Hey, NCAA, Guess What? It's Still a Lack of Institutional Control...

Well, the last few days have been pretty hectic for our feathered friends in Lawrence, but I know I feel a lot better about the whole situation after university officials got involved, figured out who was responsible, and took steps to prevent such an embarrassment from happening again by suspending the instigators, and sending a clear and resounding message that this behavior will not be tolerated, in terms that only an athlete who values playing time above all else can understand.

What's that, you say? No one was suspended? Well, that's just... just... completely goddamn unsurprising.

This is the University of Kansas we are talking about, after all: now entering Year Three of NCAA probation for academic fraud and lack of institutional control. It's par for the course.

The sad thing is, I don't even blame the players at this point. Oh, sure, they're a bunch of testosterone-driven, ego-fueled dumbasses, and they certainly deserve some kind of punishment, if only to drive home the point that this can't keep happening.

But the real blame rests with the people who are supposed to be the responsible, mature adults in all of this: the KU administration. And as usual, they come up sorely lacking.

Click the jump for a roundup of recent statements from Bernadette Gray-Little, Mark Mangino, Lew Perkins, Bill Self and others... accompanied by my running commentary, as I point out how utterly spineless and disingenuous said statements are.

Sherron Collins

It's not just Tyshawn. It was a group of individuals from both sides that let egos and pride get involved in something that could have been resolved. We let something small become something big. We as a team, we accept this all together. Not everyone had something to do with it, but we are all together as a team.

In other words, it was everyone's fault... except for all the guys whose fault it wasn't. Logic that would make a Greek philosopher blush.

On a side note, you have to love how Collins was the only player both to be involved in the Wednesday morning brawl and to be present at that afternoon's "Kumbaya" statement. Reesing, Sharp and the others all got dragged into this after the fact (as far as we know), but Elevator Boy apparently gets to play instigator/posse member, yet somehow retain the moral credibility to lead his fellow players out of the dark abyss? Damn, it must be nice to be an NBA prospect.

 

Bernadette Gray-Little

I have consulted with Lew Perkins and share his disappointment regarding the recent incidents involving a small number of our student athletes.

Which means he told her not to worry her pretty little head, because he has experience sweeping up messes like this.

They need to realize their profiles make them representatives of the university off the court and field, as well as on it, and that KU has high expectations for its students.

Yes, they need to realize that as innocent bystanders, they need to get out of the way and not take pictures or video of the incident. That goes double for the student journalists.

I appreciate the quick response by the athletic director and university staff and the strong statement from the teams' leaders.

Translation: He was right; that really was some quick damage control! I'm glad he's here to handle everything for me!

 

Mark Mangino

I'm looking at the information that I've gotten so far and there are still a lot of things that have to get to me in terms of exactly what happened and how it happened.

It takes time to investigate, because Mark's never heard of this handy invention called a newspaper.

But based on what I have right now, I don't see anything that would have me discipline any individual player.

I'll be honest - I don't even know what to say to this. The humor value speaks for itself.

We're just talking about probably a few guys here that let their emotions get the best of them.

Yeah, the few guys... and the hot-blooded posse they called in for backup.

It's not nearly as big a situation as it has been portrayed in some media outlets.

Ah, the old KU standby: Blame the media for blowing it all out of proportion. (Even though the local media usually spend most of their KU-related time blowing something else.) Like a familiar friend, this excuse warms the cockles of my heart.

 

Lew Perkins

I am disappointed that some of our student-athletes put themselves in this position, and it's something that I am taking very seriously.

He's pissed as hell that they got caught and already is initiating serious damage control.

I continue to gather facts about this incident, and I plan to address this issue personally with both teams.

Sweet Lew appears to be equally as newspaper-challenged as The Corpulent One.

We will handle any discipline regarding this incident internally, and we will have no further comment about it.

Until Wednesday, when they got in another freakin' fight. So much for that plan, Lew.

 

Todd Reesing

We've met with the guys and everything is under control.

Yes, indeed. It's an unparalleled official denial and media lockdown. The Iraqi Information Minister would be proud.

 

Bill Self

We don't act like this. To me, somebody asked me how did Tyshawn dislocate his thumb? My reply was: I don't care. It doesn't make any difference to me. The fact is that it happened. The reason it happened was because a really small group of individuals put selfish motives ahead of what was really important.

