A Mizzou friend of mine just posted this clearly-stolen-from-an-MU-message-board post: I relay it in its entirety below for our posters to absolutely destroy. Call it a little red meat for a Friday:
Just so we're clear, what follows is the perspective of an MU fan. I had absolutely no part in its drafting and take no credit whatever for the hundreds of inaccuracies contained therein.
Debunking the myth of ku's "tradition"
Posted on: February 23, 2012 at 08:19:37 CT
Member For:9.12 yrs
As we prepare to finally leave ku in the dust, I thought it a prudent time to take one last look at the complete myth of the tradition of ku’s basketball program. So let this serve as an introduction for the TCU and West Virginia fans, and the fans of their future rivals in the Mo Valley or the A10, as we step aside and allow them to become someone else’s problem. In this case, ‘tradition’ is a nice way of framing the concepts of ‘we cheat a lot’ and ‘we purposely put out a lot of mis-information’. Essentially ku was one of the first programs to start recruiting nationally by offering improper benefits at a time before the NCAA policed that sort of activity, and they leveraged the success from doing so to essentially be above meaningful NCAA punishment from that point forward to continue acting in that manner. The last ku head coach to not be associated with an NCAA probation is W. O. Hamilton, whose final season at ku was the 1918-19 season. The best way to truly understand ku’s ‘tradition’ is to take a fact based look at the general topical concepts that make up that tradition.
- Great Moment in ku Tradition: Hiring the games inventor as a basketball coach
It appears Naismith actually stole both the rules of the game and its basic fundamental concepts from Lambert Will and just took credit without ever properly crediting Will. So there is no more proper place to start than Naismith. Naismith was actually hired by ku to be its Chapel Director, not its basketball coach. He eventually went on to become the only below .500 coach in ku history and lost every game he ever coached against MU. He was famously quoted to have advised Phog Allen upon hearing he wanted to go into coaching, “You can't coach basketball; you just play it."
- Great Moment in ku Tradition: ku wins its first conference championship in its first season of conference play
ku finished 6-0 in the inaugural Mo Valley season of play, 1 of only 2 schools to play more than 1 conference game that season, on their way to their first coveted conference regular season title. 4 years later they would again ‘win’ the Mo Valley with a 6-2 record despite Nebraska’s 8-0 finish, and the following year collect another conference championship going 7-3 to Nebraska’s 10-0. 7 of ku’s overall Conference Championships come during this period in the Mo Valley prior to any logical champion being determined.
- Great Moment in ku Tradition: ku wins its first National Title in 1922
The title was actually awarded to them 21 years later by the Helms Bakery Company by a former semi-pro baseball player and sports collector named Bill Schroeder. Schroeder picked only 1 team for each season and gave no support or justification for his selection of teams and players he likely never witnessed to evaluate. However, it is important to note that this ku team held a reunion every 5 years and as detailed in Phog Allen’s biography the players invited Bill Schroeder to their anniversary reunions. ku would finish the year at 16-2 overall, tied atop the Mo Valley standings with MU who went 16-1 overall. It was ku’s first Mo Valley title since 1915, it was MU’s 4th in the prior 5 years. The two teams split the head to head contests by an equal margin of 10 points, the Tigers lone loss by far the season low in output in terms of points. MU had defeated ku in 20 of the prior 24 meetings and as Phog Allen wrote in his autobiography about the ku upset:
““We were hoping and planning for breaks which might turn our misfortunes into a startling victorious upset…The Missourians had not lost a game. Kansas was not conceded a chance by well-informed dopesters. The Missouri Tigers were big and powerful. The Kansas Jayhawkers were shorter and lighter. They had a great outfit and really looked like much the better team.”
Basketball historians Patrick Premo and Phil Porretta both crunched large amounts of data now available in the modern age to compile retroactive rankings for the season, and independently both selected MU as the nation’s top team in 1922 for the second year in a row.
