Wednesday, June 6, 2012


KU football’s GPA jump a ‘big stinkin’ deal’


Kansas University associate athletic director for student support Paul Buskirk has been employed by the department since 1987.

During that time, the veteran academic has seen a lot, done even more and worked with all varieties of coaches and student-athletes.

But he has never seen anything like KU football coach Charlie Weis.

Monday, KU announced that the football team had improved collectively by half a letter grade, soaring from a team grade-point average of 2.46 during the fall semester to a 3.0 this spring. Not only was the squad’s 3.0 the highest in program history, it also was a direct reflection of Weis, a no-nonsense leader who believes there’s a right way to do things and accepts nothing less.

“This is one of the most incredible jumps in academic performance from a team that I’ve ever seen,” Buskirk said. “This is not just over five players or 10 players or 20 players. This is over 70 or 80. That’s a huge, huge jump in performance, and I don’t want to undersell it at all.”

It’s easy for KU administrators and academic officials to bang the drum for their achievements in the classroom, no matter how big or small. Their jobs depend on the A’s and B’s outweighing the C’s and D’s. But that’s not what this is. Buskirk is nearing the completion of his third decade of service to KU because he’s honest and genuine. Rarely does he paint rosy pictures when they’re not there, and he works for no one but the student-athletes. That’s why Monday was like one of those days back in grade school when it was someone’s birthday and everyone in the class got cake.

Buskirk insists there was neither chocolate frosting nor edible flowers in his department on Monday, only satisfied grins coming from all corners. Specifically, Buskirk highlighted co-counselors Glenn Quick and Shanda Hayden, tutoring director Michelle Martin, and graduate assistant Dan Franco.

But their efforts may have gone wasted had it not been for the strong message handed down from the top. On the day he was introduced back in December, Weis emphasized the importance of academic success.

“I remember that because he caught me off guard,” Buskirk said. “I sat in the back and he made a reference to hiring a brand-new liaison for academics. I froze in my tracks at that moment because I hadn’t heard about any other hire. He went on, of course, to point out that he was the academic liaison. I have never worked with a football coach who has taken on the primary responsibility for academic liaison and concern. Ever. But that’s what coach Weis has done. Amazing stuff.”

The way Buskirk tells it is simple to understand. This latest improvement is not the stuff of miracles. It came as the result of a concentrated effort by coaching staff, athletic department and student body believing that the sound of a choir that sings together is much sweeter than discordant voices.

“If you don’t tell them it’s a big stinkin’ deal, they don’t know it,” Buskirk said. “But when we tell them that and then they get a 3.0, they go, ‘Whoa; I got a 3.0. That’s a big stinkin’ deal.’ And they’re proud of something they never thought they could accomplish. Once they’ve tasted it, they want to do it again.

“Coach Weis is gonna keep moving on,” Buskirk continued. “And I guarantee if you ask him, he would say, ‘This is what we should have been doing all along.’ I love it. I love every bit of it.”


ukanjhox 9 years, 11 months ago

This is great news. But, it's ridiculous that so many of these guys are ecstatic with a 3.0 GPA.

Travis Clementsmith 9 years, 11 months ago

For someone attempting to complain about GPAs, there certainly is a whole lot of stupid in your posts. You can't take too many cross sections of 70 to 80 people and average a whole hell of a lot better.

Paul Wilson 9 years, 11 months ago

You are ignoring the fact of where many of these boys come from. Many are coming from schools that are more concerned with keeping kids alive than grades. Others have been handed grades because of their FB talent. I don't see Weis as being a coach that would allow this to happen. So...if you consider all the factors at play, it's a big deal. To me the even bigger deal is the short amount of time that the change took place.

mdlund0 9 years, 11 months ago

Students at KU have been handed grades because of their football talent? Did I read that right? Because that would imply that there are individuals attending KU who are talented at football, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 11 months ago

No, I don't believe you did read that right. He said they were handed grades in grade school and high school because of their athletic ability. Meaning that once they got to college they were unprepared to make their own grades. But I realize you know that and were just wanting a chance to criticize the football team once again.

eastcoasthawk 9 years, 11 months ago

You have to be kidding. You have a guy that has been working with student athletes for 30 years and he is excited because of this but you obviously know more than he does.

Except for the 2 guys in each class that might make the pro's, none of them will need a good job after college. It seems the success in the classroom won't help them in future endeavors.

If you want to be impressed by student athletes you should support an Ivy league school. Then you wouldn't be so superior in judgement.

Travis Clementsmith 9 years, 11 months ago

That's not a cross section, that's a specific demographic you idiot.

NebraskaJayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

This post has the grade rating of a 2.0 or lower in my opinion. Not everyone is going to be an engineer or doctor nor do they have the apptitude for it. That doesn't diminish what these kids have done progressively in the classroom. Boo on you for that remark.

ltownatrain 9 years, 11 months ago

As a former college athlete let me tell you that a 3.0 is something to be ecstatic about as it is not as easy as it sounds. A lot of athletes are in class all day and then practice all night, which, makes it very difficult to study and get homework done. Which, considering the fact that the average non-athlete as about a 3.04 GPA this is pretty damn impressive.

kureader 9 years, 11 months ago

It's an average, bonehead. The student population as a whole will not have this high of an average GPA.

It means that the average football player will beat the average student in the classroom ... this, despite the fact that the athletes spend 30 to 35 hours a week dealing with their football responsibilities. That's outstanding work by our players!

So, it is what Buskirk says it is ... an incredible improvement in a very short time. AND, it's a great and well deserved compliment to Coach Weis. Great leadship, Coach Weis!

Ian Legler 9 years, 11 months ago

That's just silly to say. As was said below ... If a guy with 30 years experience in educating student athletes says that is a big deal ... Chances are it's a big deal.

JayHok 9 years, 11 months ago

List of D1 football programs with a 3.0 Team GPA:

  1. Kansas
  2. Notre Dame

Umm no matter which University you root for this is a pretty big deal. Also to be noted, the University of Kansas is an AAU accredited institution.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 11 months ago

I guarantee you that if the entire architectural school had a collective 3.0, they'd be having a parade down Naismith Boulevard. I finished with a 3.15 and was considered a "curve buster"

Cmill1221 9 years, 11 months ago

Ok nerd. You can graduate w/ a 2.5 in your core classes. 2.75 in some majors. So what is your point? These kids are not in school to be some tool engineer and sit and look through mountains of data all day. That are there to: 1. pursue their dream of playing football. 2. Bang chicks. 3. Have fun doing it. The people who are getting a 3.5 or 4.0. Are in school to pursue their dreams as doctors and lawyers. And dont have nearly the sane demanding schedule they a studebt athleat does It's all about priorities. Not every football player will have a Tod Reesing GPA.

Dan Pawlowski 9 years, 11 months ago

Nerd? You have officially lowered this board to a Jr. High School Level.

Cmill1221 9 years, 11 months ago

No, that happened when people starting belittling a 3.0 GPA for the football team.

Cmill1221 9 years, 11 months ago

Iphones have spell check. It's a one inch by two Inch keyboard a typo can happen. But thank you for your service. The grammar police is an honorable career. You need to graduate with at least a 3.7GPA to even be considered for that job. :)

Dan Pawlowski 9 years, 11 months ago

In what sociology? Im sorry but poor spelling makes anyone look ignorant.

stm62 9 years, 11 months ago

Lots of KU players would think its ridiculous to get ecstatic over having lettered in high school. The only thing that counts is to make the most of ones abilities.

Sam Brockert 9 years, 11 months ago

You actually put your GPA on your resume and or job application? I don't think I have ever seen a job application ask for my GPA. What line of work are you in exactly?

Sam Brockert 9 years, 11 months ago

I take that back, Garmin asks for your GPA.

Tim Orel 9 years, 11 months ago

More and more online applications ask for this, but even with a resume, if you are on the Dean's list (don't know what that takes at KU, but at my Undergrad it was 3.5) or a member of an academic fraternity which could be 3.0, IIRC, that does make a difference on a resume.

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 11 months ago

The most disheartening and maddening thing of the past coach was this very topic. I was genuninely shocked and let down he didn't care.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

He may very well have been the worst football coach in KU (or anyone else's) history, but I'd be very surprised if he didn't care about his players or their education.

He is a good man - just not a very good football coach.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 11 months ago

i keep hearing that TG is a "very good man" me evidence.

I haven't seen one bit of evidence and everyone just says he is a "good man", but I haven't seen one action he has done that would give him that credential.

Please help me understand your evaluation.

Sam Brockert 9 years, 11 months ago

He is a nice man. That would be a better description of him. Just cause you are nice to people, doesn't make you a good man.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Show me evidence that he's a "bad man". I can prove he's a bad football coach.

vd 9 years, 11 months ago

1) Married once and still married 2) Good Father (don't think he beat his daughters) 3)Doesn't drink or do drugs 4)Provides for his family

Of course, these are opinions on what makes a "good man." Your definition of "good man" is probably

1) Married a few times, had affairs with other women and a few men 2)Doesn't spend any time with his children, and when with them beats em 3) Drinks 12 pack daily and totes a few lines 4) Makes no child payments 5) Every sentence spoken has to include at least one cuss word

