Friday, August 7, 2009

KU could dominate in area


Talk about being blessed with a genie in a jug and the stopper in your hand: That’s the enviable status of the Kansas University athletic program as 2009-10 approaches.

The Kansas City Royals are en route to a 100-loss baseball season; even mainstays such as Zack Greinke are having trouble working miracles. Don’t expect Royals fans to shift to the T-Bones.

The restructuring Kansas City Chiefs will have a terrific football season if they win as many as six games. K.C. soccer remains as dull and inefficient as ever, and there are no hockey or basketball franchises to create box office and media stampedes. UMKC won’t see any women throwing house keys to Kangaroos from the balcony at Municipal Auditorium.

So here sit the Kansas Jayhawks, strong contenders for the Big 12 North football title, while the basketball team is favored by many to win two more league championships, then a national crown. If Bonnie Henrickson and the KU basketball women can pick up where they left off after that 16,000-plus fan finale last season, the sports spotlight will feature Crimson and Blue activities more than it has for a long time.

Kansas is in a tremendous position to rule the Midlands and soak up the ongoing coverage.

Missouri cannot be as potent in football as in 2008. The Tiger basketball team will be good again, but not as powerful as when it had the likes of Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll. The consensus is that MU will finish behind Kansas and Nebraska in the northern football division. MU really likes its basketball newcomers and thinks its holdovers can show well. But if Kansas doesn’t dominate the two-state court scene from start to finish, something will be way out of whack.

Jayhawk fans have the delightful treat of bubbling, justifiably, about both football AND basketball at the “basketball school.”

Kansas State lost quarterback Josh Freeman and is trying to recycle Bill Snyder as football coach after a three-season Ron Prince disaster. There is static about whether Snyder was overpaid from past alignments, and there is that obscene deal where Prince is due to rip off KSU for $3.2 million during the 2015-20 period. KSU’s new president and athletic director, along with Snyder, will have many more sleepless nights trying to unravel all that costly fol-de-rol as well as win a lot more football games than Prince could (17-20).

Word is that K-State faithful are returning to the fold to help overcome the debacles of the recent past, but will the sagging economy allow enough of them to provide the high-dollar amounts needed for a major renaissance? Kansas State built up a tremendous wealth of Purple Pride in Snyder’s first 17 years as coach. Can that once-powerful force be reconstituted?

Wildcat basketball under Fierce Frank Martin has visions of Big 12 and national contention with touted new guys and pretty decent holdovers. But just as with Missouri, KSU quite likely will be playing second- or third-fiddle as Bill Self’s Jayhawks soar to new heights.

KU’s Henrickson is on the spot this year to catch K-State and prove she deserves her generous $630,000 salary package. Now or never? Just as KU is expected by many to win the North in football, so is Bonnie under pressure for an overdue sweep against K-State and Mizzou.

Yet right now, Kansas is the equivalent of the area’s 800-pound gorilla in the three big sports, and if it maintains strong control of that cork in its jug of success, KU and its fans will have one of their greatest years to date.

Ain’t we got fun?


hometownhawk 13 years, 4 months ago

I will be the first to say that this is the best Mayer article I've read in years. Stayed on topic and topic actually applies to current events. No references to prehistory. Nicely done, Grandpa Bill!

Billy Derringer 13 years, 4 months ago


John Mueller 13 years, 4 months ago

I thought it was terrific as well.

But, when are all of you Bill haters (and I know there's a few that post here) going to realize that part of his contribution is to talk about the past?

There are alot of GREAT Jayhawk athletes, coaches and teams from the past that are worthy of tribute, mention and some folks enjoy to reminisce about the past glory days of KU lore.

Unless you have gone to KU during the Mangino era, and you happen to be a big KU football fan, the honest truth is you have to talk about the 60's to talk about Kansas greatness on the gridiron. (With apologies to my boyhood hero, Nolan Cromwell. And very few of his contemporaries, Laverne Smith, Billy Campfield, Mike Butler, Terry Beeson, Emmitt Edwards, Kurt Knoff, etc.)

So, anyway, get off the guy. If you don't like his work, don't read it. But, there is much room under the banner of this great university for both the young and the old to love our Jayhawks.

Btw, Bill. I would really enjoy a piece now and then on some of these guys.

Where in the world is Billy Campfield? I hope he's well.

You don't have to have a twitter address to be a Jayhawk.

Dyrk Dugan 13 years, 4 months ago

29 days to kickoff. let's just get 'er goin!!!

amatxjayhawk 13 years, 4 months ago

Well said springtxhawk. (Tradition definition: The transmission of customs and beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.)

You just don't build tradition on the stuff that happened in one's lifetime and certainly not on the last ten years. Bill brings a lot to the table.

Rivethead 13 years, 4 months ago


Did you just sleep through the Mason years or what? Coach Mason had some damn fine football teams in the early 90's - no need to go all the way back to the 60's for football glory.

