Monday, July 16, 2018

David Beaty: KU football was down to 39 scholarship players when he took over

Kansas football head coach David Beaty speaks during NCAA college football Big 12 media days in Frisco, Texas, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Cooper Neill)

Kansas football head coach David Beaty speaks during NCAA college football Big 12 media days in Frisco, Texas, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Cooper Neill)


FRISCO, TEXAS — As David Beaty’s breakout session with reporters drew to a close Monday afternoon at Big 12 Football Media Days, a question brought the fourth-year Kansas football coach back to the day he took over the program, in December of 2014.

The straight-to-the-point inquiry led Beaty to close his day at Ford Center at The Star with a staggering reply.

“When you first walked in the door four years ago,” a reporter began, “how many scholarship players did you have?”

After asking a nearby KU media relations staffer if he should reveal the number, Beaty responded with 39.

“By the time we hit spring ball, we had 28,” the coach added.

Football programs always are farthest from their limit of 85 scholarship players in the spring, when the previous year’s seniors are gone and the full incoming signing class hasn’t arrived. Still, the figure Beaty never referenced in public until Monday spoke to one of the largest obstacles the ever-rebuilding program has encountered in the past several seasons.

KU’s scholarship numbers suffered uncommon blows prior to Beaty’s arrival, with players leaving for various reasons as the program transitioned from head coach Mark Mangino, to Turner Gill, to Charlie Weis, to Beaty.

Kansas added 24 players with its 2015 signing class before the start of Beaty’s debut fall in Lawrence.

Several weeks before his fourth season kicks off, Beaty said the Jayhawks will have 70 true scholarship players — not counting former walk-ons who have picked one up — competing, “if we’re lucky.”

Reflecting on the situation he walked into, Beaty said he doesn’t know whether he or various assistants noticed what a challenge it was because they kept their heads down.

“We had to figure out, number one, how we stopped it. What did we have to do to fix this? And a lot of it had nothing to do with football. It had to do with retainment, because with numbers like that, if you lost one, it compounded,” Beaty said. “You lost an initial (scholarship) and you lost an 85 and you lost a practice body, which meant another walk-on. So we had to figure out how to stop it.”

Secondly, Beaty went on, KU had to make sure the players who did stay eventually graduated, in order to keep the program’s Academic Progress Rate afloat.

“So we had to find a way to set the culture, retain players, but still set the culture and, along the way, understand the rules,” he said. “So we had to get super creative.”

The NCAA only allows a football program to sign 25 scholarship players per recruiting class.

“You can sit there and just do nothing, or you can start thinking out of the box like no one has ever thought in the history of college football,” Beaty said. “Through the help of a lot of great minds here, we did. We created a few different tools to use what, quite honestly, I don’t think anybody’s ever had to think of.”

In the meantime, Beaty said KU’s coaches needed to not only practice patience, but also try and develop the scholarship players who were in place each season as best they could.

“Because we’re not getting any more,” he said. “So I don’t want to hear you say, ‘He’s not good enough.’ Develop him. They’re not going to let us get another one. It’s going to take us some time, and how do we make it up faster than the rules allow?”

The fourth-year KU coach, now 3-33 at Kansas, closed the session by stating he wouldn’t “make any excuses” regarding the program’s “really unique” plight.

“I’m not using that. I don’t want to say anything else about that other than,” Beaty said, before taking a six-second pause, “I am really proud of our staffs that we’ve had here.”


John Fitzgerald 4 years, 2 months ago

In my opinion 52 is the real number. That’s how many scholarship players played in his first year. This is still well below what the program is allowed. Either way, as Beaty has added more players and as the stats show, improvements have not been made. I hope we see some this year but I wouldn’t predict it nor would I expect it. Also it’s important to note that we’ll be losing at least 60 players due to graduation in the next two years combined.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 2 months ago

In your opinion? Like it's an opinion and you have some inside knowledge.

It's not even 50 in the next 2 years. We have less than 30 in the Sr class (I think it is down to 25 with the players leaving recently.), and less than 20 in the Jr class (18?).

