Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Delayed Big 12 schedule keeps fans, schools guessing


The office phone of Kansas University athletic administrator Larry Keating rings, and visions of a thick, buttery slice of wedding cake, airborne rice, Adam Sandler on the microphone, a beaming bride walking down the aisle — her father on her arm, orange blossoms in her hands — begin to dance in Keating’s head, by now a Pavlovian response after almost nine years on the job.

That might be a slight exaggeration, but Keating does the scheduling for football and men’s and women’s basketball, and he is who a surprising number of people decide to call first when planning the big day.

He has fielded calls that start something like this: “My daughter is getting married a year from this coming fall, and I wanted to make sure there isn’t a football game that day.”

Sometimes such a call comes before the schedule is finalized, at which point Keating can see the voice on the other end leaning forward and cupping his hand on the side of his mouth before saying, “I know you know the schedule, so can you just tell me? I won’t tell anybody.”

Keating might want to employ an answering service because today is the day the Big 12 must turn in its anticipated schedule to the TV networks, but here’s the problem: That schedule won’t be made public until West Virginia completes negotiations with the Big East to be freed to join the Big 12. No agreement, no public schedule.

The smart money says that within a week or so, West Virginia will have joined the conference officially. When that happens, the schedule goes public and more than just wedding planners can line up events that in a typical year would have been secured months ago.

“The student union building does functions that depend on whether the team is home or away,” Keating said. “The alumni house, endowment, board meetings for the school of engineering, the school of business, for example. Alumni meetings. Band day. Homecoming weekend.”

Keating also pointed to things such as booking hotels for the team — a duty handled by director of football operations George Matsakis — which are also behind schedule.

In the unlikely event West Virginia must stay in the Big East next school year, each Big 12 school would have to line up a replacement team on the schedule and at this late date, not many are available.

“Our fans, too,” Keating said. “As soon as the schedule is out, the first thing some fans do is book a hotel room for the road games.”

Keating, by the way, also handles apparel contracts for the athletic department. KU’s contract with Adidas runs through June 30, 2013.

Keating said negotiations usually begin 13 or 14 months before that so that the athletic departments have time to order uniforms and equipment for the next school year. The existing apparel company has exclusive negotiating rights for a specified period of time, typically in the 30-to-60-day range. If no agreement on an extension is reached within that time, another company, such as Nike, for example, can enter the conversation. Coaches used to get money from such deals, but in almost all cases now, including at KU, the money all goes to the school.


kusportsdotcom 10 years, 10 months ago

It'd be sweet to see us go back to Nike. But don't get me wrong, Adidas gives KU way more gear than Nike ever did. I worked in the equipment room in Wagnon for the past couple years, and I can tell you, everyone from men's basketball players on down to the manager for the swimming team got hooked up with more gear than they could ever need. That wasn't the case when Nike was the sponsor. But, it would still be cool to see us part of Nike again. As long as it's not something like Reebok or Under Armour..

kupride4u 10 years, 10 months ago

Disagree, I would prefer Adidas over Nike. Adidas is getting to be almost as popular as Nike anymore so I really don't think it has any negative affect in recruiting. I kind of like being different from other schools. There aren't a lot that are adidas sponsored. In fact, with A&M leaving and Nebraska gone, that leaves KU and Baylor as the only ones in the league.

BillSelf4Prez 10 years, 10 months ago

Baylor is Nike in Football and Adidas in Basketball.

rockchalk_dpu 10 years, 10 months ago

I agree. Part of that is based off the ugly stuff Nike has been turning out the past few years. The screen print on the back of the basketball jerseys really just makes no sense because there is no way to see it clearly and Nike has not really posted a pic of the back to inform fans what's on there. The football jerseys aren't as bad, but I'd much rather stay an adidas school because of the money and the fact that each sport is covered.

baldwinjhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Nike basketball jerseys are just plain ugly! Those screen prints on the back look like sweat. I like adidas gear.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I'd really like to see us pick up the Sears Garanimals line for our uniforms. They're affordable, easy to mix and match and very durable.

I'd definitely go with Converse for the shoes. High top Chuck Taylor style - add cleats for football.

142466 10 years, 10 months ago

I totally agree on the Converse shoes. Converse are a great look both on and off the court, or in the court room.

Converse All-Star high tops are still the gold standard. Many other brands and styles have come and gone since the 1960's, but none have ever surpassed the original All-Stars. They are comparable to Greek sculpture, in that respect.

Sad to say that my 1960's era All-stars have just recently worn out. I've been searching on ebay for a replacement pair, but so far no luck. The problem is that I'll only accept a pair that has no odor.

ku_tailg8 10 years, 10 months ago

I agree. I don't have an issue with the gear that is being sold or the uniforms the team wears. The biggest thing that stands out to me is the ridiculous shoes we wear. Adidas is a shoe company, you would think they would come out with a decent looking shoe. I wouldn't wear our gameday shoes even if they were free. There is something about looking good and feeling good that translates into good play. I wouldn't feel good about wearing those clown shoes with an otherwise slick looking uniform.

