The poor play of the University of Kansas football team is starting to cause difficulties for the school’s vaunted basketball program.
Take the smackdown of KU’s so-called Fieldhouse Apartments.
The outlandishly expensive, $17.5 million dollar apartment complex represents a failed recruitment tool schmooze for KU basketball coach Bill Self.
“Housing, where our student-athletes reside now, is way, way, way, way behind what the competitors would be housing their student-athletes in, in a big way,” Self has stated. “In order for us to maintain and even exceed what we’ve been doing, there are certain things that have to be done…Bells and whistles are very, very important…It’s for the benefit, and certainly for the development, of the student-athletes.”
However a Kansas Legistlative Committee shot down KU athletics request for financing.
The reason why?
“Here’s the deal,” says a source close to the situation. “Former KU athletics director Lew Perkins left KU in a lurch because we’ve got so much debt with all the football facilities, Allen Field House and on and on. He also raised a lot of money, but the athletics department doesn’t have any borrowing capacity. So Lew did a lot of good things, but he left the athletics department cash strapped.”
Which is why KU had to partner up with a controversial Lawrence developer to build the $22 million-plus Rock Chalk Park currently under construction, the source says.
That’s also why the athletics department had to seek funding authorization from the state, “Because KU can’t afford it,” the source says. “They needed to get the legislators to fund it. They wanted to use the state’s borrowing capacity.”
Which brings us to the villain in all this: KU football.
“The football program is kind of what’s dragging them down,” says the source. “Because to compete, they’re going to have to do something big, big, big at Memorial Stadium and that’s the main priority. They’ll be able to raise a lot of money privately, but not (enough) because of the way they’re playing. If they’d have had enough money (to do the Fieldhouse Apartments), they’d just have done anything they wanted.”
The bottom line on the state shooting down Self’s pricey pipe dream:
“If you’re a state legislator and you have a backbone and you realize that the primary goal of a state institution is to educate people – not to cater to athletes who are going to be making tens of millions after coming to KU for one year – it’s a no brainer.”