Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Will Perkins be next?


— Jan. 3, 2008. A cold night in Miami. Mark Mangino, the football coach who recruited and drilled talent so well that Kansas University won the Orange Bowl with a 12-1 record, stood on the podium and held up an orange to an adoring crowd. Lew Perkins, the athletic director who maneuvered to help KU land the game, stood beside him and beamed approval.

Life smiled on both driven family men.

Nothing lasts forever, but how could it all go so sour, so quickly for both bosses?

Perkins didn’t hire Mangino, but when they joined in celebrating the Orange Bowl victory they sure looked like a winning combination.

Now, 29 months later, my gut tells me Turner Gill will coach his first football game at KU working for a man who didn’t hire him.

The second I learned Perkins had launched an investigation into Mangino’s treatment of players in the middle of the 2009 football season, Mangino’s departure became a matter of when, not if.

In the likely event KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little authorizes an independent investigation into whether Lew Perkins violated any rules of ethics in accepting the delivery to his home of exercise equipment for which he did not pay, Perkins’ departure clock starts ticking. Such an investigation could lead to Perkins having to answer whether anyone who ever did anything for him personally was repaid in any way with a privilege not made available to others.

Why would Perkins, who has set up his family nicely already and accomplished big things for his current employer in the way of new facilities, want to stick around to answer questions such as: Why did this person who didn’t give as much as that person sit in that seat at Allen Fieldhouse, or why did this person get a seat on a team flight when that person didn’t?

Watching Perkins talk about why he couldn’t talk about what everyone wanted to ask him about at the opening day of Tuesday’s spring Big 12 meetings called to mind watching Mangino in the closing weeks of his KU career conducting post-game news conferences without any sarcasm.

Only those who delight in the misery of others could feel anything but bad for Mangino in his public appearances while he was walking the plank. Ditto for Perkins on Tuesday. His signature swagger didn’t make the trip with him to Kansas City.

Hearing Perkins talk about how protecting KU’s conference affiliation is what he needs to focus on recalled Mangino answering questions about the investigation into his conduct by saying he needed to concentrate on preparing his team for its next game.

Remember Mangino saying he had no regrets? Perkins sounded a similar sentiment about the exercise equipment: “I think it’s very clear — and I hate to use the word because it sounds bad, but the word victim — I’m the victim.”

After a loss at Texas, I asked Mangino if he thought he would coach the Missouri game. He rightly said to ask someone else. Now Perkins isn’t the person to ask about his future. It’s a question the chancellor must answer. Her magnificent poker face won’t betray her thoughts and feelings.


Ron Prichard 11 years, 3 months ago

Will Keegan Write a Substantive Article?

Ben Kane 11 years, 3 months ago

Keegs, are you on some sort of personal vendetta right now? Seems like every day you have another hater style article.

Perhaps you think this scandal could be your big break to make a national name for yourself. I'm not buying, I'm not reading, and would like to read about something else already.

Ron Prichard 11 years, 3 months ago

Maxhawk, there is not one single fact in this article. If this was an opinion piece based on facts, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Unfortunately, it is just Keegan's rampant speculation of suppositions and what-ifs. I have been on here defending Keegan in the past. Unfortunately, these type of articles seem to be all he is writing anymore. Maybe he should sit down with Barry the Barrister and get some more ideas.

C'mon, Keegan, I thought you were better than this.

GoHawks1 11 years, 3 months ago

An interesting tie-in with Perkins and Mangino in this piece. The haphazard way he ran Mangino out of town it is only fitting that someone write an article linking these two and their situations. The world is round, Lew. The world is round.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 3 months ago

This whole situation is like discovering that your grandfather has possibly cheated on your grandmother. It just is senseless and out of place since he is your grandfather. Now, what will grandmother do? Will she stay with the old man for all the good that he's done? Or, will she allow him to stay because she now knows what he is capable of and knows he won't do it again? Or, does she send him away with his head down in shame for the family? And, don't forget, he was "possibly" cheating. And "cheating" by a grandfather may be different than other family members cheating. We all remember our early days when he put us on his knee and took us to nice and fun places. Yes, those games we played. How proud we were to be playing and winning too! I don't think our family would be the same without him. We might not like grandmother's new man.

Jonathan Allison 11 years, 3 months ago

creepy metaphor, but I think I agree with you. I don't want to see Lew Perkins terminated unless the federal investigation implicates him of serious wrongdoing. I'm pretty sure that he doesn't have enough Williams Fund tickets to buy off the government. So the truth should come out when they publish their report. Hopefully he is not implicated and everyone learns a lesson and our athletics program is able to clean up its act and grow from this unfortunate case.

