It’s really hard to root for KU and Bill Self in this NCAA tourney

Bill Self

Bill Self

With their blinders on, some University of Kansas fans don’t care much if some of the basketball team’s players haven’t been angels in the past.

It’s enough for these fans that the Jayhawks are a No. 1 seed in NCAA postseason play. It’s time to cheer, cheer and cheer some more for KU when it plays U.C. Davis on Friday in March Madness, pursuing its first national title since 2008.

Sorry, count this 1977 KU alum out. It’s really hard to root for the Jayhawks in the tournament — and that’s a change from so many other years when the basketball team did not suffer from self-inflicted damage.

The well-reported incidents involving Josh Jackson, Lagerald Vick and Carlton Bragg Jr. certainly have given the KU program a rogue-like look this year.

And legendary coach Bill Self hasn’t helped matters.

On Thursday, it was learned from a court affidavit that Self attended Jackson’s interview with police around 5:45 a.m. on Dec. 9. That was the morning Jackson is now accused of vandalizing a car belonging to McKenzie Calvert, a member of KU’s women’s basketball squad.

Here’s The Kansas City Star’s story on the affidavit, which includes the news that Jackson allegedly said “he would beat her ass” about Calvert.

Given the fact that so many KU fans are angered that The Star has been relentless — and correct — on its reporting on this incident, here’s The Lawrence Journal-World story about the affidavit. It has the same facts, folks.

(One of the disconcerting facts in the affidavit is that the Lawrence police didn’t interview other witnesses until Jan. 30, almost two months after the incident.)

Self has refused to say what kind of punishment was meted out to his star freshman. So have other KU officials.

Self also has not said what if anything happened to Vick. According to The Star, Vick likely hit McKenzie Calvert “multiple times in late 2015.” While school probation was recommended, KU won’t say whether that happened.

Yes, I know: KU officials claim they can’t confirm or talk about what did or didn’t happen to Vick, mostly because of federal laws protecting privacy.

The court case involving Jackson — his arraignment on the car vandalism charges is set for mid-April — could fill in some of the blanks about that incident.

True, McKenzie Calvert doesn’t come off particularly well in some of this. She admits to throwing a drink on Vick on Dec. 9. But she also reportedly was the victim of the Jackson threat and car bashing that night.

Tim Calvert, her father, has been in The Star often while talking about the incident as well as how KU reportedly punished his daughter, but not Jackson. Giving Tim Calvert a platform has angered many readers. However, it’s a dad defending his daughter. And he has reason to, since it appears Jackson has escaped with no real punishment such as missing games.

In the end, I feel bad for Frank Mason, the Big 12 player of the year, and some other Jayhawk players.

Their accomplishments this year come with a big asterisk — one that will get even bigger for KU’s team if it doesn’t go far in the NCAA tourney this spring.

4 Thoughts.

  1. I’m glad the Star continues to report on the issues at KU, but I also think the Star hasn’t been as vigorous as it should have been in asking questions.

    Example: Today, Josh Jackson took questions from reporters. As best I can tell, no one from the Star (or any other news outlet, for that matter) asked Jackson 1) what discipline did Self impose after the confrontation in the bar parking lot, and 2) did he say to Calvert that he would “beat her ass.” Why didn’t they ask? Did they think Self/KU/fans would get even madder at them?

    And, on top of it all, Jackson was only 19 last December. What’s he doing at a bar at 2:00 in the morning anyway?

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