KjayhawkprideU 9 years, 11 months ago

I don't know who you are but you are starting to sound like a mizzwho fan that is mad that you have become the skid mark in the SEC conference underwear. Change your attitude about the team and their GPA. I graduated with a 3.0 and yes I was very proud of if. So get off your high horse and give them cuddos for their good job.

texashawk10 9 years, 11 months ago

That sentence is specific to one of the longest running debates on this site that only a handful of people regularly comment on.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

I don't get too wound up about the whole University of Kansas vs Kansas University thing ( I know which one is correct ) - BUT - maybe we should try a whole new angle. Let's get the name changed to :

H.U.L.K. - Hallowed University of Lawrence Kansas

texashawk10 9 years, 11 months ago

That's nowhere near the top of my worry list either, I just commented because I thought it was funny that the first 3 people who posted didn't get what the comment was really about.

panalytic 9 years, 11 months ago

Great job by the football team and the academic support people! Glad it is getting some press too and the support staff gets their names in the paper.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 11 months ago

And it was over a half grade point improvement in one semester! That is huge! And your comparison is to the best teams in the country. That is great.

I know that virtually everything I have and am today is because of my HS coach asking the team how our grades were the 1st quarter of my soph yr (his 1st at our school). It was the first time I can recall someone saying that getting good grades was important, and made a letter grade difference in my life.

I am excited for the students and the entire football program and uni. By the way, a 3.0 is generally the std for grad school, so it is kind of significant.

Rock Chalk

gchawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Great post, AtlJaybird, your post is right on. For anyone that hasn't played college sports, or even high school, go home after a very hard day of work and just try and read a book, it's tough to concentrate. That's exactly what it's like for an athlete after a hard work out. This is a great accomplishment for our football team, and coaches. Mucho congrats.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 11 months ago

These are the same players as a semester ago, and the result of a coach holding the players accountable for doing what is right. Those are also the same coaches that are on the field holding the players accountable for doing what is right. What's the half point GPA equivalent in W's? 3 games? (BU, ISU, TT?) Pinstripe? COTY?

Bill Kackley 9 years, 11 months ago

I have no doubt that 3.0 ave. by the football team is higher than the GPA of the student body as a whole. If not, grade inflation has really come to KU. A grade of C is supposed to be an average grade, a B above average.

KjayhawkprideU 9 years, 11 months ago

I would like to add one more thing to Ukanjhox post, a 3.0 truly does look good on a resume especially if they graduated. My sister inlaw graduated with a 4.0 and I with a 3.0 make about 40k a year more than she does. My brother 3.75 and I also make more then him. I am proud of these kids for doing this. They are changing the foundation of the football program and that is something to be truly proud of. ROCK CHALK!!!!

Sam Brockert 9 years, 11 months ago

GPA is also not indicative of how smart you are, or how successful in a career you will be.

KjayhawkprideU 9 years, 11 months ago

That was my point Ukanjhox. Thank you for redeeming yourself. If they apply themselves that hard on the field then we will look a lot better this year.

texashawk10 9 years, 11 months ago

This is a big deal, but something I would be curious to know is what the immediate impact on the GPA was after Weis got here and all the players left, voluntarily or otherwise. I would imagine if you take the team GPA from last semester minus those players who left the program, it would be quite a bit higher and that the half letter grade increase for this semester might not quite as big a jump as it initially appears to be. Again, this is absolutely a great accomplishment for this team, but I just wonder what the immediate boost to the team GPA was after dropping the dead weight and what the in class improvement in GPA really was.

rob4lb 9 years, 11 months ago

Aside from the ranting about how good a 3.0 GPA is, what sticks me most is how neglegent Turner Gill's staff was in this department. I was on the fence about firing him, thinking he needed at least one more year, but the more I read about the state of the football program, I am 100% convinced that Zenger made the right decision to make a change. Charlie Weis appears to be doing all the right things to change the culture. I hope it carries over to performance on the field.

tom123kufan 9 years, 11 months ago

I was late getting on the site today and just got around to reading some of these posts. I had to stop after 5...This is getting a little bit ridiculous people. The story is about an improvement. Leave it at that, why must we dissect every story to the point it becomes a negative. Any good news regarding the football team should be welcomed with open arms. Give the group credit, not one game has been played yet and we already see iron clad improvement in the organization. Hopefully we will see it on the field as well. Lets get off our high horse for a minute and just enjoy a good positive read. Give me a break.

KGphoto 9 years, 11 months ago

I can totally see Weis in his office with Darrian Miller and the others, a la Dean Wormer.

