The Kansas Jayhawks are coming off a huge win at Kentucky this weekend but are in the news as much for their off-the-court shenanigans as they are for their on-the-court heroics.
The Kansas Jayhawks are the second most winningest school in college basketball history, they have been ranked in the top five most of the season, are coming off one of their biggest road wins in recent memory, and are facing the team they are tied with for the Big 12 Conference lead on Wednesday night.
Still, the Jayhawks are in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, and it is getting old fast.
A week ago, it was reported on KUSports.com that a rape of a sixteen-year-old girl was being investigated. The reported assault took place in McCarthy Hall, the swanky new dorm where the Kansas basketball players reside, with several other students.
While it does not appear that any players were directly involved, five were listed as possible witnesses on the police report, according to the Kansas City Star.
Then, Carlton Bragg Jr. was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. Bragg was later arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and will have to appear in court in February, according to KUSports.com.
This is the second time this season Bragg has been connected with a crime. Earlier in the season, he was held on suspicion of assault, but evidently, a video showed his innocence and he was released.
"According to information obtained by The Star, sophomore Lagerald Vick was accused of punching the student in the arm more than once and kicking her in the face. The university’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access investigated from late December 2015 into January 2016 and determined Vick likely committed domestic violence."
This alleged crime took place more than a year ago, but there has been no public discipline by head coach Bill Self. That does not mean it hasn’t been handled internally, but from the outside, it does not reflect well on the program.
Kansas fans cannot be happy with their players making the news due to possible criminal activity instead of their play on the hardwood.
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The Jayhawks are winning but at what cost?
Who is monitoring these youngsters? Yes, they have to be responsible for their actions, but the nature of these crimes calls into question the character of these young men.
The person overseeing this program is Bill Self. The buck stops there. No, he is not directly involved in any of these alleged crimes, but he has recruited these players to the KU campus.
It is his responsibility to recruit players who are not only good players he can mold into winning teams but also recruit players who are good citizens.
One issue is that Self has a coach on staff who was arrested nearly three years ago for marijuana possession. Jerrence Howard was suspended for a mere two weeks by Self in February 2015, according to ESPN.
Howards’ continued presence on staff cannot be helpful when trying to set a good example for players. In fact, it is hypocritical, and it looks bad.
Kansas will be in the spotlight, nationally and locally. Their program’s history and Self’s incredible record of winning ensures that it will be so. Self, his coaches, and players must always be aware of the scrutiny that will surround them and must act accordingly.
Everyone needs to keep themselves out of situations where they can get in trouble. Yes, youngsters will do dumb things, but these athletes need to understand right and wrong, and know they represent more than just themselves. They represent the university and their community.
These are serious crimes for college basketball players. They blemish the reputations of the players themselves, their university, and their coach.
Bill Self is a Hall of Fame candidate this season for his incredible accomplishments on the court. Now, he needs to take a look at the people he is recruiting. He needs to make sure they have a strong character and are good citizens.
The buck stops with Bill Self. He needs to do better, and it has nothing to do with his on-the-court coaching skills.
Winning is great, but it should not come at the price of an expanded police blotter. These emerging stories will put a damper on what should be an exciting game against Baylor on Wednesday for first place in the Big 12.
It is a shame such a good season has had such awful shadows cast upon it. The University of Kansas and its fans should expect excellent behavior off the court as well as outstanding play on the court. Right now, they are embarrassed.