Monday, May 23, 2011


KU’s year as bad as it gets


Las Vegas offers propositions on just about any sports wager imaginable, but when an outcome is too predictable, it’s taken off the board. No way Vegas or any bookmaker elsewhere working illegally ever would offer odds on which of Kansas University’s 14 athletic teams that compete in the Big 12 will have the best conference finish in the 2011-2012 season.

The only answer, of course, is men’s basketball, which in 2010-11 won the conference with a 14-2 record, won the Big 12 tournament, advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tourney and finished 35-3.

Men’s track and field, which placed sixth at the conference championships, was the only other KU squad to finish in the top half of the league.

Men’s and women’s cross country finished seventh out of 12, and women’s track and field and volleyball were seventh among 11 teams.

More bad news: Women’s swimming and diving (fourth of six), women’s basketball (tied for eighth), men’s golf (ninth), women’s tennis (tied for ninth) and women’s golf (11th) all had forgettable seasons.

Wait, it gets worse. Four KU teams — football, women’s soccer, softball and baseball — all were dead last. KU’s crew team competes in Conference USA, but there was a Big 12 regatta for the four schools that put boats in the water. Kansas finished, you guessed it, fourth.

So it’s an extremely safe assumption that Bill Self’s basketball team, which returns just 29 percent of its scoring and 22 percent of its three-point field goals and does not have a single player who has averaged double-figures scoring for a season of college basketball, will be the school’s best next year with or without undecided recruit DeAndre Daniels.

The Jayhawks’ baseball team lost its final nine Big 12 games, getting swept by Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Kansas State. The 9-9 start in conference games was more surprising than the 0-9 finish, given the team’s shortage of experienced pitchers. KU surrendered at least 10 runs in each of its final six Big 12 games.

Sunday’s results, 13-9 and 10-6 losses to Kansas State in the final games played on KU’s campus in any sport during the 2010-2011 school year, were a pretty fair representation of how things went for all Jayhawks teams, except the franchise.

Why all the losing? Geography and facilities, more than ever, play a big role in success. A clever, hard-working coach used to be able to close the gap by finding hidden recruiting gems, but that’s more difficult to do because nearly every school has work-obsessed coaches now. Sleepers are tougher to find because the best athletes have so many more means for exposure.

Yet, in women’s basketball, the sleeping giant of the Kansas athletic program, neither explanation applies. The facilities are equal to those of the men. Geography? Two Kansas City-area players led Texas A&M to the national championship. Danielle Adams and Tyra White, the Aggies’ two leading scorers, combined for 48 points in A&M’s 76-70 victory against Notre Dame in the title game. That was a tough double-whammy for KU’s women’s basketball fans to absorb.

Oh well, at least the year has ended. Look at it this way: Next year can’t be any worse.


actorman 2 years, 10 months ago

KSUck fans are so predictable -- classy as always. How about you guys actually win a championship -- as in ONE -- in ANY sport, then come crow to us??? But of course the truth is that even if your pitiful "school" was better than us in every sport, I still would be ashamed to be from the miniscule apple.

As for you, HighElite, it's so disappointing to read your drivel about Mangino, given how articulately and intelligently you discuss most matters on here. Aside from the fact that Mangino's won-loss record wasn't actually that impressive (yes, he had one glorious season, but his record otherwise was nothing special, and he also lost countless games over the years with way-beyond-bizarre decision-making), he was an abusive a-hole to EVERYBODY. That means he didn't just abuse his players, which was bad enough. (And when I say "abuse," I don't use that word lightly. It went way beyond simply screaming at people, and the players absolutely despised him.) But he treated everyone like crap, including people who worked for him. When people sign on to work as, say, a secretary for the athletic department, do they deserve to be treated the same way as football players? I am so sick and tired of people trying to defend Mangino. Good riddance and the less I hear about him the better. Whether or not Gill works out, at least we can know that we won't have a serial abuser representing our football program.


jayhawkinnebr 2 years, 10 months ago

Tom, you just hit the nail on the head. I have been saying this for a long time. I really can't say much for our head coach of the men's basketball team from last years showing. Self did a very poor job of coaching this team with the play of Budweiser Brady. Players sitting on the bench that were much better just sit there. Wait until this years football team shows what it will do and its time to send Gill on his way, with others.