Ron Prichard 11 years, 3 months ago

I agree whole heartedly with everything you just said.

Steve Brown 11 years, 3 months ago

If he takes me fishin' on sunday afternoon in the farm pond, I could grow to like him.

JJHAWK 11 years, 3 months ago

If the FBI is involved - which it appears to be, everything will eventually come out. If their final report shows wrong doing on the AD's part, then he should go. No arguing that simple logic. The question you pose Keegs is should KU get rid of one of its most successful AD's ever based on the word of an alleged crook that is being linked to illegal scalping of KU tickets before Lou Perkins was even hired. Do you really see this as an issue, Keegs?

As far as continuing ticket impropriety after Perkins was hired, Lou was right the buck does stop in his office. If I was him, the second thing I would do is grab the accounting firm doing the auditing of the sports department by the stacking swivel and have a real heart to heart come to Jesus prayer meeting with those boys and girls. Like to make sure they are on the same page as Sports Department as to what they are being paid the big bucks for. The 1st thing I would have done (if I were Lou) is to get the authorities involved. The 3rd thing of course is solve the problem so it can't happen again. I believe that process is ongoing as we all read and debate this because Lou is not one to wait for some one else to solve the problem.

Like I said, I'm very willing to wait for the final report from the FBI to make my decision.

Scott Perlmutter 11 years, 3 months ago

Keegan, you just lost a long time reader after this! I'm done. I'll read the kcstar or any other ljworld article not written by you due to your lack of journalistic integrity.

meremy 11 years, 3 months ago

If you don't want opinion, don't read an editorial. You'll probably be surprised to find out (because you clearly don't understand this concept) that the Kansas City Star also runs opinion-based pieces. But as my dad used to say, "don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out."

Viggo3003 11 years, 3 months ago

Let's say this is an article written in a Kentucky newspaper about a scandal at the University of Kentucky. I would say most of the Kentucky fans commenting had their blinders on.

Keep in mind the FBI investigation has a different purpose than an investigation ordered by the Chancellor to ensure Lew Perkins is acting properly in all phases of his position and in the best interests of Kansas University.

John Brown 11 years, 3 months ago

Perkins, why were these fans, who attended KU, gave to the Williams Fund for years, supported KU athletics continuously through thick and thin years, forced out of their seats for corporate sponcers? So, you could get free stuff, on top of your salary? Was it because you didn't hire these long time fans that you axed them?

Pat Sullivan 11 years, 3 months ago

Cracks me up that people expect Keegan to write biased columns that favor KU. He's not an alum friends. So you can stick your head in the sand and ignore what is going on or you can get it from a reliable source. BTW, I would not challenge his resume.

Ron Prichard 11 years, 3 months ago

If Keegan would like to write an opinion piece, I am all for it. This is not an opinion piece. As pointed out above, opinion pieces take facts and form an opinion based on those facts. None of that is present in this article.

Phoggin_Loud 11 years, 3 months ago

There are 11 schools in the Big XII that would love to see Lew get canned.

I would guess that a few of them would try to hire him.

Let's see what the investigation yields before we hand Lew over to a competing school.

caribhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

I do accounting work for a state agency and I cannot even buy the client lunch or a beer without being in violation of state ethics. So "loaning" Lew $15,000 of exercise equipment would clearly appear to be a violation of state law since $190,000 of his salary is paid from public funds, and even that portion of his salary is more than twice anyone makes in the state agency that I work for. If the "donor" failed to "remember" to pick up the equipment from Lew, then Lew has an obligation to return the equipment or he has de facto taken ownership of it. Of course, the State Ethics Commission only tends to cite violations for the workers in the trenches and they seldom find major violations by top officials, especially with Lew's connections. At this point its not about Lew actually using the equipment, its Lew's ego knowing that he can manipulate access to such equipment for free. Lew is causing too much negative press for KU, anyone else would be fired by now...such as one former football coach. Of course, Lew will get a nice settlement to walk a way. Somewhere in Naples, Florida, someone is having a good chuckle right now!

Andrew Ledell 11 years, 3 months ago

Keegan haters are cracking me up today. I've criticized my share of Keegan columns, but this one is well-written and makes smart, spot-on comparisons. Time for our chancellor to step up and do the right thing by firing Lew.

gardenjay 11 years, 3 months ago

I don't think Keegs minds the criticism. We posters always have a good time trailing his articles. He has the fever right now, but we all need the fever to accomplish things.

