Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dirty Deeds, Not Done Cheap

As I sat on my couch, smoking cigarettes and watching Killer Chimps is America (a great pregame to Oregon/Oregon State, by the way), my phone alerted me of of incoming text message. It was from a coworker of mine who also happens to be a Missouri fan. It read: "Mangino resigns."

I just stared at the message, with perhaps a blink, took another drag and continued watching what is probably the greatest episode of Monsterquest ever. I knew this was inevitable. Kansas Athletic Director Lew Perkins seemingly had it out for Mark Mangino. But then I went over to my laptop, found the article and read this:

"I have been instructed by legal counsel that we cannot release any documents related to this investigation, nor any details regarding our settlement agreement. The investigation and settlement agreement will remain part of Mark's personnel records."

In other words, the firestorm over Mangino's alleged physical and verbal abuse of players is over. Put down the pitchforks, Frankenstein is gone. The big, ugly monster is no longer going to terrorize the streets of Lawrence.

But where, I ask, has all the anger gone? Because last time I checked, Mangino had done a definite wrong and needed to be punished. Is firing him and (surely) paying him off a punishment? When did this story go from protecting the victims to saving face?

There doesn't seem to be any repercussions for Mangino's alleged acts. Which leads me to believe that Perkins engineered this all along, which is a view many Jayhawk fans have. The theory goes something like this: Mangino wasn't Perkins' guy, so he had him removed to make way for a new coach that Perkins has penned as the guy to take KU football to the next level. I'm not saying the players who accused the coach were lying, but were probably encouraged. Makes me wonder how many players at other universities are gagged when the coach they accused had a healthy relationship with their A.D.

So if this is the case, whoever the new coach is will be a very interesting follow. If this power play works, then Perkins may well be a genius. It's obvious he wants more than anything to make Kansas' football program matter on a national stage. Can he do it, or will this cripple the program?

Jim Harbaugh's name has been thrown out, which is a pretty lofty goal. But if Harbaugh or some other sexy pick lands in Lawrence, and Perkins' plan works, will it be worth it? Is ruining a man's reputation for the sake of glory make any sense ethically? Probably not, but it won't matter, because if this program rises to the top under whoever the next coach is, Mangino will be nothing more than an egg that needed to be cracked to make the omelet.

I like Mangino, but I'm alright with this. Ethics doesn't really seem to matter in sports anymore. Actually, it never has, this episode was just made public. I'm glad my school is willing to do what it takes to build a winner. Admittedly, this makes me a little sad to confess, but it's the truth. It's just the way it is.


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