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 2 months ago

Why are you angry, Dirk? I don’t mean to insult your buddy. Beaty is a great guy and I hope he succeeds. Anyways, the article says 39 and then 28 is what he had at the spring, but if you add in the 24 recruits that year it’s 52 scholarship players. Beaty may choose to go with 28, but the way I see it it’s 52. Also, it is at least 60 graduating players leaving this year and next. Look again. I hate proving people wrong. Makes things awkward.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 2 months ago

John there is no other way to look at the roster that Beaty inherited other than as one of the worst if not the worst roster inherited by a coach since like maybe Marshall in 1971.

If you don't remember, Beaty was hired in late to recruit the first year and the 24 freshmen and transfers were pretty much leftovers - it was a mad scramble. It almost hard to include a great percentage of that class as being a true target recruits. And/or....any of the 60 walk-ons he added that year.

Now, Beaty had a good recruiting class his second year and when he added those he added some potential. It's that class that is just the coming of age, which is our Juniors. Sure there a few good Seniors left over from the first year that are still around and will start but Beaty has since added a bunch of transfers to add to that group. If he can get two years out of them KU may get over the hump.

So, this is his chance. If Beaty can save his job this year, my guess is you will see at least 20 High school recruits in the 2019 class. We should be at a point in time when he should have a strong Senior class in two years and a pretty good which point he now should have the opportunity to reload and get over the hump. We'll see how this works out. But, IMO, Beaty has done his job in building the roster with better players than we have had in at least 6 to 7 years it just he didn't win the games he should. So, He has reached a point where most of his scholarships from the Junior class and down have gone to recruits with legitimate potential to play D1 ball. Prior to this year, most of his older more experienced starters lacked talent and potential. Now its time to get some wins or sayonara.

Owens Smithson 4 years, 2 months ago

Per Beaty in The Athletic article, KU had 69 scholarship players in his first game. We currently have 68, less grad transfers.

I guess between February 2014 and August 2014, we handed out 42 scholarships.

This is just one example in one article of many different numbers Beaty has given out over the years.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 2 months ago

Notice the qualifier on the statement. The numbers in this article do not include walk-ons that were given scholies. It makes a lot of sense if we care to think about it without a lynch mob mentality. Why would he encourage the other team and talk down his team by saying they had fewer players, or call players he counting on to contribute non(scholarship)players.

There are a lot of ways to report statistics.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 2 months ago

“Through the help of a lot of great minds here, we did. We created a few different tools to use what, quite honestly, I don’t think anybody’s ever had to think of.”

The results on the field have been lacking, but the staff has done a great job of rebuilding the size and quality of the roster.

Owens Smithson 4 years, 2 months ago

Sadly, even though you say this staff has done a "great job of rebuilding the quality of the roster", we've regressed horribly in year three (presumably the year the roster would be strongest so far).

Beaty is also averaging 4 transfers and 8-9 jucos in each class. How's the roster quality and size looking for the next coach in a year or two? Seems like a 4 year plan of spinning the wheels when you look at what is actually happening, and especially considering the lack of progress in any area.

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 2 months ago

Please provide support for the rebuilding of the roster in size and quality. I'm not sure I've seen any numbers supporting an upgrade in overall talent from the Gill, Weis, or Beaty years.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 2 months ago

Well you won't unless you look for yourself. But from this year's Junior class on down Beaty has done an OK job of recruiting IMO. This is the year he has to show it or he is gone.

Chris Condren 4 years, 2 months ago

The scholarship numbers have been all over the board with this coach. Now when facing a make or break season we are told that things were really bad when he started. Bad teams, bad luck, demoralizing losses and inconsistent messaging all yield what we are currently experiencing. Little fan support, no relevance and no belief that KU has made any progress after eight historically bad years. This guy should study the Glen Mason and Mark Mangino models for rebuilding. Be tough, have a plan to follow and be honest.

Robert Brock 4 years, 2 months ago

How many of the current football jocks are Big 12 caliber. Fifteen? Twenty?