Also, ahoy, Chancellor, ahoy. In case you have a student intern reading these rants, here's mine:

You need to provide direction in times of strife (=not fun, but that's the job). I for one do not care if your actions cause the athletics programs to go backwards for a while - having gone to KU, I'm more comfortable being a fan of the underdog anyway.

While you are at it, perhaps you are the perfect person to fix the Title IX mess which provided gender 'equality' in a way that both men and women dislike. If you want a good university, one with a healthy student body, then stop segregating gender to compensate for the Roman sports. Some of us saw the before and after - and we know what we are talking about.

You may note that the people making a living at those all-women sports at KU do not make a noise about this issue. Well, they are making a living, which is an accomplishment these days. However, that silence is not consent; they too know things would be better with mixed gender teams like the high schools that these kids come from. Talk to the student athletes! Do you realize those well-paid coaches have to recruit for all-women teams? Why would that be a plus for women or men coming to KU? Well, it's not. Talk about losing student body and revenue, not to mention causing unhappiness. Only the U.S. legal system could come up with this one. I would say this is a primary reason to clean house at KUAD.

Phoggin_Loud 11 years, 3 months ago

That's the best article I have read on this matter. Jim Williamson sums it up nicely. If you haven't read it yet, check it out.

jhokfan 11 years, 3 months ago

I don’t think the analogy with Mangino is apt. A number of credible sources implicated Mark, the person implicating Lew has been charged with 6 crimes including a felony and was quoted as saying “I was unemployed and I waned to screw with him”.

Much of what has been reported is because of who Lew is and not what has transpired. An AD will always have his detractors evidenced by all the anti-Perkins sentiment expressed on the LJW before any of this came to light.

KGphoto 11 years, 3 months ago


I want Lew to stay. Kansas football has been nearly dormant for it's entire existence. Now they seem to be moving forward. And it's because of Lew. He would never hire a guy like Terry Allen. Terry was the nice guy that people wanted to associate with KU, but he was a loser as a coach. It's tough to get both, and I think Lew just might have, in Gill. Just look what he did for UConn. He hired Randy Edsall. And now UConn produces NFL draft picks. Hell, they weren't even Div. 1 when Lew got there. And the basketball programs were dead too. Calhoun was there for 4 years before Lew got there, and only got a sniff of success in the NIT. While Lew was there? NCAA Championships! Now Lew is gone. Where are they? Lew's resume more than speaks for itself.

The students want a team they can cheer for, and they deserve a guy who's willing to give it to them. Some freaking exercise equipment and a little ticket scandal don't even begin to bother me. The guy deserves the benefit of the doubt (see resume above). What Lew has done to increase my personal interest in Kansas athletics is far more valuable to me than luke-warm scandal.

College scandals just don't crack my list of sad subjects. And since cheering for my team is one of my most sacred escapes, please stop with the heavy-handed, ethical browbeating of my happy place. It just kills the good parts for me.

Besides, in many ways The Williams Fund is more scandalous than the ticket mess itself. Yes, it provides scholarship money, but at the hefty price of evicting loyal middle-class fans. And I got over that years ago. So forgive me if the fact that some rich old farts aren't sitting a few rows closer, because the corporate big-wigs stole their seats, doesn't really get my dander up. Either way, I'm already out. I'm forced to watch from my couch. Okay? There you go. Ticket scandal, not a problem for me.

And are we really talking about $15k here? If you think every school in America doesn't have $15k worth of violations in the books, you're a fool. It happens. And why would all the additional negative press be connected to Lew. He got rid of Mangino, which was bad press, but a good move. Point, Lew. If we want to witch hunt the ticket scandal, let's go after Roger Morningstar and the DUI kid. They probably paid $15k just to keep him out of jail on drunk driving charges. And will pay even more to squirm out of this ticket thing.

Lew's "ego" also seems to be in play here. Well, how the hell are you going to produce at a major university without one? Successful business people have egos. Major college ADs have egos. So what? He produces for my television enjoyment. He's working to make basketball and football in Lawrence, perennial contenders. I want Lew to have a huge ego! More ego please!

Keep Lew!

KGphoto 11 years, 3 months ago

Nothing to do with it? Perkins had everything to do with it!

Did you even read what I wrote? Look at his resume. He's made invaluable hires everywhere he's been.

No he didn't hire Mangino. But Mangino was 8-17 until Perkins arrived, and he was headed for the door. The first three years after Perkins arrived? 37-24 and 3 bowl games including the Orange.

