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Friday, July 15, 2005

Woodling

Woodling: Any KU violations likely null

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Mid-July musings while wondering if anybody missed the Royals during the All-Star break :

Ever since the NCAA punished the men's basketball program in 1988, Kansas University's athletic program has been squeaky clean.

But the squeaky may be coming off.

According to sources, KU officials plan to report a handful of violations to the NCAA either today or early next week. However, the violations reportedly are secondary in nature - in other words, unlikely to produce probation. What isn't clear is how many sports are involved.

Under NCAA bylaws, all member schools are required to report even the most minor rule-book violations.

¢ Wichita State baseball coach Gene Stephenson's flip-flop on the Oklahoma job was reminiscent of former Kansas football coach Glen Mason reneging on Georgia in 1995.

Yet Mason waited a week before he changed his mind, announcing his decision to remain on Mount Oread on the morning of the Aloha Bowl. By then Mason had lost his credibility, however, and he lasted just one more season at KU before bolting for Minnesota in 1997.

A more similar comparison to Stephenson's change of heart occurred in the late 1970s when Kansas State men's basketball coach Jack Hartman accepted the job at Oklahoma State, his alma mater, suffered cold feet on the flight back to Manhattan and remained at KSU.

¢ Now there are two Marchionys in the KU athletic department. MaryBeth Marchiony, wife of Jim Marchiony, KU's associate athletic director for external relations, started July 1 as one of seven associate directors for degree and career counseling.

Mrs. Marchiony's hiring expanded KU's academic support office from 12 to 13 full-time employees. Meanwhile, Jim Marchiony becomes the third member of the KU athletic department's senior staff with a relative on the payroll.

Senior associate AD's Larry Keating's daughter Katie is employed as a video production specialist. Brandon Macneill, athletic director Lew Perkins' son-in-law, is the department's associate AD for administration.

¢ Hal Bodley of USA Today wrote it: "Gene Budig obviously knew baseball or he wouldn't have been American League president (1994-99). Budig also claims to know a thing or two about basketball. As chancellor at Kansas University for 13 years, Budig was instrumental in hiring two of the most successful basketball coaches around - Roy Williams and Larry Brown."

Budig and Williams have remained close over the years - so close that both own homes just a couple of blocks apart in Isle of Palms, S.C. Budig, 66, reports that he and his wife Gretchen plan to live full-time in South Carolina starting in November. They've been living in Princeton, N.J., since they departed Lawrence.

¢ How disappointing was Missouri's men's basketball attendance last season? Playing in a brand-new arena, the Tigers averaged just 9,773 fans a game. Compare that to Wichita State. Playing in a refurbished arena, the Shockers' average crowd was 10,325.

Kansas, in case you were wondering, ranked eighth nationally in men's basketball attendance with its all-sellout average crowd of 16,300. Interestingly, KU coach Bill Self's former school was seventh. Illinois averaged 16,387 fans per game.

¢ I'm no fan of extending seasons, but the Big 12 Conference's decision to shift Kansas University's football finale against Iowa State from Nov. 19 to Nov. 26 for television looms as a boon if the Jayhawks need a victory to become bowl eligible, because it would give them a precious extra week to prepare.

However, if the game is meaningless, Memorial Stadium could be a tomb, particularly if the weather is bad. By the way, Iowa State's football game against Missouri last year also was shifted to the Thanksgiving weekend. Are they trying to tell the Cyclones they're turkeys?

¢ At first glance, you would expect KU to move its men's basketball game against Idaho State on Nov. 18 to Saturday the 19th with the football team now idle on that date, but Bill Self would be nuts to make the long flight to Hawaii on Sunday for the Jayhawks' Monday opener against Arizona in the Maui Invitational.

¢ He'll be the first coach to face the print media, so KU's Mark Mangino should have the rapt attention of the sports writers who attend next week's Big 12 Conference three-day football media session in Houston.

Not so Texas coach Mack Brown, who is No. 12 on the list and won't face the writers until more than 46 hours after Mangino. By then, the scribes no doubt will be glassy-eyed from the relentless bombardment of coach-speak.

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