Sunday, August 28, 2016

KU’s Bill Self sees importance of strong football program

KU coach Bill Self talks to fans at Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.

KU coach Bill Self talks to fans at Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.


Today marks the official start of Week 1 for the Kansas football program, which will play host to Rhode Island at 6 p.m. Saturday in the season opener.

And that means something to KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self, who, in October, will kick off his 14th season leading the Jayhawks.

Self has long been a fan of Kansas football and never has been afraid to show it. He attends most games, has worked closely will all of KU’s recent football coaches and encourages his players to support the team and brings recruits to Memorial Stadium on a regular basis.

“I look at it selfishly,” Self said recently. “I want our program to have the best chance to recruit and get the best guys and good football helps with that. I want all our sports to be able to have the best facilities and travel first class and football helps with that. Basketball and other sports, we do what we can, but the reality is there’s untapped potential with football, so I think it’s vital.”

Last week, Self made noise in the football world when a video of him speaking to the football team during preseason camp made its way around the Internet. In it, Self spoke about the opportunity this group of football players has in front of them and emphasized that they have a chance to be remembered as the crew that put KU football back on the right path.

That, Self told them, would help these Jayhawks be remembered forever. And while those memories likely would last longest in the minds and scrapbooks of KU football fans, Self certainly stands to be right there with them, provided an improved football program pays the dividends he knows and believes it can.

“It’s huge,” Self said. “I think our people in the athletic department have done a remarkably great job of being creative and generating revenue and those sorts of things. But the one thing that is out there for us still to tap into is football and the resources that can potentially bring in.”

Resources, in this case, is another word for revenue. Even with the football program struggling mightily during the past six years, KU’s athletic department has ranked in the Top 25 or so among all NCAA universities in athletic department revenue.

Simple math helps explain things. This season, the men’s basketball team is slated to play 17 games inside Allen Fieldhouse. The football team, meanwhile, will play six times at Memorial Stadium.

If the football program were to sellout all six of those games — an unlikely prospect this season — that would result in the sale of roughly 300,000 tickets. If the men’s hoops team continues to sell out Allen Fieldhouse for those 17 home dates, that’s just over 277,000 tickets for the entire basketball season. In short, the football program, in one game, can produce close to the same kind of ticket revenue that the men’s basketball team generates in multiple games. And that’s to say nothing of the added revenue for concessions, merchandise and parking.

Self’s a football fan and he follows the program with great interest. But David Beaty’s squad keeping Self’s attention has as much to do with the bottom line for the KU athletic department as it does Self’s love of handoffs and hail marys. Still, it’s not hard to see that Self’s support for the football is genuine and rooted in his belief that a winning football program brings as much pride and excitement to a college campus as just about anything.

“Back when (Todd) Reesing and Kerry (Meier) and Aqib (Talib) were all here, people got excited on Wednesday to go to the game on Saturday,” Self recalled. “And that’s something we need to get back.”


Suzi Marshall 6 years, 1 month ago

Self's comments about 'anyone worth their salt would like to be a builder rather than a maintainer' got some buzz around the Houston area. Talk in some circles is if UH gains admittance into the Big 12, they might be able to lure Self to rebuild their program to resemble the Guy Lewis era that highlighted Elvin Hayes in the 'game of the century' when UH defeated UCLA, with Lew Alcindor, in the Astrodome... and Phi Slamma Jamma with Olajuwan and Drexler. $7MM per year for UH to sign problem.

Houston's entry into the Big 12 will cause all kinds of headaches from Lawrence, KS to Norman and Stillwater, OK to Austin, TX.

Doug Cramer 6 years, 1 month ago

Self will never go to Houston Suzy. Never.

Hopefully we don't even allow Houston into the big 12.

Glen Miller 6 years, 1 month ago

Why is everyone so against Houston being in the Big 12. They have everything we need from a new member and are in our region. BYU is nice but honestly they are West Virginia 2.0 to me..... no other teams in their proximity. A solid sports program, but creates massive financial pitfalls for anything beyond football and basketball. Unless I am mistaken, Utah is really not that fertile of a recruiting ground either. My choices would be Houston and Cinncy, but I'm not a Big 12 anything.... just a fan with his own opinion.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm all for UH joining the Big 12 and would be ok with either/both Cinti/BYU.

