The Kansas basketball TV deal everyone hates is ruining my life

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Photo by Nick Krug of the Lawrence Journal-World. View his slideshow from the San Diego State game on KUSports.com

I want the University of Kansas to succeed. I do. And I know that a university’s success, and especially a university athletic department’s success, is often measured in dollars.

So I wasn’t mad in 2013 when KU signed its tier 3 television rights deal to show six games a year on some weird Time Warner (or, in Wichita, Cox) channel that I can never hope to access with DirecTV. Of course, I didn’t live in Kansas in 2013, so the agreement to stream these games on ESPN3 worked just fine for me.

It’s only this season — my first full season in the state of Kansas since the deal was signed — that I noticed these games are blacked out on ESPN3 in the state of Kansas. There is no legal way to stream them at our house.

That, combined with the San Diego State game being on CBS Sports and a trip to the pet store that took way longer than I expected, means I’ve seen the Jayhawks play just four nonconference games this season. Woof.

When I lived in Texas and Iowa, watching KU basketball kept me connected to home. Now that I’m — as the name of this blog suggests — almost home, I feel disconnected from the team I love. It’s like having lunch with an old friend and realizing you know nothing about her life anymore.

How am I supposed to participate in Twitter arguments about playing time when I’ve barely watched the team play? How can I justify a public meltdown about a loss to an inferior team if I don’t see the loss to an inferior team? How do I prepare myself for the Big 12 season without the makeshift film study that comes from viewing hours of live basketball?

I can’t get those six games back, and I’m admittedly good to go for the rest of seasons, with all remaining games airing on ESPN or CBS. I could avoid this problem next year by installing Cox cable at home, and heck, maybe I will. But that’s a year off.

For now, I’m hatching a plan to reconnect with the team and fanbase that first taught me to love basketball (and eventually all sports) and gave me a mostly healthy outlet for basically all of my feelings. It starts, I think, with a watch party.

I’ll be dragging my introverted, budget-conscious husband to The Nodding Donkey (uptown) on Jan. 2 to watch Kansas-Baylor with the Dallas alumni. (Or maybe I’ll drive myself down there or take an Uber or something. To be honest, I haven’t yet discussed this with him. Hi, honey!) Yes, there’s a perfectly good TV at my in-laws’ house, where we’re staying, but The Nodding Donkey is where my people will be. And I need to be with my people right now.

So, if you happen to be in Dallas that day, come say hi. Let’s bond, Jayhawks.

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