Kansas Needs To Fire Athletic Director For Role In Mangino Investigation

Denny K.Correspondent INovember 29, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 28:  Quarterback Todd Reesing #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks carries the ball on a keeper during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Arrowhead Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

We can only imagine what Mark Mangino thought as Grant Ressel's 27-yard field goal gave the Missouri Tigers a 41-39 victory over Kansas on Saturday. 

Despite being one of the most exciting games in the Big 12 this season, the loss capped a seven-game losing streak for the Jayhawks and potentially became the final nail in the coffin of Mark Mangino’s eight-year coaching career at Kansas.

Along with the disappointing 2009 season for the Jayhawks on the gridiron, the investigation by the university into allegations of verbal abuse of players by Mangino has dragged on with no resolution for more than two weeks now.

Regardless of the outcome of Mark Mangino's coaching future at Kansas, one thing is clear: Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins should be fired.

Perkins has conducted the investigation into the claims of abuse by Mangino in an unprofessional and incompetent manner.  The athletic director has failed to lead when Kansas needed leadership.  For this he has lost the respect necessary to administer the athletic department.

What exactly has Perkins done that is so awful?  For starters, he organized a secret (albeit poorly kept) meeting with the entire football team, without the coaching staff present, with two games remaining on the Jayhawks' schedule.

The existence of this meeting was bewilderingly not kept confidential by Perkins and it was never explained to the public why it was necessary to carry out the meeting in the middle of the season as opposed to after.  It is hard to see why else Perkins would have instigated this investigation during the season other than to ratchet up the pressure on Mangino and undermine the efforts of the football team.

Perkins undercut Mangino and the football team's season.  The week of the players’ only meeting also saw the leaking of several pieces of private information by the athletic department to the press concerning matters related to the investigation. 

Specific details of the complaints against Mangino devoid of any context mysteriously emerged along with a two-year-old story about a parking ticket incident Mangino was involved in.

This is a sad example of leadership on Perkins' part. 

The bottom line is that as athletic director he is responsible for those leaks to the press.  Arguably nothing works against the trustworthiness of an administration more than its own blatant disregard for the rules.

The leaking of confidential information to the press, especially when it occurs in such an obviously concerted way designed to damage the public reputation of a person, is simply unethical and should not be tolerated.  It has made the investigation into the complaints against Mangino a farce. 

This is disrespectful to not only Mangino, but the accusers themselves as allegations have not been given the impartial and fair scrutiny they deserve.

Perkins is no stranger to controversies like this.  The end of his tenures as athletic director at Connecticut and Maryland were met with cheers by many at those schools because of ham-fisted and unprofessional tactics like these.

Whatever you may think about Mangino, there ought to be consensus that Perkins handled this entire matter far from professionally.  Whether or not this failure results in termination, it is a question worthy of conversation. 

Ultimately, it will be up to the University of Kansas to decide whether or not they want to reward such behavior in an administrator with future employment.


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