Another thing, these guys grow up idolizing NBA players who wear Nike shoes. If a shoe keeps a guy from coming to KU then we probably don't want him but it is something recruits think about.

LogicMan 10 years, 10 months ago

"each Big 12 school would have to line up a replacement team on the schedule and at this late date, not many are available."

If on the same date(s), the other Big 12 schools are available. Schedule this one extra Big 12 game at a neutral site, when possible, and count it as a nonconference game.

But hopefully WVU can cleanly exit the Big East in time.

Jrb09g 10 years, 10 months ago

But, people plan their weddings around KU football games! That is why attendance has been so sparse lately, a wedding boom has been happening.

blindrabbit 10 years, 10 months ago

LogicMans solution to the problem is great idea. A little creative scheduling (and a non-counting) game could make for some fun! Kansas vrs. K-State in Wichita, etc.

kupride4u 10 years, 10 months ago

You talking about Saturday's game? It was Coaches vs. Cancer weekend. All coaches were wearing tennis shoes for the games that weekend. KU's staff had them on too, but they were black. Look at the photo gallery from Saturday's game and you will see Self in some black Adidas.

classclown 10 years, 10 months ago

Let's look at LogicMan's solution with some actual logic.

Since this involves WVU's ability to play in the big 12, then it stands to reason that only one team from the big 12 can possibly be playing WVU on any given Saturday while the rest of the teams in the big 12 will be busy playing somebody else.

Therefore it would be impossible for another big 12 team to be available for a "funsy" game seeing as to how only one team can be scheduled to play WVU at a time.

LogicMan 10 years, 10 months ago

Except the Big 12 schedule isn't set yet. So it would be possible to adjust them so that slots line up, not necessarily all four in the same week. One team, or any odd number, would be out but likely could find another nonconference opponent.

It would be an interesting puzzle to solve.

classclown 10 years, 10 months ago

"Keating might want to employ an answering service because today is the day the Big 12 must turn in its anticipated schedule to the TV networks, but here’s the problem: That schedule won’t be made public until West Virginia completes negotiations with the Big East to be freed to join the Big 12. No agreement, no public schedule."

Maybe I'm reading that wrong, but I'm under the impression that the schedule is indeed set just not being made public due to the WVU thing. And if WVU is unable to play in the big12, then substitutes must be found and scheduled for each voided spot WVU leaves behind.

Am I reading this wrong? Is the big12 simply not going to turn in their schedule when they are supposed to?

LogicMan 10 years, 10 months ago

They must play their cards very carefully -- for the time being saying nothing. But I'd wager there's multiple schedules that have been and are being developed, depending on what happens, and when, with WVU and even possibly MU (very low probability of the latter, unless the TV contract blows up).

It ain't over 'till its over.

LogicMan 10 years, 10 months ago

The news (CNN/SI) this morning is that there's a secret schedule that includes WVU, and the schedule was given to the TV people. But not released to the public yet.

Robert Brock 10 years, 10 months ago

I would like to see KU return to NIKE for football and basketball. The other sports can outfit with British Knights for all I care.

John Boyle 10 years, 10 months ago

These are all old articles (a week and a half to three weeks old). Most believe that it is a done deal, they just need to work out the payment details.

texashawk10 10 years, 10 months ago

Tell Nike to stay the hell away from Lawrence. I don't want their designers coming anywhere near the basketball uniforms. I saw what Kentucky wore last night and I don't want KU wearing anything close to those because we all know Nike will include KU in any special uniform they come up with for basketball. Who really wants to see KU wearing "platinum" home uniforms that are really silver, but look a lot like an official color of a school 90 miles west of Lawrence? I know Syracuse fans have been doing nothing but complaining because they have to wear uniforms the same color as Georgetown's for a game this season. I wouldn't mind Under Armor because they do the military tributes with their football uniforms and don't do crazy designs for anyone but Maryland and they don't do crazy basketball uniforms either so I would be fine with Under Armor or Adidas being KU's apparel maker, just anyone but Nike.

blindrabbit 10 years, 10 months ago

What is the effect of today's ruling on West Virginia's lawsuit with the BigEast and visa versa; I'm no lawyer!!

LogicMan 10 years, 10 months ago

A new credit card from Nissan, possibly?

danmoore 10 years, 10 months ago

What is the chance mizwho does not begin SEC play until 2013? Someone please tell me it is less than zero.

texashawk10 10 years, 10 months ago

Missouri and Texas A&M's chances of playing a Big 12 schedule next season are about the same as Brock Berglund playing a down of college football for KU.

Jrb09g 10 years, 10 months ago

Yeah...I really, really have a hard believing that any more than three people plan their wedding around KU football games. Probably should have went with a different anecdote to waste time before getting to the point.

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