Thursday, August 23, 2012


KU facilities fix lies in West Campus


When you’re just about the oldest person in the room and you’re the one making the rookie mistake, it doesn’t exactly inflate the ego.

Still conditioned by my early education at the hands (the ones that bashed my head into a concrete wall) of a sadistic nun, I tend to raise my hand in a crowded news conference, instead of shouting out a question, but that wasn’t my rookie mistake. That came when it finally was my turn Thursday.

Instead of being as specific as possible, I used the word “facilities” as a euphemism for “modern toilet,” and Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby understandably thought I meant stadiums, etc., when I asked him to compare Kansas University’s to those at Stanford, where he served as athletic director.

A better way to ask the question: Did you know that when KU softball’s starting pitcher needs relief — there I go again; I don’t mean help from the bullpen, I mean bladder relief — she must walk into a trailer and use what amounts to a glorified port-o-potty?

True story, but it’s kept a secret because the more opposing coaches who know that, the tougher recruiting becomes for KU’s coaches. They all know it anyway, and most of them use it in recruiting.

Here’s my proposal for how KU can eliminate that facilities embarrassment, save the city of Lawrence a bundle and help two other sports: Sell to the city a big enough piece of West Campus to build the proposed city recreation center and KU soccer and track and field venues at a bargain-basement price and use some of the proceeds to bring softball facilities into the 21st century.

Building it at the proposed site on the western edge of town would require a significant infrastructure expense. Building on a portion of what now is KU property would enable the city to tie into existing infrastructure.

Here’s why it’s so important the city owns the land: The NCAA won’t allow schools to serve as on-campus hosts for AAU basketball tournaments. Having them in Lawrence helps recruiting because players and parents check out the campus and town and fall in love. To a shockingly large extent, the better the team performs, the better the town feels emotionally.

Here’s why putting the new sports complex next to campus makes more sense — and many questions still need to be answered to see if it makes sense financially — than on the edge of town: KU’s soccer and track and field athletes won’t feel like they’re being sent to sit in the corner.


ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 1 month ago

Better idea, just axe all three of those programs!!!

Matt Kenton 10 years, 1 month ago

It almost sounds like an email written to a friend. Just an outpouring of thoughts and then, click sent!

LAJayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

"Also, why were you asking Bowlsby to compare KU's toilets to Stanford's? That's a weird thing to ask."

I seriously laughed out loud. I didn't think about the fact that he was trying to ask that question. Out of all the things to ask, comparing toilets...... ridiculously hilarious.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago


"The NCAA won’t allow schools to serve as on-campus hosts for AAU basketball tournaments. Having them in Lawrence helps recruiting because players and parents check out the campus and town and fall in love. To a shockingly large extent, the better the team performs, the better the town feels emotionally. "

Does he mean how the KU Men's basketball team performs, the better the town feels? I don't mean to be obtuse here, but that is a significantly confusing sentence. Making the subject clear there would have been much appreciated....

ltownatrain 10 years, 1 month ago

Or maybe just maybe KU should try and fill the 50000 seats they have now and keep them filled for an entire game before we make a larger stadium and then look even more pathetic when there's an extra 25000 empty seats.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Build a stadium with 60,000 that can have 12,000 seats easily added. 50,000 is too small. During the later Mangino years, we were filling that thing every week. If we are going to be a big program, we need to think bigger than 50k.

Ryan Woods 10 years, 1 month ago

Just some bleachers?? We have a track and field athlete who just brought home an Olympic Gold Medal representing our country and our school. The women's track and field team has the opportunity to win a national championship next year. In 2016 Rio, at least Dixon and Geubelle will be representing our country. For a school that prides ourselves on great traditions, a lot of fans don't seem to get it. Jim Ryun ran on that track. KU's track and field team is finally building back up to its best in the nation tradition and you just want to put bleachers out there? Flat out disrespectful.disrespectful.

KGphoto 10 years, 1 month ago

That makes a lot of sense. In 1999 KU spent $26 million to renovate the stadium. press box, video board, infrastructure etc. Then in 2008 KU spent $33 million to create the nations best football facilities. Now you want to move the games across campus? Hilarious. You want to throw away $59 million in renovations in order to build a new $250 million stadium.

You won't shut up about Gill's contract, but this you think is a great idea?

No way Zenger is even considering that. You lose, DB.

Michael Pannacciulli 10 years, 1 month ago

This is the revelation? Haven't we all said to use West Campus for certain sports forever? But giving the land to the city? No. Won't happen.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Who's telling all these lies in the West Campus that had to be fixed?

And why is Facilities fixing them? Shouldn't it be Maintenance?

JayDocMD 10 years, 1 month ago

Ha. I thought the same thing when I read the headline nuleaf. I guess the West Campus can't handle the truth.

huskerpower 10 years, 1 month ago

Keegan is typically pretty bad and to be honest, I only clicked on this link because I couldn't understand the title after staring at it for five minutes trying to make sense of it...

But my gawd the only thing worse than the title is the article itself. One of the worst pieces of journalism I have ever seen and that's saying something....

741hawk 10 years, 1 month ago

The only facility I think we should be concerned about right now is Memorial Stadium . . . part of fixing the football program. A successful football program will then pay for facility upgrades in other sports. First things First. "TEAR OUT THE TRACK!"

ku_tailg8 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm with you. That track around the stadium makes us look like division II. Although the track team needs a place, they can do fine at Lawrence High while we make our stadium D-I worthy.

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 1 month ago

Doubt that it would be adequate for the U Relays!

milehighhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

No idea what the first half of the column was intended to say.

