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Monthly Archives: December 2010
Dec. 17, 20109:24 a.m.
From the Eagle’s Chris Elliott:
Dec. 16, 20109:53 a.m.
Kansas coach Bill Self has suspended senior forward Mario Little indefinitely after his arrest early this morning.
Little, who in police reports is accused of pushing his girlfriend into a sink, was arrested and booked at the Douglas County Jail on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass, criminal damage to property and battery, according to a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office employee.
“Mario remains a member of our team while we work through this process,” Self said in a statement, “but we have suspended him indefinitely from competition while we gather the facts of this incident. Mario exercised very poor judgment in his handling of a situation. We’re disappointed in his behavior; it’s unfortunate that our university, our program and his teammates all have to deal with this negative issue.”
According to Lawrence Police Sgt. Matt Sarna, Little went to 1231 Ohio Street early this morning to see his girlfriend, a 22-year-old Lawrence resident who is a former KU basketball manager. Little got into an altercation there with a 19-year-old male Lawrence resident. Little’s girlfriend then ran to a friend’s apartment at 1241 Ohio, where a gathering was taking place.
Little followed his girlfriend and entered the apartment, where he allegedly pushed another 22-year-old woman in an attempt to find his girlfriend. After finding his girlfriend in an upstairs bedroom, Little allegedly battered her and pushed her into a sink.
Another man, a 24-year-old male Lawrence resident, tried to break up Little and his girlfriend and was shoved into a desk by Little. Several persons subdued Little until police arrived at about 2:45 a.m. and arrested him.
Self said today at his weekly news conference that he would not characterize the woman as Little’s girlfriend. Self also said she was a basketball manager as of a few weeks ago.
The 19-year-old man suffered minor injuries to his head, and Little’s girlfriend had injuries to her neck, but neither were treated at the scene. Little was booked at 5:14 a.m. on four counts of battery, two counts of criminal damage to property and one count of criminal trespass. He posted $700 bail and was released.
Little, a Chicago native, transferred to KU in 2008 after two seasons at Chipola (Fla.) Junior College. He is averaging 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds this season.
“I apologize for what happened last night,” Little said in the statement. “I feel awful, and I understand that I will have to deal with the consequences of my actions. I accept responsibility for those actions, and I apologize to my teammates for being irresponsible.”
Dec. 14, 20104:55 p.m.
Bubba Cunningham is the University of Kansas’ choice for its next athletic director, but a deal to hire him is not complete, a source close to the situation said.
Cunningham, 48, has been the athletic director at the University of Tulsa since October 2005. The Tulsa World reported this afternoon that Cunningham will be introduced as KU’s next athletic director at a news conference Wednesday or Thursday. The World also reported that Tulsa officials tried to negotiate a new contract with Cunningham last week, but he declined. The website SportsbyBrooks.com first reported Cunningham was KU’s selection.
When contacted by The Eagle today, Ray Evans, the chair of KU’s athletic director search committee, would not confirm that Kansas had offered Cunningham the job or the Tulsa World report.
Cunningham emerged early on as one of the hottest names coming out of athletic-director circles nationally and was one of at least three names submitted to KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little by the search committee, which spent the last three months identifying potential successors to former KU athletic director Lew Perkins, who retired in September. Gray-Little was expected to make a decision this week.
Evans, a former KU football player, said last week that each candidate had been vetted to make sure there would be no concerns about character.
If he comes to KU, Cunningham will need to rebuild trust among fans in the wake of several scandals in the past year, including questions about Perkins’ excessive travel and alleged receipt of improper gifts and the misuse of $2 million worth of tickets that led to the resignations of at least seven top athletic department staff members, five of whom were indicted last month by a federal grand jury.
“The one thing we all agreed on obviously with all the issues we’ve had was high integrity,” Evans said. “No issues of compliance problems or dishonesty. It sounds like that’s a given, but what we’ve learned, that’s not a given. That was issue No. 1.”
Cunningham worked at Notre Dame, his alma mater, for 15 years in a variety of roles before becoming athletic director at Ball State, where he remained for three years before taking the Tulsa job. Cunningham is a proven fundraiser who has hired two successful football coaches: Brady Hoke at Ball State (he’s now the coach at San Diego State) and Todd Graham at Tulsa.
As an associate athletic director at Notre Dame, Cunningham negotiated the school’s footwear contract and created marketing teams for all 26 varsity sports, helping to increase corporate sponsorship income by 400 percent. He also negotiated with Westwood One for football radio rights and helped plan and complete a $50 million renovation and 20,000-seat expansion of Notre Dame Stadium.
At Ball State, in his first athletic director job, Cunningham raised money to get portable lights at the football stadium, which allowed the Cardinals to play their first night game. He also began the now-completed push to get the stadium renovated.
“He was amazing with our donors and with the fans,” Ball State associate athletic director Joe Hernandez told The Star last week. “He did a great job getting them engaged. Corporate sponsorships grew tremendously under his guidance. He brought in a different attitude than we were used to.”
Most importantly, Cunningham hired Hoke, who delivered in 2008 with a 12-0 regular season that put the Cardinals as high as No. 12 in the BCS rankings. By then, Cunningham had been at Tulsa for three years.
“I don’t know if there’s a classier, more well-rounded guy who cares about the student-athletes and their experience as much as Bubba,” Hoke said. “He’s a great organizer, a great communicator and a tremendous person. We hated to lose him, I can tell you that.”
Dec. 13, 20103:26 p.m.
Kansas coach Bill Self and his prized freshman guard, Josh Selby, both spoke on Monday leading up to Selby’s highly-anticipated college debut on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse against Southern California.
The highlights? Well, don’t expect the kid to go off for 30. Self says that he doesn’t think he’ll start Selby (although he hasn’t made a final decision), and Selby says he is prepared to take a backseat because the KU offense runs through Marcus and Markieff Morris.
“The only thing I’d like to do is just don’t mess up the chemistry of my team already,” Selby said. “They have great chemistry already. You can see it when you watch the game.”
Self said that Selby would play off the ball, letting junior Tyshawn Taylor handle the point-guard duties in the early going.
“If he and Ty are in the game at the same time, I’ll play Tyshawn on the ball the majority of the time,” Self said. “We tried to make Mario (Chalmers) a point guard from day one, but when we moved him off the ball and let Russell (Robinson) do it, the game was so much easier. Josh will end up being a true point guard in time, but it’s a lot to throw at a guy. You’re not only responsible for yourself, but you’re responsible for every single possession. I’d rather put that on Tyshawn than him right now.”
Selby maintained that he doesn’t feel he did anything wrong by accepting impermissible benefits from adviser Bay Frazier, who mentored him during the recruiting process. But he acknowledges how lucky he feels to not have suffered the same fate as Kentucky freshman Enes Kanter, who was ruled ineligible permanently by the NCAA.
Selby said his grandmother and mother, Maeshon Witherspoon, were worried that he would not be cleared to play. They will be at the game Saturday.
“You’ll see lots of tears,” Selby said.