- Great Moments in ku Tradition: ku wins its second National Title in 1923
Similarly, this was awarded 20 years later by Bill Schroeder of the Helms Bakery. Again, this 17-1 ku team differs from the selections of both Patrick Premo and Phil Porretta who chose 17-0 Army because they had access to more information. The interesting distinction in this example is that similar to the 1922 season, ku’s media guide lists the final contest against MU as the ‘championship’ game of the season. Except in 1923, MU entered that game with already 2 losses on their record and that game would be their 3rd. Beating MU was in no way a national championship game.
- Great Moments in ku Tradition: Phog Allen comes up with the idea for the NCAA tournament
In an article appearing Jan 10th, 1935 Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp is quoted as saying, “"At the end of each season four or five teams throughout the country lay claim to a mythical national title. If the leading teams of each section would agree to play a round robin tournament in some centrally located city, like Chicago, a sort of Rose Bowl champion in basketball would be crowned each year." Five days later, Allen chimed in to support the idea.
Great Moments in ku Tradition: ku wins its first NCAA title in 1952
This was accomplished almost solely on the back of Clyde Lovellete, who is still the only player in history to lead the nation in scoring and win an NCAA title in the same season. He was named National Player of the Year for the 8th ranked jayhawks and captured NCAA Tourney MOP honors by scoring 31, 44, 33 and 33 in his four games, and set tournament records for points (141), rebounds (69), field goals (53) and free throws (35). In 1948 Lovellette, who was from Indiana, had already committed to home state IU. He went home to pick up some clothes and was next seen in Lawrence signing to play for the jayhawks who were coming off an impressive 9-15 record. As told to Ted O’Leary of the KC Star by Phog Allen and detailed in the ESPN Encyclopedia of Basketball: "There was nothing irregular in my recruitment of Wilt Chamberlain. But Clyde Lovellette - well, that's another story."
Great Moments in ku Tradition: ku wins the 1952 Olympic gold
As the NCAA champion, ku entered a tournament to determine representation on the squad. They defeated the NIT champs Lasalle, but lost to the AAU champs of Peoria Caterpiller-Diesels. As such 7 members of the Olympic team came from ku’s roster, and Phog Allen was the assistant coach as the loser in the Olympic Playoff tournament. The most prominent player on the team was A&M’s Bob Kurland, and the captain of the team was MU’s Dan Pippin.
Great Moments in ku Tradition: Wilt Chamberlain plays for the jayhawks
Chamberlain spoke of his recruitment and arrangement at ku in an article for the LA Times in 1985. He stated “the payment system was much more sophisticated than just giving an athlete cash. The boosters were delegated by a little group. They would say, 'OK, we will allow you, A, B and C, to go out and help to recruit Wilt Chamberlain, and you become like his godfather.' I had two or three godfathers. That way it wasn't sure where it was coming from. Everyone was assigned at least one godfather when I was at Kansas." On April 26th, 1960 ku basketball went on probation for the second time in 3 years for recruiting violations, this time stemming from their giving an Oldsmobile convertible to Chamberlain while a student athlete “to persuade him to continue his career at the University.” Chamberlain accepted and returned an additional year to lead ku to the National Championship game, which they lost in triple overtime to UNC.
Great Moments in ku Tradition: ku wins its 2nd NCAA title in 1988
After earning a 6 seed in the NCAA tournament for their 3rd place finish in the Big 8, being unranked the final 8 polls of the season and never entering the top 15, ku’s bracket fell apart and they faced an 11, 14, 7, and 4 seed on their path to a surprising Final Four. From their they had the benefit of essentially playing home games in Kansas City, and they rode the superstar play of Danny Manning (who decided to attend ku on the strength of their giving his father a fake job on the coaching staff) to the NCAA title. Immediately afterwards, ku would become the only men’s basketball program in NCAA history barred from defending their title by being placed on major probation. It would be the basketball program’s 2nd example of what is now defined by the NCAA as a ‘repeat violator’ for additional violations within a 5 year window, subject to the infamous NCAA death penalty except in cases determined to be ‘unique’ in nature. From the NCAA report:
“the university's disturbing failure to exercise appropriate institutional control over the men's intercollegiate basketball program. The university appeared before the committee in previously in connection with violations …and has had subsequent communications with the committee regarding the university's athletics administration. Although the university argued that it adopted procedures to ensure that all of its athletics programs comply with the terms of NCAA legislation, the violations found in this case indicate that these procedures were not implemented in the men's basketball program in a manner that accomplished this result. The committee also was troubled by statements by the university in its official response to the NCAA's letter of official inquiry and during the hearing before the committee that clear and admitted violations of NCAA regulations somehow should not be considered violations. Such statements diminished the committee's sense of confidence that the university was prepared to take institutional action to discipline individuals for whom it was responsible and who were involved in NCAA violations.”