This is basically a 200-word piece.

James Kiernan 10 years, 1 month ago

Like milehighhawk, I started the first sentence, got confused, and skipped to paragraph 3. I will disagree with Keegan that moving the facilities will help for basketball. Kansas fans need a new mindset-

Facilities and Athletic Department directional decisions need to be FOOTBALL oriented. Basketball is on autopilot. The facilities are top-notch and are already in the works for additions. KUAD needs to address Memorial Stadium issues and not be concerned with where track and field, softball, etc is going to pee.

texashawk10 10 years, 1 month ago

Track and field is the problem for football right now. There cannot be any kind of major renovations to Memorial Stadium until track and field gets new facilities because tearing out the track in Memorial Stadium is going to be one of the renovations done when they begin.

James Kiernan 10 years, 1 month ago

I guess my point was (or at least my interpretation of this) was that building a track on W. Campus would benefit basketball. I just think KU fans need to have more of a vested interest in Football in addition to Basketball (co-chairs if you will). One would think the last 2 summers would teach a few lessons on its importance.

average 10 years, 1 month ago

Even Keegs should get that KU Athletics, and sporting in general, is not what's driving the bus across the SLT. It's about incorporating hundreds of acres of speculative cornfield, bypassing miles of not-yet-fully-fleshed west Lawrence.

The 'gift' land (aka, an inconvenient 30 acres, half a mile from 6th and hemmed in by the SLT on the east) doesn't have room for any form of softball facility, let alone something NCAA level with real locker rooms. Nor room for substantial soccer facilities that aren't dwarfed by at least 5 other soccer complexes in the greater KC area (with two more much larger complexes in the works). We get a large fieldhouse/center. On 25-30 acres. Which could be sited in a number of places within the current footprint of Lawrence. But, again, sports are mostly just along for the ride here. Something to put on the glossy brochures.

EJ Mulligan 10 years, 1 month ago

I think Keegan's point here (which maybe he doesn't make so clearly) is that he's trying to propose that KU build athletics and facilities on KU's West Campus instead of the city's current dalliance with building what they're calling a "rec center" way out west of town.

With that being the case, I favor Keegan's idea instead of the city's silly way-out-west thing, if (and only if) the finances aren't astronomical -- which so far, they are. The biggest growth in Lawrence right now is east of Iowa, and much of it is east of Mass. St. A facility on West Campus serves both KU and the city much better than the current proposal.

Ron Prichard 10 years, 1 month ago

I had the hardest time trying to figure out this article. I'm still not sure if it made sense or even made a point. I do think there are some issues with trying to put the track on land owned by the University. It has something to do with being able to get regional and national meets, I believe. I also believe there is something about proximity to the major highways, etc, so the off-campus location actually works better for the city and KU. I'm not sure how that has anything to do with AAU basketball, and it would have been nice if Keegan actually took a little time to tie that together.

I do understand the need for the city rec center to be on land owned by the city. So, that rules out west campus, because KU will not sell that to the city. Somewhere down the road KU may need that land for something. Heck, I remember campus before they added the Lied Center. Who knows what future needs there may be for expansion on west campus.

If the city is willing to provide the land and start up for the proposed recreation center, and KU is willing to provide a top notch track facility to go along with it, then by all means move forward. It would be a bit of a bummer to be so far from campus, but it's not anything different than what the golf, tennis or rowing teams have to deal with. I think cross country is also at some other location, but I could be wrong about that.

One thing is for certain. KU will not move forward with tearing out the track at Memorial Stadium without first building a track facility somewhere else, nor should they. Yes, we need to improve our football program, which in turn should generate more money, prestige, etc. However, you don't do it at the expense of your other programs. There is a way to get it all done, it will just take a little time. I would love to see the city and KU move forward quickly on the recreation center and track facility so we can move forward with renovating the stadium. At the same time, for the stadium to be renovated KU will need to draw up plans, secure funding, etc. So, assuming the rec/track facility gets the go ahead in the near future, I think we will hear something about stadium renovation fundraising/design in the next year.

Just my two cents, so take it for what it's worth.

squawkhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Lies? I thought we got rid of the lairs and cheaters in the AD dept.

James Kiernan 10 years, 1 month ago

Much of the funding could easily come from the $20MM the dept. receives from the TV deals in order to upgrade facilities. It does an AD no good to have tons of money in the bank rather than build the facilities that attract top coaches and athletes, which translate into better chances to win championships. Championships get people like us to open their wallets even more.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 1 month ago

Use of the # symbol at the beginning of a post...always gets big!

LAJayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

You can also use HTML code like this if you want to do fun stuff.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

johnsont1 10 years, 1 month ago

Was this actually published in the newspaper?

Nick Cole 10 years, 1 month ago

In this order...

  1. Build a track facility similar to Hayward Field at Oregon next to AFH and the baseball field. Something like this:

  2. Completely renovate Memorial Stadium (including removing the track) once the new track facility is built. I won't even go into everything that I think needs to be done to Memorial to make it a suitable facility for a BCS team. The list is too long.

  3. Completely renovate the baseball/softball fields.

Boom, roasted!

clevelandjayhawker 10 years, 1 month ago

I wish they would put ideas to a vote/let designs be submitted. I really enjoyed the 3d model someone posted 3 weeks ago or so (took out the track, lowered the feild and had high limestone walls wish "KANSAS" and "JAYHAWKS" on the limestone)

Nick Cole 10 years, 1 month ago

Can you find that post and link it to this. Would love to see it. Sounds like what I had envisioned.

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