Coach Mason even had this kid named "Tuxedo" Tony Sands running the football. One season Tony ran it so much he set an NCAA rushing record - and against MU no less. Coach Mason also had this kid named Dana Stubblefield who was a beast on D - kid went on to become an NFL rookie of the year and win a Super Bowl. Dana used to line up against this other monster named Gilbert Bown. Gil also went on to win a Super Bowl. And then there was the DB named Kwamie Lassiter who also had a solid NFL career. And then there was.....well you get the picture.

I agree with everything you said, but your slight against the Mason years (when I was a student) could not go unregistered!

Chad Dexter 13 years, 4 months ago

I'm not a Bill Mayer hater, but I would not call this article terrific. He changes from football to basketball and then back to football, all in the same sentence. Hardly what I would consider quality work.

Kevin Long 13 years, 4 months ago

I hear ya Revethead. They had some very good teams in the early 90's. The problem was that nobody was behind them! It's easy to forget if your fans don't even come out to watch. Going to a game now is way better than those of the past. Still a long way to go however.

Kman_blue 13 years, 4 months ago

For those looking at the evony ad women, avoid clicking on it at all costs! That game is a thinly veiled gold mining operation out of China and those women are mostly copied images from lingerie catalogs and have nothing to do with evony. Read more about it here: and here:

As for the article, it's a great time to be a Jayhawk! We should come to expect high caliber teams in both football and basketball every year. I'm not in any hurry to return to the Bob Valesente or Terry Allen years. Our fan base needs to step up this year, to match the high quality teams we have in football, men's basketball, and women's basketball this year. Of course the men's basketball support will be there, but lets fill up Memorial from kick-off to final whistle, not just the first half, and put rears in the seats for the women's basketball games too!

John Mueller 13 years, 4 months ago


Fair enough, but in the interest of brevity (not a gift), I think I referred to gridiron greatness. I was a season ticket holder for a few Mason years and as a huge KU football fan, I will take every single bowl game.

But absent the one pretty good team when we had two NFL d lineman, I would call the Mason years mediocre compared to the 60's and the current heady days of Coach Mangino.

In the history of KU football, Glen Mason probably deserves "Honorable Mention" status, but obviously not on the level of Mangino, Pepper, etc.

If June Henley goes over the goal line, or was he even on the field for the failed 2 pt conversion?, the Mason legacy would have been significantly enhanced.

It's all about perspective. I guess we've been blessed with the good fortune to "raise the bar" thanks to Coach Mangino.

I think I also tend to discount Mason because of his bizarre almost exit, exit.

Anyway, good point.

jaybate 13 years, 4 months ago

I think Bill narrowed his scope too much. He could have added:

Uncle Sam has not been doing very well in Iraq and Afghanistan for nine years and appears destined for more of the same, and military deaths in these theaters topped 5000, so KU fans are not apt to be drawn away from basketball games to watch war coverage.

The Kansas state government is in a budget crisis it can't resolve and poses little threat to KU's fans opting to watch political coverage.

General Motors and Chrysler appear in the dumper and are unlikely to open new plants in the midwest anytime soon, so KU fans will not stop to cheer for these two corporate shrinking giants. They will be fully focused on KU sports.

A lot of unemployed persons in the Midwest appear unlikely to get new jobs this year, so there will also be nothing for KU fans to cheer about and be distracted by in regards to employment.

Oh, wait, folks with surviving stock portfolios in the middle of the first depression with a high stock market, may tune out of a few KU games to watch Jim Cramer.

Naw, surely not.


John Randall 13 years, 4 months ago

feedback71 (anonymous) says... I'm not a Bill Mayer hater, but I would not call this article terrific. He changes from football to basketball and then back to football, all in the same sentence. Hardly what I would consider quality work.

News Flash: The University of Kansas (KU) fields teams in a good many different sports.

In this article on domination of the area in terms of sports followings, Mayer was focused on those teams which provide revenue. I am disappointed in SO FEW teams being discussed. More than the 'big 3' sports would be perfectly appropriate -- baseball going 2-2 in playoffs, both volleyball teams at least competive, T&F approaching Bill Easton standards, . . . and at least a dozen more.

Your elitist crap about one aspect of the athletic program is just that -- elitist crap.

Eric Schneider 13 years, 4 months ago

Rivethead- I was also a student during the Mason years so let me add this. He was a moron. He was a very good recruiter, but those teams underachieved. He also made some of the dumbest decisions I've ever seen. Take the Nebraska game when June Henley was a Freshman. He shreds the Black Shirts for over 200 yards and then on the 2-point conversion to win the game Mason pulls him to have Preston pass. And then in 1994 he pulls Mark Williams redshirt off to play UAB (72-0). So we only had one year of Williams. Who just happened to be Big 8 offensive player of the year over Tommie Frazier. I was good friends with several of the players, including Kwamie, and while he never said anything one way or the other, the rest of them didn't have much positive to say about Mason.

ChicagoJHawk 13 years, 4 months ago

Wow, Mayer is a KU fan now! He actually said something positive about KU for once, and he didn't transition on to 3 or 4 different topics! It's almost like he's starting to learn how to write. Hell must be frozen over with pigs flying!

