Sunday, April 29, 2018


Tom Keegan: Spring slump grows deeper by day for Kansas Athletics

New Kansas chancellor, Doug Girod, left, and KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, discuss with reporters plans for the athletic department's “Raise The Chant” fund-raising strategy, a facility-focused endeavor which focuses primarily on football and aims to raise $350 million over the course of five years.

New Kansas chancellor, Doug Girod, left, and KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, discuss with reporters plans for the athletic department's “Raise The Chant” fund-raising strategy, a facility-focused endeavor which focuses primarily on football and aims to raise $350 million over the course of five years.


The weekend that just concluded pretty much summarized how things have been going of late for Kansas Athletics.

Slump probably isn’t a strong enough word to capture the state of a department that outside of the blue-blood basketball program and a few other exceptions has as much trouble winning competitions as it does balancing its financial books.

In battles with red and black, KU keeps coming up on the wrong end of the ledger. Cincinnati and Texas Tech, a couple of schools with red-and-black uniforms, swept Kansas over the weekend, Cincinnati in baseball, the Red Raiders in softball.

The KU softball team is 0-15 in the Big 12, outscored in conference play by an average margin of 6.3-1.6. The Jayhawks are batting .193 with 30 walks and 76 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .352 with 70 walks and 46 strikeouts. Just three of the losses have been of the one-run variety. The team consistently is overmatched by Big 12 competition.

It’s not too early to face the reality that the only shot the baseball team (19-24 overall, 3-11 in the Big 12) has of making the NCAA tournament is with an improbable conference tournament title.The Jayhawks haven’t made the field since 2014.

The uphill effort to use the spring to build enthusiasm for a football program that has gone 3-33 under head coach David Beaty, grew steeper when the spring game was scratched in favor of a public practice that drew well over 1,000 spectators on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon.

Nine Big 12 schools field women’s golf programs and Kansas finished last, 19 strokes behind eighth-place Kansas State last at the conference championships in Dallas.

The spring kicked off in celebratory fashion with the Jayhawks defeating Duke in a classic overtime Elite Eight game, sending Bill Self to the Final Four for the third time.

Even that feel-good accomplishment had water thrown on it in the form of a federal indictment alleging that Adidas arranged for a parent of one KU player and a guardian of another to receive a combined $130,000. The indictment did not name the players, but included enough details to make it clear that Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa were the recruits referenced. They played in a combined 20 games, all by De Sousa. That works out to $6,500 per game.

Men’s and women’s track, tennis and men’s golf stand on solid ground, which is more than can be said for the financial trend of the department.

The first of a two-part Journal-World series by editor Chad Lawhorn on the financials of Kansas Athletics Inc. reported that from 2006 to 2017, the departments’ revenues have increased 68 percent, but expenses have grown a whopping 93 percent. Also, the report revealed that donors covered an operating deficit of more than $19 million that the department posted in 2017. That deficit was for day-to-day expenses, not construction projects.


Chris Condren 1 year, 6 months ago

With a few exceptions bottom feeding is a way of life for KU sports programs. Losing has been going on so long that is is tolerated and coddled. Almost no one is held accountable for poor performance. The fans are expected to support bad teams. Things are rotten from the top down.

Craig Carson 1 year, 6 months ago

I think KU could stomach the losing in every other sport in the football program was at least competing for Bowl games every other year..but overall, KU sports isnt good....I hope Self decides to stay another 10 years because or current AD is terrible at picking coaches

[''] 1 year, 6 months ago

Girod does not care one bit. His beta male brother Zenger has convinced him that facilities lead to winning. Not stellar coaching. Even though the only elite team KU Athletics has is the only one with an average HC, let alone a HOF one.

Joe Norgay 1 year, 6 months ago

KU has had winning programs in the past unlike what the poster above said. I remember during Bob Frederick’s tenure we were the first school to go to a bowl game, final four and college world series.

Zenger is a complete failure. Why Girod hasn’t fired him is beyond understanding. I honestly believe that Neeli Bendapudi would have made the move by now.

It especially makes no sense if there’s a sizable amount of people that think that if Beaty goes 1-3 or 0-4 to start the season that Zenger and Beaty will get the axe. If that’s the case, just fire Zenger now so the new AD has the chance to evaluate Beaty and transition to a new coach if need be.

Sam Crow 1 year, 6 months ago

Your very selective memory continues to make you look incredibly foolish.

Do you also remember that Fredericks hired two football coaches and both left KU with losing records, combined 67-81.

After nine years Mason left with a 47-54 record. After three years, he had only won 8 games total, winning only one in his first year, against a pre-Snyder KState. Know nothing people like you were calling for his head. In his fifth year, it finally kicked in and he won eight games and went to the Aloha Bowl. In his nine years, there were only four winning seasons.

Frederick’s other hire Terry Allen, went 20-33 in his five years.

You continue to embarrass yourself.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

Your selective memory is the problem. Mason inherited a mess, showed steady improvement, won more than twice as many games as Beaty has in three years (and Beaty had more opportunities, with a 12-game schedule) and was a proven head coach. No one was calling for Mason's head, even after the 3-win season in his third year.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

As an addendum.....Mason was 8-24 for a .333 winning percentage in three years. Beaty is 3-33 for a winning percentage of .09. I'm not a math major, but triple the winning percentage in the same amount of time isn't really comparative.

Mason also had 6 wins against P5 teams including K-State under Snyder, Mizzou and Oregon State.

Note: I did not factor Mason's tie into the percentage, as he had no chance to win that game in overtime, as Beaty did in his sole P5 win since coming to Kansas.

Sam Crow 1 year, 6 months ago

You obviously are not good at math.