No he didn't hire Self. But he would have. And their success together is well documented. Perkins brings winning. I don't care if you can't add-it-up on your calculator. Resume's, over time, speak the truth. Perkins resume' is the best in the country, among ADs. And possibly among the best ever.

He left Maryland because of a coach's indiscretions. But what did he leave in his wake? Gary Williams and a championship.

When he got to UConn they had zero basketball championships. 13 years later, they had 5, and have ridden the wave for 3 more, after Lew left. Gino had no players before Lew's arrival. Once Lew changed the culture, Gino has them all. He almost single handedly up-ended Tennessee's stranglehold on Women's Basketball.

Lew haters are the dregs. You were all Lew fans before the 7 losses and a yet to be resolved ticket scandal.

You act like Lew has walked ass-backwards into success for over 20 years. Nobody gets that lucky, that long. He's a winner, he wins, the end.

jhokfan 11 years, 3 months ago


I agree, a much better perspective. I'd rather be in our situation than what USC and UConn are in.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

Dear Tom,

Please ask former KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway what, if anything, he knows about all this ticket diverting and scalping, and the related investigations. He appears to be the highest ranking KU official that was on duty from when the ticket diversions started apparently under AD Bohl's watch (note: Hemenway appeared to be instrumental in attracting and shortly dismissing AD Bohl) and then continued on AD Perkins' watch. Mr. Hemenway was Chancellor of the University of Kentucky from 1989-1995 before coming to KU, and at University of Oklahoma before that. Those schools have had significant sports scandals and significant clean ups. He ought to have considerable expertise to share and he is apparently on the KU faculty. A brief online search suggests Mr. Hemenway may be officed at the Hall Center for the Humanities, though I have no idea what he may do there. A phone number and an email can probably be gotten at KU's Online Faculty web page. The same brief online search suggests former Chancellor Hemenway may even be writing a book about college athletics. He seems a natural to interview on the subject. At least give him a chance to say, "I don't know diddledy squat about it," or "no comment," or "Glad you asked, here's what I know..." It seems the right thing to do.

Rock Chalk!

Ron Prichard 11 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate, Tom only writes "opinion" pieces. Other than having a beer with his barrister buddy, Barry, Tom doesn't do research. You just did more in five minutes than he did in the last week for any of his articles.

Mark Winter 11 years, 3 months ago

Here is a little tidbit from Wikipedia on our Chancellor. He announced that he would be transitioning to the role of faculty member after taking a sabbatical during the 2009-10 academic year, to write a book on intercollegiate athletics and American values. Apparently he may know a lot more about things than we do. I'm sure the book can't be to far off. Great timing for him, probably not for our Jayhawk Nation.

waywardJay 11 years, 3 months ago

This is probably a mea culpa piece, beause it isn't INSISTING LEW"S involvement like the previous two pieces have been....

The editors probably said... " eeeeeeeeeey, Tom. Take it easy on the Don. He's still got some pull round heeeeyah...."

They all slammed a shot of Jameson and continued their pultizer winning, editorial journalism.

If Lew accepted an exercise bike, is that really that big of a deal... Frankly, I WISH mangino would have accepted an exercise bike. Big lew's not a small guy either..... Can they tie it DIRECTLY to anything ? I doubt it. So, while there may be some truth to this.... all i can say is.... there may be a witch in the basement, somewhere near the exercise bike.... we cannot proof it actually is a witch, and let's not Burn lew at the stake just to see if he dies....

Otherwise, i gotta hand it to Kegstand. He hid his Bias well in this piece. He did write that he thinks ( secretly yearns for ) Lew's job to be in jeopardy. Which, I suppose is Legitmate journalism-kinda.

jhokfan 11 years, 3 months ago


To answer your question, I would absolutely want Lew in my corner when conference realignment happens.

I'm not sure "hemorrhaging" is the way I'd describe the news out of Lawrence. No one is accusing us of recruiting violations or non-compliance. As much coverage as this is getting locally, it's only a blip on the radar nationally.

jhokfan 11 years, 3 months ago

Interpretation of soobawls comment.

He doesn’t like Lew. Get in line with all the others.

KURocksChalk 11 years, 3 months ago

If KU wants to continue to Major in [sic] the Minors, it will breed staff, coaches, and administrators who are afraid of their own shadow, will say the politically right things, cover their backside, and never take a risk. They will become contestants of Survivor and be content to collect bigger and bigger paychecks in the face of increasing mediocrity.

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