high minded media people. Get over yourselves and move on.

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KEITHMILES05 3 years, 4 months ago

The chancellor doesn't owe ANYBODY squat for an explanation. Talk about high minded media people. Get over yourselves and move on.

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KU1992 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm not blaming him for reporting what the "source" had said, even though one easily could. It's just really funny that he puts this out right after. It's just so over the top, and just kind of in defense of himself.

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murph 3 years, 4 months ago

Keegan wasn't the only one who bought the story hook, line and sinker. It was on The Star, of course, and also on Sports Illustrated that I know of.

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Coyotehawk 3 years, 4 months ago

Nice try Keegan. Way to play it off.

Now follow these simple instructions:

1) Retrieve egg from refrigerator 2) Crack open egg shell 3) Pour contents on face 4) Smile

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honk_for_hawks 3 years, 4 months ago

in other words, keegan jumped the gun and now he is trying to cover his tracks

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murph 3 years, 4 months ago

It just got a little harder to put any serious stock in something a grown man who still calls himself "Bubba" says. KU was used to get himself a fat raise and stay where the job is easier. It's happened to schools before, and will again. His obviously doesn't have what it takes to make it go where the going ain't easy.

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Sean Edmiston 3 years, 4 months ago

It was that time of year again. Now what about the guy from ND?

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KU1992 3 years, 4 months ago

haha in other words...

"I'm not the first guy to look dumb from a guy changing his mind"

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