The part of the equation you are missing is that Mason had a full contingent of scholarships to work with.

Of course, Beaty on the other hand, has been hamstrung by the scholarship numbers. It is tough to win playing a bunch of walk ons.

Yet, Mason still left KU with a losing record.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

Those statistics are poorly analyzed. I don't quite understand referencing an internal report to substantiate your article. To me this isn't good reporting or analyzing. Why did the Journal world use 2006 instead of a ten year period? Was 2006 used because it skewed one number. Why not use a more relevant time period like since Zenger arrived, since addidas signed, some random year is not good without explanation of why it was selected.

I don't think you should cite the article to support a theory that isn't supported in the original article.

Chad Lawhorn 1 year, 6 months ago

Hi Jeff: It is a fair question why I used 2006 numbers instead of 2007. The answer is when I began this project several months ago, the most recent audit available was 2016. So, through the Kansas Open Records Act, I requested the 2016 and the 2006 audits. I got those after some time and a required payment. Later in the process, the 2017 audit was completed and KU Athletics posted the document to its website. So I downloaded that and made the decision that I should report the most recently available numbers. As a result, I spent a few days going through the 2017 audit. However, the 2007 audit wasn't readily available (i.e. posted on KU's website.) I did not file a new open records request to get it. I felt like I was a little pressed on time and simply decided to go with an 11-year look back instead of a 10-year look back. I can assure you there was no ill-intent on my part. I still haven't seen the 2007 audit numbers. Thanks, Chad

Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

Pretty easy to see that it was a ten-year window, with an exception. Ten years is not an aberration, it's a decade.

Clarence Haynes 1 year, 6 months ago

Coverage of Spring and other minor sports limited by LJW.

[''] 1 year, 6 months ago

Schneider must be coaching baseball and softball now. Win against powder-puff pre-conf teams - get slaughtered in Big 12 play. Clean house.

Steve Corder 1 year, 6 months ago

I thought LJW rules for posting required use of the poster's actual name.

Brandi Hawkins 1 year, 6 months ago

I'm wondering. Do you actually watch the KU wbball games or just check the box score afterwards for a W or L? I think i already know the answer. Because if you actually watched you would know that they were actually competitive in some Big 12 games this year, winning 3. One was against a nationally ranked team. They led Texas at halftime. Many other games were competitive until later in the game. All this without the best player on the team who they lost to injury before the season started. Schneider has been here the same amount of time as Beaty and is lightyears ahead of him in showing progress.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

Brandi, I hope that you are right. This season will tell much of the tale. In coaching, you are what your record says you are. I've stated this before, Schneider - as compared to Beaty - is a proven winner as a head coach, even if it was at a lower level. But basketball is easier to turn around than football. The women's programs needs to double their Big 12 victories this season or you'll have a hard time convincing anyone that Schneider deserves another year.

[''] 1 year, 6 months ago

So we are giving half W's for almost wins now?

John Brazelton 1 year, 6 months ago

LJW Sports Department has gone from writing articles criticizing individual coaches to criticizing Athletic Department finances based in their opinion that poor football revenues are pulling down all athletic sports programs. While true, a winning football increases revenues, it also increase expenses. For example, KU football coaches are the lowest paid in the Big 12. If KU starts winning and being rewarded with bowl games, the Head Coach's salary, regardless of who he is, will go up to $5 million or more, as head coaches usually make much more than basketball coaches. Facility improvements need to be made regardless who the coaches are. Recruits today, as well as students, want to attend a university with all the creature comforts. The days are gone when Bear Bryant could take a bunch of would-be athletes and conduct a Marine-style boot camp out in a cow pasture some where and come up with winning teams. If donors can be found to pick-up the AD's shortfalls, then there is no short-term problem with KU's Athletic Department.

[''] 1 year, 6 months ago

There are many successful football programs that go to bowl games each year where the HC makes less than $3 mill each year. Boise State, Toledo and Utah just to name 3. Try again. Not a single top-100 football recruit will name facilities as a top-7 need or priority. Winning tradition, location nearest to home, bowl game appearances, NFL chances and education will always make top-5.

Matt Herrera 1 year, 6 months ago

"The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming."

  - Harvey Dent

David Mitchell 1 year, 6 months ago

Interesting how this article on KU athletics budget also appeared recently.

Dave Coen 1 year, 6 months ago

Does any other Big 12 athletic program get less bang for the buck than KU?

Steve Hillyer 1 year, 6 months ago

The administration and the fans have never read rally cared about the athletic dept outside of basketball and unfortunately that continues to be the case. Other than basketball KU has a mid major athletic dept and most people seem to be ok with this particularly Girod

[''] 1 year, 6 months ago

So we are giving half W's for almost wins now?

[''] 1 year, 6 months ago

Girod & Zenger (the Beta Brothers) are going to march us into the Mountain West Conference in 5 years. Mark my words. Nobody wants 12-72 football in their conference. Even Texas can't draw home crowds when KU football comes to town. Yes, they get an easy W, but only 50K show up to watch the boring blowout. We can't give free football tickets away to even draw 40K at home. KU basketball does not move the needle. Get ready to bring those fancy "Original Rules" to the Mountain West.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

It was clear after Year Two that Beaty had no clue what he was doing, and also clear that Zenger had no clue how to identify a solution at the HC position for football. Both should have been gone after that season. Beaty didn't earn a third season, got one, and produced a 12-game embarrassment.

There is already a lot of heat on Girod because he's not Neeli. If the football team doesn't upswing significantly this year, even Major Milktoast will have to make a move. The sooner, the better.

By the way, Tom, clever use of the Red and Black reference. This is why writers are writers and the rest of us are editors.

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