Curtis Hedrick 4 years, 2 months ago

They were all recruited as D1 football players. Time to start acting like it and compete for cripes sakes. I know there are coaching issues but play with instinct if nothing else.

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 2 months ago

And after four years of recruiting; how many players with scholarships will he giving to the next coach? Basically, in four years he has not improved the situation and has the worst coaching record in the history of KU football. If he goes 6-6 he still owns that mark. Remember it was Coach Beaty that set the standard for 6 wins last year and he didn't even come close. I'm leaning more to naming an interim before the season starts.

[''] 4 years, 2 months ago

As I said yesterday, all he has done in 4 years is shell out empty promises and pathetic results. The only people who are that wrong day in and day out and keep their jobs are meteorologists.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 2 months ago

I disagree. Prior to this year the talent was primarily too young and undeveloped to start. It is Beaty's 2nd recruiting class and not his first that should be looked at. We have more talent by a long shot from five to six years ago and this year they finally get to play. Although we might not have a winning season, I am relatively sure you are going to be seeing a much better team than last year and I am expecting at least 3 to 4 W's this year.

Steven Haag 4 years, 2 months ago

Brian, it does none, zero, zilch good to talk to the Beaty haters. They always see the glass half empty. I’m so glad there are only a handful of them. There is no doubt that we have better players than his first year. As bad as it was, I was not expecting many wins until year 4. I was, however expecting more competitiveness in year 3 and we didn’t get it. That is reason for concern. Rebuilding a football program that was as bad as ours was, it like cooking a roast, not microwave takes a while. The Senior class has nothing but good things to say about him. He has made them better men, but the Beaty haters will continue to plug their ears and scream loud, because they want nothing nice to be said about him. Keep supporting him throughout the year, and let Long do a good and careful evaluation of him. We will know where we stand come late November

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 2 months ago

Oh Steve drinking the Bryson kool aid. Maybe if he had more than 3 wins or showed any signs of progress there would be less of us so dissatisfied with him. I mean 84-0 combine in 2 games. 20 yards of offense. A national NATIONAL embarrassment.l could go on and on, thats glass half full? If he has shown any ANY progress like IST no one would care, HE'S REGRESSED!!! How many more years of this? He has 3 wins not 5, 10, 15. 3!!!!!!! And Texas was a gift.

Eric Eakins 4 years, 2 months ago

40 years of watching KU football I've seen lots of ups and downs. I have a lot of sympathy for what Beaty inherited and give him credit on recruiting and trying to build a roster up with all the handicaps that come with our history. I also think it is completely reasonable and responsible for our administration (and fans) to expect a minimum of 4 wins this year for what time and resources have been given to him over his time here. That is the base point for even considering keeping him on board. Honestly I think it is going to take 6 wins for him to retain his job but that is complete speculation with no insider information just reading between all the statements made. I won't feel sorry for him if fired as he was given an incredible opportunity, walked in with his eyes open and was paid more money in 4 years than I make in more than a decade. With his character and drive he will also land on his feet. KU on the other hand is entering dangerous territory with conference alignments and long term malaise that honestly in my opinion could eventually take down our BBall program as well. That would be tragic and can't be risked. I would support a coaching change because of those reasons. There is no reason KU can't be successful with the right coach and support structure.

Micky Baker 4 years, 2 months ago

If KU wins 5 games and they fire Beatty, bad bad bad bad bad bad move.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 2 months ago

no way we win 5 games. I think we are staring down another 1 win year. I can't think of any reason to see this year being better than last. I'd really be surprised to see Beaty make it to conference play. This AD change was more about Beaty that it was about the previous AD.

[''] 4 years, 2 months ago

Sorry Mickey. But even 5 wins ain't gonna save him. That will make him 8-40 No thnx.. we can do waaayyy better.

Micky Baker 4 years, 2 months ago

The right support structure includes dedicated fans. The last year of Mangino, the fans weren't even dedicated. Stadium half empty after halftime in games KU had leads in, then lost them. The fans have to step it up too, they can't just wait for someone else to do something. They can solve that by serving alcohol in the stadium, and once you leave, you can't come back rules.

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