ChicagoJHawk 13 years, 4 months ago

I just skimmed through the article the first time, nevermind, he does actually transition back and forth a lot. Forget what I said, Bill Mayer you suck. You're fired!

KanKu 13 years, 4 months ago

labbadadda or bla-bla bla-bla, whatever your name is, i hope this article made you happy because football was mentioned.

Now, LJW, please stop talking about football on the basketball tab (very sarcastic for the crybabies).....

jaybate 13 years, 4 months ago

Could we please stop calling Bill names?

Just make fun of his writing, or analyse it, or enjoy it, or skip it.

He led beautifully:

"Talk about being blessed with a genie in a jug and the stopper in your hand: That’s the enviable status of the Kansas University athletic program as 2009-10 approaches."

But, as is his way, he began to wander, and then he got lost.

Hmm, wait a minute. Maybe I am going to have to revise my estimation of Mr. Mayer's work.

I just got done reading Henry Miller's late-in-life autobiography--the only time to write such things--and noticed that Miller's sentences always started in one direction, and then bent in a surprising direction. It was, I finally understood, Miller's writing style; recognition of which, I am ashamed to say, had escaped me until now.

Miller said his writing style was organic to his way of thinking. He said he could not write linear prose like a Hemingway even if he had wanted to, not and get at any authenticity in himself.

Critics have referred to Miller's prose as surrealistic. Miller was in fact for a time part of the surrealistic movement in art of his time.

But Miller said his writing ultimately was just him.

Now, back to Bill.

Bill seems goofy, but he also seems to be being just him. And just him consistently gets a rise out of many. For a time, I thought it was because he was trying to get clicks, probably out of some cynicism, or perhaps due to needing the work.

jaybate 13 years, 4 months ago

But, now, I am going to posit here that Bill Mayer's prose style and story telling are utterly authentic and organic to the way he thinks, and that he gets a rise out of readers, because society has finally caught up with where he has been all along, and perhaps he is making a comment, the way artists do, upon the world simply by emphasizing the scalar self-similarity between his mind and the world at large, between each of our minds, and the world at large.

Bill always starts with a very strong, intriguing and lucid lead.

And then Bill always goes astray. He loses continuity. Almost seems confused. Then finishes by seemingly throwing up his hands and saying, "Oh, what the heck, no one can really understand anything about this crazy world, anyway." And then he stops.

This repetitive organic descent from lucidity into confusion resonates with most of us. We all experience it frequently in every day life. Yes, I get what my wife is trying to tell me. No, now I am not sure. I have no idea what she is telling me. She is completely irrational. Oh, what the heck, I give up. Just do whatever she wants and forget about it. It is how, if we are honest with ourselves, we see and experience so much of life.

At first, situations seem simple. It seems clear what is going on, or what is going wrong, but upon careful analysis, it becomes clear we have no frigging idea what is going on, or going wrong. We went to Iraq to get even, get their oil and rid them of a dictator we had installed that got off his leash. Now, 9 years later, and 8 years and 49 weeks after misssion accomplished, after bringing free markets and democracy, after erasing Fallujah, after torturing tens of thousands, after death squads, after winning hearts and minds, after withdrawing our troops into siege bases, after false flag bombings to incite civil war, after tens of thousands of dead and wounded, etc., what the !@#$%^ is going on there? Who can make any sense of it at all? What is Iraq about after all these years? What was it ever about? To quote Alec Guinness at the end of The Bridge on the River Qwai, "Madness, all madness!"

jaybate 13 years, 4 months ago

In the end, Bill seems to have tapped into a realization that even the simplest events, say dribbling a basketball, elude rational explanation.

I am going to coin a phrase for this writing style of Bill's: Progressive Confusionist. His style constantly captures the wonder of initial insight followed by slow, inexorable descent into confusion about things and about life.

I recommend an English professor over at KU, one of those guys who has never had to make stuff up every day for a deadline in order to make a living, enlist a graduate student to dissertate on Bill Mayer.

We have here in our midst either a minor genius, or an aging man grappling heroically, but rather Quixotically (but certainly no more so than any of us) with online journalism and the existential crisis of old age.

I don't know if what Bill is doing would work at book length, but it is working here.

Nothing is stranger, nor more wonderous, than a human being writing authentically, no matter how goofy it sometimes seems.

ParisHawk 13 years, 4 months ago


To quote Alec Guinness at the end of The Bridge on the River Qwai, "Madness, all madness!"

It wasn't Alec Guinness, it was James Donald as Major Clipton.

Alec Guinness's last words were those of all KU recruits who signed with other schools: "What have I done?"

jaybate 13 years, 3 months ago


This is stunning and thank you for the correction.

I am checking out the movie asap and watching it again.

It is one of my all time favorites and I don't wish to walk around with a false recollection in my memory banks another day.

Billy Derringer 13 years, 3 months ago


jaybate 13 years, 3 months ago


Good to hear from you again.

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