Lew Perkins Calls Secret Meeting: Is Mark Mangino's Job in Jeopardy?
Last night, Monday, Nov. 16, a meeting was called between the University of Kansas football players and athletic director Lew Perkins to discuss concerns about head coach Mark Mangino.
The Lawrence Journal World stated that the parents of former players were also present and allowed to discuss their opinions on the issue as well.
This is all horrendous news for the Kansas football team, which is already reeling into the football abyss. The last thing any team needs before it faces the undefeated Texas Longhorns is more problems.
Yet, just like the fights before the Jayhawks' first Big 12 road game and loss against Colorado earlier this season, problems seem to find the football team, anyway.
My initial reaction to a rumor about a player meeting with Perkins was simply that Perkins expected better results, as did we all, from the Jayhawks this season. I've often heard opinions that Perkins and Mangino have never been on particularly good terms, and it is also important to remember that Perkins did not hire Mangino.
It wouldn't surprise me if maybe Perkins simply called the meeting to get the general outlook on Mangino, possibly looking for a little extra incentive to bring in his own guy. It sounds low but this is still a business and Lew Perkins is boss.
Why would Perkins want to toss Mangino, though? Despite the rumors, I've never seen any proof of negative relations between Perkins and Mangino.
Our current head coach is also the man who brought an Orange Bowl victory to the program and the most prominent success Kansas football has ever had.
Plus, Perkins has shown his support by extending Mangino's contract not just once, but twice. In both 2006 and 2008, Mangino's contract was extended, and it currently sways to the tune of approximately $2.3 million.
Then again, that's a lot of money to pay a coach, quality or not, who may turn out a losing record this season with arguably the most talent he's ever had. That could be inspiration enough for Perkins to start looking for a reason.
This is the situation I was sincerely hoping for, actually, but it now appears things may be far worse.
The Lawrence Journal World also stated that the content of the meeting was believed to be over specific incidents or the general relationship between Mangino and a specific player.
In fact, even more recently, 810 Sports Radio Kansas City cited comments from several people such as Mangino himself, Todd Reesing, and others.
What can be pieced together at the moment is that there have been allegations towards Mangino's inappropriate treatment and even excessive physical contact of a player. Senior linebacker Arist Wright's name seems to be most closely linked to the story at this time, although nothing has been officially released about the possible victim or who inspired Perkins to call the meeting in the first place.
The fact that parents of former athletes were present at last night's meeting is raising questions about potentially similar situations that have occurred in the past as well.
A number of players are calling for immediate action, too. Because the investigation will be a process, Mangino will likely have the opportunity to guide the Jayhawks through Saturday's contest with Texas (for whatever that opportunity is worth).
Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, though, will be on alert, because some very influential athletes are calling for him to take over the head-coaching duties A.S.A.P., for the Border Showdown with Missouri at least.
Let me point out that I am, in every way, an avid Mangino supporter. The other day, I wrote an entire article vouching for the safety of his job during these turbulent times and bashing his coordinators instead.
It's extremely difficult for me, however biased, to believe that Mangino has ever mistreated a player in any sort of overly inappropriate manner.
The more I've thought about it, though, all I ever hear about Mangino is how tough a football coach he is, and that he's a fierce critic. Coming from a football coach, this can sometimes be positive, but it's not unheard of for an intense coach to go overboard.
Also, any good KU fan knows that his doghouse has a tight cage around it. Jeff Spikes recently fell in for a time but his services were necessary to save Todd Reesing's health from Nebraska wrecking ball Ndamukong Suh. Anthony Davis is another guy who fell in early, yet managed to work his way out again.
Remember Raimond Pendleton and the infamous penalty-on-the-punt-return rant he got from Mangino? He got tossed in the dumps shortly after (as a sophomore) and remains there to this day as a senior.
How about Carmon Boyd-Anderson and Donte Bean? The two had plenty of potential to be contributors right now but instead transferred as their opportunities in games mysteriously disappeared midway through their freshman season in 2007.
Remember Gary Green? At one time he was touted as the best all-purpose running back recruit in Kansas' history, but had very limited opportunities as a freshman. He was tossed around from position to position until graduating last summer.
I guess Mangino does have a tendency to be a little harsh on specific individuals, but still, from the bottom of my heart, I hope this meeting was nothing more than an athletic director's evaluation of a struggling football team's head coach.
For KU's sake, for Mangino's sake, and for our football program's sake.
It sadly doesn't appear as if that is the case, however.
I have absolute and complete faith in our old head coach and he will always be one of my favorites. However, if something did happen and action absolutely needs to be taken, I hope that action is taken soon, even if it does mean Clint Bowen will get a temporary promotion.
In fact, the sooner this issue is resolved, the better.
Texas isn't about to wait around for the Jayhawks or Bowen.
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