Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kansas Athletics Inc., not KU, paying for funeral of Robinson’s mother and cost of sending team to D.C.


When Kansas University basketball player Thomas Robinson faced a tragic situation, he was able to lean on teammates and KU’s athletics department for support, both emotionally and financially.

Robinson’s story has been well-told in various media outlets over the past few days. He lost his grandfather, his grandmother and his mother in the span of two weeks. His 9-year-old sister had to make the call Friday night to inform Robinson of his mother’s death.

Kansas Athletics Inc. received permission from the NCAA not just to fly the team to Washington, D.C., for Robinson’s mother’s funeral, which is Thursday, but also to pay all the expenses for the funeral itself.

Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director, said the NCAA makes certain allowances for athletes dealing with a loss in the family. In the past, Kansas Athletics has paid for athletes’ flights home for funerals of family members.

The funds will come out of Kansas Athletics’ general revenue, which comes from donors, television contract revenue and conference payouts, among other sources.

He said he couldn’t recall if the athletics department had paid for funeral expenses or flown an entire team to a funeral for another athlete’s family member before.

“Every circumstance is different,” he said. “In this case, this is the right thing to do. We realize that, and, fortunately, the NCAA does, too.”

Dealing with a death in the family is nothing unusual for many other KU students, too.

“It happens far more often than you or I would like,” said Jane Tuttle, assistant vice provost for student success.

For those students, the office of the vice provost for student success can offer some services.

While KU doesn’t pay funeral expenses for students, Tuttle said her office can help with notifying professors of the student’s absence, getting connected with grief counseling services at KU and seeing if students qualify for additional financial aid that will help them stay in school.

Some students, she said, still find that they will have to leave the university for a variety of reasons; some are overcome with grief, and others can’t afford to stay in school anymore.

For those students, she said, the office helps them with the withdrawal process, and makes sure they position themselves so that re-enrolling is as easy as possible, should they be able to return.

“We can’t promise the world,” Tuttle said, but the office does try to help each student find the best course of action for the long term.


bradynsdad 12 years ago

That is amazing news. I might have to change my outlook on the NCAA now. I just had to help pay for a funeral for my brother a few months back and it is expensive, even for a cheap funeral.

GridironHawk 12 years ago

Yea the NCAA definitely deserves some props on this one. They showed they do have the best interest of the athletes in mind (at least sometimes).

Jason Sinclair 12 years ago

Hey bradynsdad - sorry to hear about your brother's funeral. That is tough no matter which way you slice it. Hope you and your family are doing ok.

Chris Bruning 12 years ago

just seen kyle keller at the UT-OSU game. Remember the 10 what a sad day that was. GO OSU!!!!

madamhawk 12 years ago

Thank you KUAD and NCAA.

<p> has a nice piece on TRob and what's going on. I would post the link but I'm on my Blackberry and haven't figured how to do that quite yet.

My heart and mind are more at peace this evening knowing that the team is with TRob and Jayla right now.

I am a long time reader of this site but usually never post. I fully enjoy reading the posts and you all have taught me a lot more about the game than just W's and L's and I thank you for that. God bless Jayhawk Nation.

Redlandsjhawk 12 years ago

There's a blizzard in D.C. right now. Reagan and Dulles airport runways are closed due to heavy snowfall. Does anyone have any info on whether they made it in tonight? I hope everything goes okay and that they can make it back.

IlikeKUabuttton 12 years ago

They landed about an hour ago according the Justin Wesley's twitter.

notigers4me 12 years ago

I can't even imagine what is going on in T Robs mind and heart right now. It is too much to comprehend. Just imagine going through what he is going through and knowing that he is now responsible for his sister, what a gut wrenching thought. My prayers are definitely with T Rob right now.

westernkshawk 12 years ago

I understand that Jayla has a father who was recently released from prison. Is this correct information? I wonder if he might step in and muddy the water for whatever plans are being made for Jayla.

jhawkminer 12 years ago

Back in the day when I was on the hill I had a close friend pass on. I recall a department in the University contacting my professors on my behalf to inform them of what was occurring. It worked then for an anonymous engineering student like me, and I am glad to see it is working for T-Rob, and I am sure for any other student who is today on the hill. I believe it happens here not just because it is the right thing to do, but because we are Kansas. RCJHKU!

lbranchcrew 12 years ago

Tears come to my eyes every time I think about this whole tragic situation. One thing I would like to say after reading the article on ESPN and other posts. As die-hard fans of our respective institutions we all can get a little heated with one another as sports fans do. It is extremely uplifting to see several supporters of other schools show their support. Especially when many of the posters I have seen are UK and MU fans. I know we are enemies on the court but your support through this shows your class and humility. Thank you to everyone that has expressed their condolences here and on other posts. This is truly a time to shelve the rivalries and just be descent people. From what I have seen and read everyone has done a great job at this. Thank You!

Thomas, I am truly sorry for the losses you are forced to endure. Take all the time you need and come back to us when you are ready. Until then we will continue to pour our thoughts and prayers into the ethos in hopes that some good begins to come your way. Things will get better, stay strong, and don't lose sight of what is most important.

jayhawkmedic 12 years ago

That's a true family. Kuddos for KU Athletics Inc doing it right and going through NCAA first. That helps protect all the students, staff, etc. People need to realize that TRob is a kid and is now reponsible for his younger sister. Family will help take care of her but that's all she has left. What a trying time for him and the team. What sorrow to lose your grandma and mom in such a short time. Kuddos to the Mens BBall team for surrounding him and lifting him up. Many members of the team literally stayed up all night with TRob. My heart breaks for all of them. TRob will be in my prayers as he buries his mother this week.

KU1965 12 years ago

Thanks for posting this link.

REHawk 12 years ago

Truly fascinating, electronic magic zooming in on immediacy of the world about us: twitters and tweets!

Michael Bratisax 12 years ago

Sometimes, even the NCAA gets things right.

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