mustlehustle 2 years, 10 months ago

As long as the Jayhawk Nation is content with mediocre hires in coaching and athletic administration, and is loaded with the many apologies for the mediocre results from these hires, nothing is going to change. I can't imagine any of the top tier Big 12 schools, much less the top tier national schools that would have considered any of these recent hires. If you want to be the must have a search committee that has a remote clue what that resembles, much less have any modicum of evaluation skills.


gorilla10 2 years, 10 months ago

This is sad to read. We are the worst athetic program in the big12......We can't even compete with Kstate for crying out loud. The blew our programs out this year. It's clear what changes need to be made if you ask me. Facility upgrades, coaching changes are among the top priorities now that we have a good A.D. I don't see KU competing in any fall sports.......sure, basketball will be alright but don't we want more than that here in Lawrence people. I support all KUathletics and the people I CAN'T STAND are those who cheer only for basketball. Get those losers out of here. You support the SCHOOL OVERALL or get the heck out of town..........MAKE CHANGES KU!!!!!


Jack Wilson 2 years, 10 months ago

Seriously .. all that matters is how the KU men's basketball team does. That's it. That is all that matters.

If there is a hot women's soccer player, ok, that might count a bit. But the ladies don't play in thongs. At least I don't think they do.

Women's basketball might count when the a good team at Robinson wouldn't kick their tails up and down the court.

And football. We got rid of the best coach in school history because of a politically correct witch-hunt. By people that don't understand the game.

All that matters at KU is men's basketball. God bless America.


Mike Barnhart 2 years, 10 months ago

FIVE Kansas City area women's soccer players won a national championship this year while playing for Notre Dame!


lionhawkward 2 years, 10 months ago

True godbless those in Joplin! What we need now is the stability of a strong AD. Bob was a good AD, this was a tough year. OU is ranked #1 in football and raided Kansas for 2 of their best football recruits(Bell and the DE from Hutchinson). We need to put the lockdown on home talent.


Lance Hobson 2 years, 10 months ago

What happened to KU athletics? We once won a bowl game, went to the Final 4, and went to the College World Series in the same year.


murph 2 years, 10 months ago

This is some day to post that pathetic headline, Keegs! Check the news out of Joplin and get a grip.


kureader 2 years, 10 months ago

Leave it to Keegan to start the week off with a negative article about KU athletics. This would have been great (had it appeared in the Manhattan, Kansas newspaper).

There are certainly negative things to talk about, but they don't only apply to KU. One could write similar articles about MU, K-State, Iowa State, Colorado, and Oklahoma State. KU is clearly average or below average in most every sport, except basketball. The Texas programs are tough, there's no question. KU's over all athletic performance is disappointing, for sure, but I wouldn't say KU's year was "as bad as it gets".

Instead of being overly dramatic and negative, how about something constructive, Keegan? Do some research. Spend time with each sport, do a fair analysis of each program. Interview coaches and players. Compare us to other schools. Talk about the bad AND the good. You'll generate lots of good conversation and a greater appreciation for your work.

Sometimes, like today, your stuff is "about as bad as it gets".


jhawkrulz 2 years, 10 months ago

There are rumors that the BCS Power conferences are going to start paying athletes about $3-5000 per year on top of scholarships. The key will be for KU to be able to do this. This will give KU an advantage over the likes of Conference USA/MWC/WAC among others.

If we aren't able to do this, we will fall further behind.


Frightwig 2 years, 10 months ago

Given the choice between A) a top-notch basketball team, great sports facilities and doubled revenue vs B) weak income, lousy facilities and mediocre teams across the board, I'd take option "A".

How many of those complaining about the standings have actually attended a women's swim meet to support the team?


DB Ashton 2 years, 10 months ago

The problem is not that Lew did not deliver. He did exactly what he was hired to do. This state of affairs is the inevitable result of the unrealistic vision of an influential few. They know who they are. Some of them even admit they were delusional. Given geography, population, funding, tradition, equal opportunity and weather, eight out of twelve overall in this conference is a reasonable expectation. Basketball will continue to be sublime and we are never going to beat all those Texas kids sprinkled around the conference on the football field.


beenahawk 2 years, 10 months ago

When your "signature" hires have records like Gill and Bonnie, your AD was asleep at the wheel....maybe he was just getting drunk at the Wheel. In any event Lew left KU with a very tarnished image and horrific sports...


tmcats 2 years, 10 months ago

your new k-state athletics director should help with the step-back from big lew's era atop mt. oreo. emaw.


beenahawk 2 years, 10 months ago

But I was told so many times that Lew was the "answer"! Sing along with the Perkin's Alma Mater

Far beneath the bottom dollar Glorius to Lew Stands our hobbled Alma Mater Once known as KU Lift your wallets ever higher Reaching out to Lew Hail to thee our gracious savior Hail to BIG mannnnn Leeewwwww Rock Chalk Jayhawk Paaaayyyyyy Leeeewwwww


HawkfromHays 2 years, 10 months ago

We only went 1-2 in anything that matters. That's annoying but not so bad. Baseball would matter if they were any good.


Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 10 months ago

this is the ultimate slam to Lew's legacy. all the increase in money raised, the new mens baskeball seating plan, the donor increases, the MU-KU game at Arrowhead....all for naught.

that's truly what this means. it's all basically worthless, without the right people to execute a plan....and the right folks at the top being held accountable.

Lew has hired the womens and mens golf coach, the womens softball coach, and the womens basketball coach.....all of these programs are in the bottom half of the league. the football team had to start completely over....we'll see how that goes...but it reached the pinnacle and then fell off a cliff under Lew's watch.

all of the success from our non revenue sports occurred early or mid Lew's tenure....(sans track and field....they're still representing) when nothing he did affected the teams. womens soccer and VB, haven't qualified in years for the postseason...and our soccer team, which won the league in now a true bottom feeder. Baseball is all over the place...and it doesn't look good for the near or far future.

Mr. Zenger has his work cut out for him...and the league now is tougher sans Colorado, because now our schools will have to compete with the South a lot more...and that means trouble. so the bar is being raised, at a time when KU athletics can hardly get off the ground.

this is why it is sooo disappointing about mens basketball when they fall short in the NCAA tourney....everything in the world rides on them...KU fans have nothing to hang their hat on anymore, except this sport. and it's not fair to mens bball, but there it is.

if anyone wants to argue about how great an athletic director Lew Perkins was, the proof is in the pudding of the last two atrocious overall sports record, K-State runs rings around us...and they don't even compete in all the sports we do! Lew got what he wanted with this gig...a way to cash out at the end of his he wouldn't have to work another day in his life...and if he left KU sports in shambles, so be it.

mission accomplished.


John Boyle 2 years, 10 months ago

In darkest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. I see you Keegan!


Jim Williamson 2 years, 10 months ago

"It is time for Zenger and Gray-Little to step forward and share their vision for KU sports..."

If you enjoy KU sports, you don't want Gray-Little's vision. She hates athletics. They're a nuisance and, I'm sure, a corruption of the purity of higher education blah blah blah to her. I have no idea why she chose to work at schools like North Cacklacky and Kansas when she is so clearly anti-athletics.


Clarence Haynes 2 years, 10 months ago

Recruiting has become a serious problem. Recruiting in all sports seems to have fallen off and this includes losing too many athletes from our base (KC, Wichita, and other metro arears near KU).

Despite facilities enhancements in recent years, the limitation of financial resources to implement the "Olympic" facilities development plan for the smaller programs is likely affecting recruitment of more quality athIetes in such sports as track and field, softball, volleyball and soccer. Also, I sense that the ticket scandel and other events surrounding Lew Perkins' final days, might have given other schools the ability to disuade promising athletes from commiting to KU.

In effect, if he has not done so already, Zenger should make it a priority to sit down with the coaches and other staff to discern how best KU can can get back to a level of recruiting that makes KU competitive in the Big XII and nationally as characterized by njjawk earkier. Part of this includes re-addressing the Olympic facilities plan that might be extending the implementation period. Notwithstanding, the top priority should be to move the track out of Memorial Stadium to its envisioned area with the ability to have permanent and temporary seating (10,000 to 15,000) to accomodate the KU Relays. We then have the makings of a stadium complex fully dedicated to football (and graduation) and the preservation of a highly prestigious track ad field event.


Steve Gantz 2 years, 10 months ago

Man I wake up and see Missouri got slammed and it makes all of this small change compared to the people in Joplin.


FinalFinal 2 years, 10 months ago

We ran out football success because of image and people want to complain?

Self can give us 50% and bring more than the current level of coaching in Lawrence. And that is about the effort he gave to VCU and recruiting.