According to police reports, over 100 people were involved in Tuesday night's altercation at Jayhawk Towers. Bill, were you Darrell Arthur's math tutor?

It's very disturbing to me. I've coached a lot of great kids, and Tyshawn Taylor definitely fits that bill. His judgment in what he posted on his Facebook is totally inexcusable and it was done in very poor taste. So even though they may not be his words and they may be words of lyrics to songs he listens to and likes, it's still something that isn't to be put out there like that. I do think it's offensive.

Bold translation: It was really, really bad, but here's a bunch of reasons why it wasn't quite so bad... but it was really, really bad!

Italic translation: It's OK to think it or say it to your teammates, but dammit, just don't let the press catch wind of it!

...to be portrayed as anything other than a good kid that really made an ignorant play on doing that with his Facebook would be totally inaccurate.

Translation: Hey, J. Brady McCullough, you spin this the way I tell you to spin this!

 

Tyshawn Taylor

I'm embarrassed because of the situation. It's a situation that none of us should have gotten into. We embarrassed our campus, our university, both teams, and it's just a situation that shouldn't have happened. Looking back at it, it was just really stupid. I wish I could take it back.

And to facilitate that wish-fulfillment strategy, he took down the offending Facebook account less than 12 hours after its discovery. But hey, it's cool - it was totally his decision and the KU athletic department's Division of Media Damage Control had absolutely nothing to do with that, right?

 

The "Unanimous" Statement

We realize that over the past couple of days we've let a disagreement between a few guys grow bigger than it ever should have. We're embarrassed about that.

Apparently, KU has invented a new system of measuring time, because I could have sworn this started over a year ago. Oh, wait, make that over five years ago.

Now we want everyone know that we have met and talked it out. We realize we're all Jayhawks. We're proud of what both teams have accomplished.

Yes, because 10 minutes of being cussed out by Lewcifer totally can erase five years of animosity.

We appreciate the support these teams give each other. We'll be in the stands rooting for each other like we always have.

Yeah, rooting for a few of the other guys to get hurt in the game. That should even the odds this weekend...

We all wear KANSAS on our uniforms, and we're proud of that.

More importantly, they're proud they finally can read words longer than four letters!

 

Final Summary

A Communist-style thought control process is fully under way in Larryville, but not everyone in the media has been snowed under. Specifically, Tom Keegan and Luke Winn ain't buying any of it and continue to gas yall up aite.

Meanwhile, if you truly have enough time to waste, take a gander at the many laughable comments from Jayhawk fans at the end of some of these stories. If the phrase "shoot the messenger" is in effect, then Keegan looks like a piece of Swiss cheese by now from all the potshots he is taking.

Let's just say it takes groupthink to a whole new level.

But the most damning article of the day has to be this one. We're talking about a cultural conflict that has been going on for anywhere from 1-5 years, and university officials either have done nothing to stop it or simply taken steps that have proved, as of Wednesday, to be totally impotent and ineffective.

Impotent and ineffective also are words I would use to describe the public statements and lack of concrete action on the administration's part - just as Kevin Kietzman predicted would happen Wednesday.

I reiterate that the people who really should be offended and concerned are the parents of non-athlete students. They're the ones whose kids continue to be endangered by this bullshit and they're the ones who are owed some kind of explanation for the ridiculousness that ensued this week.

This one's not going away, KU. It's going to hang over your heads all season(s), and the more you try to sweep it under the carpet, the worse it will get. You ought to learn a lesson from Colorado and Missouri, who thought they could contain the fallout from the Gary Barnett and Quin Snyder eras.

In the end, procrastination merely led to more widespread damage, as not only coaches, but athletic directors and even university presidents, were forced out in disgrace. Bernadette Gray-Little should tread carefully, lest she eventually turn into Marie-Antoinette Gray-Little.

So far, judging by her weak stance and deferment to Lew Perkins, early returns on the new chancellor's term are not good. Unlike Kirk Schulz and John Currie, she's not pursuing the "new sheriff in town" strategy, even though KU could sorely benefit from a dose of that right now.

After all this denial and inaction, God help KU officials if another fight breaks out in the near future and exposes all this sweet talk as empty words. But as long as wins are the paramount driving factor in Lawrence, the inmates will continue to run the asylum and Perkins will continue to pull all the strings.

Now that's what I call a lack of institutional control.

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