Schadenfreude — taking great pleasure in the suffering of others — has a way of traveling the path of a boomerang.
Remember the pleasure some loyal Kansas University supporters took in the scandal that led to Quin Snyder’s departure from Missouri? Remember the laughter aimed west over the pricey parachute secretly brokered with Kansas State football coach Ron Prince? All those rock-tossers never stopped to wonder whether their school had its own glass buildings.
Things happen at every university, but the rapid succession of embarrassing incidents in and around KU the past several months blows the mind.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little thought the athletic department was located on Naismith Drive. She had no idea that in her first school year it would shift to Elm Street, where a recurring nightmare changes characters but has the same result: fans of Missouri and, to a lesser extent Kansas State, left in a state of schadenfreude.
Through the years, nobody has done a better job of marketing KU than its athletes. Wilt Chamberlain, Nolan Cromwell, John Hadl, Danny Manning, Bill Nieder, Al Oerter, Todd Reesing, John Riggins, Jim Ryun, Wes Santee, Gale Sayers, Lynette Woodard and so many others have burned the word Kansas on the brains of the masses in such a positive way.
That was before the move to Elm Street, where nightmares never end.
That two-day stretch of fights between the KU football and basketball players seems as if it happened nine years ago, instead of less than nine months ago. Basketball coach Bill Self clamped down on the team, implementing new rules, which made Brady Morningstar following in the footsteps of Duke’s J.J. Redick and North Carolina’s Ty Lawson in getting arrested for drinking and driving even more embarrassing.
Next came the very public, prolonged termination of football coach Mark Mangino’s KU career, which triggered embarrassing revelations from former players and resulted in him taking a $3 million buyout.
Then came the ticket scandal. Six members of the athletic department resigned or were fired for lining their pockets with money from ticket brokers for selling seats that should have gone to loyal donors, who in many cases sat in worse seats than they earned.
In an unrelated matter, former football player Vernon Brooks, already dismissed for violating team rules, and Jamal Greene, who had been expected to compete for a starting spot at defensive tackle and since has been dismissed from the team, were charged with one count of aggravated burglary and three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm and one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery after they allegedly entered the Tuckaway Apartments wearing ski masks and gloves and armed with semi-automatic guns and reportedly ordered four people to lie down on the ground.
Now, the chancellor has appointed two senior KU staffers to “fully review and bring closure to the allegations that have been made,” against athletic director Lew Perkins regarding exercise equipment put in his home.
Nobody wants to wish a summer away, but can we fast-forward to the next school year?