A Dallas Morning News editorial writer is saying that the top-ranked KU men’s basketball program is getting off easy amid its off-the-court problems because the troubles at Baylor are soaking up all the headlines.
“The coach of the nation’s No. 1 college basketball team — the University of Kansas Jayhawks — must be thanking his lucky stars that fellow Big 12 offender Baylor continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons,” Sharon Grigsby writes in a column titled “As Baylor sucks up all the headlines, who cares that nation’s No. 1 Jayhawks are behaving badly?”
“Lost in the daily drama Baylor provides is the sorry state of affairs within the Jayhawks athletics operation, especially its blue-blood basketball program, run by coach Bill Self. ... The off-the-court Jayhawks behavior seems to be getting a giant free pass from most of the media.”
Grigsby is referring to a series of events in Lawrence involving KU basketball players that The Star has documented, most recently a misdemeanor property damage charge being filed Friday against star freshman Josh Jackson. The charge relates to a Dec. 9 vandalism of a KU women’s basketball player’s car outside the Yacht Club bar. That player, McKenzie Calvert, is the same woman whom a university investigation found Lagerald Vick, Jackson’s teammate, probably committed domestic violence against more than a year ago.
On that same day, The Star reported that since Calvert reported the vandalism to Lawrence police, her minutes per game had been nearly cut in half.
“Self, who must be the most Teflon-coated of college coaches, maintains that Jackson was disciplined, but he won’t provide details,” Grigsby writes. “We do know this: Self says Jackson won’t miss any future games — nor has he missed any so far this season.” She goes on to call Self “tone-deaf.”
“What kind of message is the University of Kansas sending — especially to its female students? Particularly in regard to Calvert and her lost playing time. At the very least, KU, provide some clarity to clear up the terrible optics.”
Grigsby says there has been a lack of attention on KU from sports commentators because they’ve been “all over” the Baylor stories.
The most recent of those was over the weekend, when Kim Mulkey, the Baylor women’s basketball coach, offered a stirring and tone-deaf defense of the school as it faces allegations of sexual assault.
After winning her 500th game as a head coach, Mulkey stood in the center of the basketball arena and told fans, “If somebody’s around you and they ever say, ‘I will never send my daughter to Baylor,’ you knock them right in the face.”
The scandal, which has resulted in a lawsuit alleging that football players committed 52 sexual assaults over a four-year period, has cost Art Briles his job as football coach and brought about the exit of Ken Starr as the school’s president and law professor, the athletic director and the Title IX coordinator.
Grigsby pulled no punches regarding the Jayhawks:
“With March Madness fast approaching, Vick and Jackson simply play on.”