All he really had to do is get rid of these 5 guys and boom! Through the roof.

tom123kufan 9 years, 11 months ago

They are getting a free education because they play a sport. They play a sport to win. If they win revenue flows into the athletic department. As long as they are improving and eligible who cares? It's not our place to judge them because their on scholarship unless they are ineligible. At that point they are wasting there scholarship. These arguments don't make any sense to me. Don't be harsh just because they are on scholarship and well within the grade point level to maintain that agreement. Don't classify all football players as bad students either. It's our athletes who pump millions of dollars into the system to help pad the seat you sit in.

texashawk10 9 years, 11 months ago

The reason why this has become such a huge issue is not about the GPA specifically, but the discipline and accountability it takes to achieve and maintain that kind of GPA. That's what's proving to ultimately be the biggest difference between Gill and Weis. As more and more information comes out about Gill, it has become very clear that KU under his watch was a program that had no discipline or accountability. The skills those kids are learning in the class room, like showing up to class on time, doing your homework, studying for tests, and so forth are skills that translate off the field into all areas of these kids lives. Having someone to hold these kids accountable like Coach Weis is something these kids need to prepare them for the real world because they will have bosses to answer to, projects they need to work on when nobody is around, clients or projects they need to research. Coach Weis is doing a much better job of preparing and instilling values in these kids that will give them a much better chance of being successful post graduation which is something that Gill was not doing.

John Randall 9 years, 11 months ago

tom, do you wonder how many of the football players can use the words "there", "their", "they're" correctly at least half the time?

tom123kufan 9 years, 11 months ago

......and also who cares if you have higher standards for a guy getting a free education. What do you want a perfect 4.0 to be eligible to play sports? Your ridiculous.

rob4lb 9 years, 11 months ago

That's a little harsh. I am not sure that the athletic department pumps millions into other university programs. Indirectly, the university benefits from a successful athletic team because outside donations increase throughout the university.

I am always bothered by the contrast in the athletic department with free flowing money and the rest of the university, especially during a time like today when funding is being cut. Did you notice that over 100 university employees took early retirement this week. I remember reading an article in the alumni magazine in the mid-1980s where in the same issue they talked about Larry Brown's salary and compensation package AND how TAs and AIs in Wescoe were having to wear jackets in their office because they university was cutting back on heat. Clearly our priorities are warped.

JayHok 9 years, 11 months ago

Speaking of grades I dont understand how it all works with college athletics but I know Weis is doing great. How was John Calipari's first UK team allowed to keep their 35 victories after their 1.83 GPA came out. How does he keep a perfect APR without penalties? One can deduce that much classroom time is being spent with Calipari and his coaches in the gym working to become professionals after a few months. Who knows if his players go to school 2nd semester. Smells fishy.

Ann Oneill 9 years, 11 months ago

Wildcats are probably enrolled in gym classes for their one year stint.

Steve Brown 9 years, 11 months ago

If you can't got to class on time, turn in the work, how can you be expected to make that block or catch that pass. It is all tied together. age of accountibility. love it. University of Kansas Football, it's a new day dawning.

JayHok 9 years, 11 months ago

Perfectly stated---the only thing I'd add is---T.H.E. University of Kansas

Sean Getman 9 years, 11 months ago

This is absolutely fantastic. I love Weis' approach. He is taking care of as many intangibles as possible before the start of the season. Allowing those who don't want to buy into this new system of (as lighthawk said) accountability. We've already seen a number of players leave because of this, and those that stay are more fired up than ever, obviously it shows.

However he also has the know-how to see the benefits of improving in the classroom. The brain is a muscle, and these guys are going to be just that much smarter on every play, picking up that crucial block or reacting to a thrown ball that much quicker. Not to mention any press is good press.

Nothing but good news so far this summer. Even if you believe this to be a worthless achievement, it sure as hell is NOT a step backwards. Keep it up team, and I hope to hear more good news!

Randy Bombardier 9 years, 11 months ago

Great story. Great accomplishment. I believe CW's philosophy is sound. I thought that TG's philosophy was the same, namely that sloppiness and half-hearted effort off the field leads to the same on the field. So, maybe it is more than philosophy. CW has seems to be making it a way of life, leading to real character.

Now gents, I love coming on this site and seeing the articles and what you all have to say. I want to encourage you all to refrain from insulting each other with the name-calling especially. Let's keep it classy and just share thoughts, give kudos, and beg to differ, okay? We never know who we are insulting. Suppose it could be one of our own players.

TulsaJayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

This is the single most positive indicator for our football program.

The fact that the team has bought in to academics will reap volumes on the field through the mental intangibles that maintain confidence.

John Randall 9 years, 11 months ago

It is a great thing to know about yourself – that you can things that aren't easy.

This knowledge can come on the field, in the weight room, or in the classroom.

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