Fish spoils from the head down. Bernie needs to go.


justinryman 2 years, 10 months ago

Tough times never last. Tough people do.


vd 2 years, 11 months ago

IMO it doesn't matter. It matters only if revenue is affected. If tennis, volleyball, and swimming became national title contenders, would revenue increase? FB, WBB, and baseball improvement would increase revenue. I just don't want to be a KSU fan. "Our women's basketball team beat yours, Ha Ha." ....... "That's true, but how did you do in FB and MBB against us?"


Robert Brock 2 years, 11 months ago

I don't think that having a joke of a football team does a lot for a school's prestige. Maybe KU could pick it up a little there.


ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 11 months ago

Gee, it kind of sounds like what Ive been screaming for the past year. I would add the hiring of Zenger to the last place move list then put the blame on two groups of people.

First the board that governs high school athletics needs to adjust it's rules and allow more off season practice times for teams. We are doing local kids a disservice by not allowing them the same amount of team/practice time that other states do, hurting Kansas at the high school and colligate level.

Second, homers! You guys that show up or buy season tickets to these below average squads. Imagine totally empty football, volleyball, baseball, etc stadiums next year. Ya think that might send a message?!?


Steve Corder 2 years, 11 months ago

No Tom, it's not as bad as it gets. Basketball (do we really need to differentiate between men & women?) could end up not making the NCAAs and end up behind MU, KSU & Tx Tech in the conference. Now that is a gruesome year!


kcmlr 2 years, 11 months ago

If I understand correctly, the income that KU receives from athletics is in the upper third of the league. If this is the case, we clearly are not receiving our money's worth considering the pathetic results of our teams. The facilities for the non-revenue sports have improved, and I presume that most of this is due to poor coaching and recruiting. Perhaps we should hold our coaches more accountable and demand better results. This should be AD Zenger's priority!

On DD - it seems to me that he is just keeping his options open, and I doubt that he will ever attend KU. If he wanted to play for KU, he has had plenty of time to sign up, and I just don't see this happening. If he and his father are at odds on this, I'm not certain how effective he would be for us if he does not want to be here. I am alarmed about our men's BB recruiting the past 2-3 years. Supposedly, after our championship in 2008 and the upgrade in facilities; we were going to have a big upgrade in BB recruiting, but if anything, it has been worse. Perhaps it is time to consider replacing one or more of our recruiting assistants. We always seem to be in second or third place and/or just being used to increase a recruits profile.


Keith Richards 2 years, 11 months ago

Womens basketball is a joke. Mens baseball has fallen off over the last couple of years but has never been that competitive. Gill better start producing, by that I mean being competitive this year, even if we only win 2-3 games. Of course mens bball is fine.

Other than those sports who cares anyways.


panalytic 2 years, 11 months ago

Ouch, that was seriously painful.


IrishDaddy 2 years, 11 months ago

Wait, what happened to the powerhouse ku bowling team ? LMAO !!


ttoulouse 2 years, 11 months ago

Sad state of the department for sure. All coaches much be evaluated, including Self and Gill, as silly as it seems. Change needs to happen in all sports except Men's BBall, football, and baseball in my opinion. As much as I like Bechard, he has under-performed. We also need to equalize the number of men's and women's sports. I'm tired of the the inequality of opportunity, now in the other direction. Minimize and breed success. Then you can add the olympic sports back one by one.


blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 11 months ago

For all of you Lew Perkins apologists, what's your answer? For those of you who think that only two sports matter to the university, I can assure you that this is as bad as I've seen it since the early 80's.

Those piles of money have resulted in a joke of an athletic department. Don't get me wrong....I mean no disrespect to the young men and women competing for the Crimson and Blue. This is an athletic department problem. It needs to be fixed. Our university is too great to be so weak.


Janet Scott 2 years, 11 months ago

It is time for Zenger and Gray-Little to step forward and share their vision for KU sports with the JayhawkNation. What are the over arching goals and priorities? To finish first in all sports (not likely)? To finish in the top half of the Big 12 annually? To be a national force in basketball and football, with the "other" KU sports staffed and funded to be "competitive"? To be in the upper quartile of NCAA re student-athlete graduation rates? What? Silence in these areas is not leadership. The honeymoon is over for Dr. Zenger: it would be refreshing to hear his vision for KU sports.


Ashwin Rao 2 years, 11 months ago

Keegan, you are at your best while writing such morose text... It almost makes you believe the negative insights that you bring! Great job!


Benjamin Piehler 2 years, 11 months ago

The night is always darkest before the dawn! ......... seriously though, its late.


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