- Great Moment in ku Tradition: an unknown builds a basketball powerhouse
Following the 1988 season, the jayhawks had a vacancy for their head coaching position. They were turned down by virtually every candidate they offered the position to, even SMS coach Charlie Spoonhire who was born in Kansas elected to stay at SMS rather than taking over the jayhawks. The job went to unknown and unproven UNC assistant Roy Williams. Williams then took a program barred from postseason play, that was losing its only star to graduation, and had won 1 Big 8 title the prior decade to its rival MU’s 6….and built according to Sagarin rankings the #4 program in the decade of the 1990’s. What wasn’t known until much later is that as early as 1989, Williams was aware of and gave approval to boosters to send payments to his players through the mail in undetectable fashion. If it had a functioning compliance department to detect this behavior, this would again have violated ku’s probation period and become their 3rd instance of being a ‘repeat violator’. From the NCAA report, which ku suggested no self imposing penalties on men’s basketball:
“Representative 2 said she had asked for permission to send the gifts and that both a former director of athletics and the former head men's basketball coach Roy Williams were aware that she was sending the gifts….Representative 3 stated that the former head men's basketball coach had told him it was permissible to provide "modest" amounts of money to senior men's basketball student-athletes who had either graduated or exhausted their eligibility. Williams claimed that he "ran it by the (compliance personnel)" at the institution when asked by boosters whether the provision of such gifts was allowable. Though he claimed that after he got a response from the compliance office he was of the opinion that such gifts were allowable, he could not recall with whom he had spoken or what information was given to him. Neither individual who worked in the compliance office during the relevant timeframe recalled ever having such a conversation with the former head men's basketball coach.”
- Great Moment in ku Tradition: ku wins its 3rd NCAA title in 2008
Despite zero wins over teams in the top 25 in Pomeroy’s rankings in the regular season and being seeded behind Texas in its own conference tournament, ku earns a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament and faces a 16, 8, 12, and 10 seed in route to the Final Four. There it is the beneficiary of a Memphis collapse to become the first men’s basketball program in NCAA history to win a title while on major probation. It is later revealed that per NCAA guidelines, ku’s leading and 3rd leading scorers in the title game were ineligible players meaning all games they participated in should have been vacated. ku’s top 6 players in the game include 2 ineligible players, a players whose father has a token job on the staff, a player who received over $5,000 in improper benefits during his recruitment, and a player who was accused of a sexual assault early in the year but which would not be made public until after the season.
Since that point, ku has AGAIN broken the NCAA’s definition of Lack of Institutional Control during their probationary period with a widespread ticket scandal investigation involving the FBI. There is no men’s basketball program in NCAA history with more instances of probation, nor of being a repeat offender by NCAA definition. From their recent NCAA report demonstrating how systematic their refusal to attempt to self-police in a manner which is the backbone of NCAA compliance:
“In its public report, the committee noted that the athletics department did not hire additional staff and provide more resources for its compliance office, even after an outside auditor recommended those changes and the chancellor instructed one of the former directors of athletics to make the changes after the former director of athletics was hired. Instead, the compliance officer was given additional duties and a new compliance position was not created or filled even though funds were allocated for the position, the committee noted. "No person in the institution's administration followed up to make sure he complied," the committee wrote in its report. "It was not until approximately 18 months later that the institutional administration realized that compliance was still understaffed." The compliance officer attributed her failure to report certain rules violations to her substantial workload and the fact that the position of compliance auditor was vacant for periods as long as six and 10 months during the relevant time frame (during those times she tried to do both jobs). When the compliance officer subsequently voiced her concerns to the then director of athletics, she was told by him that “compliance doesn't sell tickets.”
And that as they say, is the real ku.