Doug Wallace 6 years, 1 month ago

I wish both B12 Kansas schools and B12 Oklahoma Schools and Texas Tech could get in the Pac-12 and leave this sorry assed conference in the dust.We will soon be Big East 2.0 soon!

There was report while back they were interested in us!

Glen Miller 6 years, 1 month ago

If Self leaves, it will be for the NBA. His own Alma Mater didn't even lure him away....... Houston sure as the world isn't going to. Can you imagine the uproar in the Big 12? Kansas feeling dissed by an inferior program and in the same conference. Oklahoma State being spurned twice and then spurned again. I'm not sure the bridges Self would burn would be worth it to him. Besides, who wants to end their career building up a program so that some other guy can lather in the glory? No way this happens.

Gerry Butler 6 years, 1 month ago

Agree Doug. Coach will never leave KU for Houston. I eased up on the worrying so much about Coach leaving when he turned down his alma mater Oklahoma State and their blank check. If he is going to turn down Boone Pickens right? where he could have pretty much named his price for his alma mater - - - then I'm not trippin nearly as much about him leaving. As a matter of fact I really don't see him leaving KU even for the pro, - -I just don't visualize him as an NBA Coach and there has been opportunity for him to do so. - - -HOUSTON? - - no way in hell. - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Tony Bandle 6 years, 1 month ago

The only way Bill would leave KU for another college program would be if they tore down Allen Field House. Notice I said "college program". I am not totally convinced that he will avoid the NBA into perpetuity. Someday, I think he may want to take on the challenge....maybe.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Coach Self is being diplomatic. A good football program has ZERO to do with basketball recruiting and success.

Add up the bowl victories, national championships etc of the "Blue Blood" hoops programs as well as the next level. KU, UNC, Duke, Indiana, UK, UCLA plus UConn, Arizona, Louisville and MSU.

UCLA and MSU are the only schools with real accomplishments.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 1 month ago

The businessman in Self seems to be speaking. Although Kansas Basketball represents an elite gold standard if the rest of the athletic program is a shambles, especially football, we could be left behind if some sort of conference reshuffling occurs. Football represents a huge untapped revenue stream.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

The rest of the athletic department? Golf is on the uptick. Women's track won a NC a couple years ago. Volleyball is a national contender.

Football is awful. Part of the problem is that KU participates in few sports that almost any Power 5 school. I don't know how that will change.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 1 month ago

Only basketball and football generate positive cash flows. Without a significant contribution from football it's hard to keep the other, non-rev, sports going strong.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Kansas is 28th in revenue and unlike 17 of the 27 schools ahead of it, operates in the black according to Forbes.

Business insider has KU 23rd.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 1 month ago

True..and all that without football contributing like it could/should.

Glen Miller 6 years, 1 month ago

I beg to differ...... I was a recruit coming out of High School and a sports program's overall success was most definitely something I took into consideration. I also think it's important to have that hype surrounding your school on a weekend of a football game when recruits are coming in. If jersey schemes and brand sponsors affect players decisions....... and it does, been proven....... then a winning football team absolutely matters. It's not a top priority, but to say it has zero to do with recruiting is a bit of ignorance.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Beg all you want.

The notion that your personal preference carries more weight than actual historical facts is a lot of ignorance .....

Greg Ledom 6 years, 1 month ago

How do I say this and not sound like I'm on something. Football is not awful, it's not a mess, it's not on life support. Football, for the first time since Mangino, is on solid footing. Coach and crew (staff, players, etc.) have stopped the bleeding, established a foundation, and have begun to build as Coach Self stated. We can't measure success (today) by wins and losses only. You have to look at all aspects of the program; and if you do, I see positives all around. From coaching, to talent, to recruiting, to attitude, to passion, etc., etc. If we can secure a couple wins or so then we'll start to see progress in that area as well, which is vitally important to keep the program moving forward. The team WILL get win #1 this weekend. After that, we hopefully see continued progress in all areas and in addition another win or two in the win column. Rock Chalk!!!

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Well stated. I have some optimism that you're right.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 6 years, 1 month ago

For those of you who are like me and can't get enough Big 12 expansion news, I saw this today and thought it was one of the best recent pieces I've read.

Carolyn Hunzicker 6 years, 1 month ago

Kansas had a solid foot ball program with Mangino... Solid displine is required to build a losing program and those on Mount Oread won't allow that , keep on saying that we want a winning program...You won't pay the price to have one;

Bob Bailey 6 years, 1 month ago

Houston and BYU are big losers.

Both should be rejected.

Stay with 16 teams Memphis, Cinti, 2 Fla schools, and any 2 schools Eastward, like La and Ga!

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm always puzzled as to why a directional school in Florida with no history of success in either football or basketball is appealing. What schools in Georgia or Louisiana are looking to move conferences?

Elizabeth Kerr 6 years, 1 month ago

We have to get 12 teams in our conference! BYU and Houston are not losers. H ouston is a great area to recruit in. have to look many years down the road. Letting Mangino go was a

huge mistake. There are too many weak spined people running the football program.

Greg Ledom 6 years, 1 month ago

EK, are you moonlighting as Robert Hunzicker? I agree we need more teams and minimally back to the number our league name states. Don't care one way or the other if Houston joins or not. Agree how Mangino was let go and for the reasons why was a mistake and minimally required more thought. But let's face it, Lou couldn't stand Mangino and he not only had a losing streak to help with the push he had third and fourth string kids crying from the breast of their mothers that Mangino was treating them badly. Fact is, Mangino was a first class ass that knew how to run a football team. Notice I didn't say program because he didn't have all the pieces in his repertoire to do that. Gill and Weis were disasters, but I truly believe that Coach Beaty has the entire repertoire to run a football program from nuts to bolts and he doesn't have to be an ass to prove it. Time will tell, and God knows he needs it. He will go down (given time) as the best recruiting coach in Kansas history and the biggest get at a time when we needed someone just like him to Bring Kansas Back! Rock Chalk!

Doug Wallace 6 years, 1 month ago

Bill Self has been such a ambassador of KU sports so glad we have him.

People the only conference we need to get into is the Pac-12! Bring OU,K SU,OSU and T Tech from the Big 12 and lets blow this soon to be Big East 2.0 conference

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

You'd like to tune into conference road games at 1030PM?

I'd be fine with being in a "Big East 2.0" with Memphis, Cincy, BYU, UConn, Baylor, ISU, KSU, TCU, TTU, Houston, Colorado St, New Mexico, Boise St.

The football team might win a few games consistently and it wouldn't hurt basketball recruiting a bit.

That or the B1G....

Robert Brock 6 years, 1 month ago

Bill Self is a kind and generous guy. He would never say what I would say about Kansas football ( I started going to KU games in 1959) - KU football has been the backwater of sports for most of the past 60 years. KU has invested nothing; it has reaped nothing.

Mike Greer 6 years, 1 month ago

KU football in my lifetime can be summed up in two years, 1968 and 2008. There is little to be said for the years between, and nothing to be said for the years after. I've listened to the new coach address an alumni group, he has a positive attitude, I hope he's right. Some of the best basketball programs haven't been known for their football success, but it would sure be nice to at least be respectable. I'd guess coach Self sees a positive in having a successful athletic department overall.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 1 month ago

Just remember, in January 2008, we won the Orange Bowl with Mangino's (what was their nickname?), and then the National Championship in March at San Antonio. Maybe just coincidence, but probably the best sports year in KU history.

While success, or lack thereof, in football hasn't seemed to impact the triumphs of the basketball program, having a good football program (or at least respectable one) can't hurt.

Bill Self is a classy "team" guy, so anything he can do to spur on the football program is fine with me.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 1 month ago


Didn't KU, one school year, go to a Final Four, win a bowl game and go to the College World Series something only done once before in NCAA History. That must have been a pretty good year also!,

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

1993 Only school ever to do it I believe. With all the bowls now, that might change soon.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 1 month ago

I bow to both of you. My memory is not that good. Thanks for educating me. It just goes to show that KU is more than a "one year wonder." Of course, in basketball, it's an "every year wonder."

You're right about all of the bowls, Jay. I'm still waiting for the "Tidy Bowl Cleaner Bowl Game." Wonder where they would hold that!

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 1 month ago

By the way, isn't Bill Self's smile one of the most infectious you've ever seen. What a gem!

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