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. Continue reading

Iowa State is the new enemy, Jayhawks

They used to say Kansas State is our rival, but Missouri is our enemy. Conference realignment has complicated that, but tonight is the dawn of a new era.

Saturday’s win over K-State was fun, but it didn’t compare to the satisfaction of beating Missouri. Other than an irritating penchant for camouflage, Kansas State and its fans don’t bother me. We’re brothers.

Not so with Missouri. I hate everything Missouri stands for. Every victory over Missouri felt like a moral triumph.

This is for Quantrill’s raid.

This is for celebrating Quantrill’s raid 150 years later.

This is for the time Missouri fans took a shit in my friend’s grill at Arrowhead Stadium.

This is for that horrific video you made a few years back.

Now we’re left with no one in the conference to hate, and that just won’t do. May I suggest: Iowa State.

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There’s no room for divas in Lawrence

WigginsDecisionI had a really great day on Tuesday. Andrew Wiggins, the top basketball prospect in the nation, declared he was headed to Kansas. Maybe you heard. People were talking about it.

Kansas fans are used to missing out on top recruits. We hate televised announcements. We never win hat ceremonies. Four of the top 10 Rivals.com recruits (and five of the top 11) have committed to Kentucky. The other schools with top-10 recruits: Arizona, Duke, Indiana, and Florida (with two).

None of these schools happened to have invented college basketball, but they’re all storied programs and perennial contenders. The best recruits — the ones with serious NBA ambitions — pick schools like Kentucky because the national exposure can’t be beat.

Or they pick a dark horse — like, say, the No. 18 prospect Keith Frazier committing to SMU — so they can outshine their significantly less talented teammates. (The fact that Kansas great Larry Brown coaches the Mustangs probably didn’t hurt.)

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An Open Letter to Ben McLemore

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Photo by the Lawrence Journal-World’s Nick Krug, who always captures Kansas basketball perfectly.

You can still be a Jayhawk, Ben McLemore. Just don’t be a stranger.

Nobody was surprised today when you announced your plans to head off to the NBA. You’ve scored more points than any other freshman at KU. DraftExpress projects you as the No. 2 overall draft pick this year. NBADraft.net has you going first. And every mock draft has you going in the top five. This is your time. It’s your chance to start your career and take care of your family. Nobody can begrudge you that.

The fans will be OK. The team will be OK. Every year we lose talent to graduation or the NBA and resign ourselves to a horrible season, and every year Bill Self finds a way to win.

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Are Kansas fans ready to talk about 2003?

One of my coworkers found this lying around and gave it to me because, well, I’m me. 20130311-014645.jpg

He even joked “Don’t say I never gave you anything,” as if the 2002-2003 Kansas basketball media guide wasn’t a legitimate gift. He could have wrapped it up with a birthday card last month and I would have gushed over the thoughtful gift he pulled from a desk somewhere. It’s the greatest work swag I’ve ever received. (So thanks, Richard Croome.)

The 15-year-old Sarah Kelly loved Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison. I have a soft spot for goofy-looking white players from places like Iowa (or Minnesota, in the case of Cole Aldrich). So it caught the 25-year-old self off guard yesterday when I noticed Kirk was in the bracket for Grantland’s most hated college players of the last 30 years. I’ve never met anyone who even disliked Kirk, so how exactly did he end up in this (otherwise totally brilliant) assembly alongside Joakim Noah and Tyler Hansbrough?

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On senior years and senior nights at Kansas

Alpha Delta Pi's 2010 seniors at the beginning of the best year of my life

Alpha Delta Pi’s 2010 seniors at the beginning of the best year of my life

I loved being a senior at KU so much that I did it twice.

Well, my second senior year was just a semester, but only because I was set to graduate and couldn’t justify the expense of adding a minor and staying one more semester. It’s a shame, though, because I was just starting to get good at school.

For most of my life, I associated school with rejection. More than a few classmates told me I could be popular if only I would lose some weight. More than a lot of teachers told me I could have good grades if only I would try harder. I was always in trouble for talking out of turn or forgetting my permission slip or losing my homework. I couldn’t do anything right for 15 years.

My senior year of college came around and suddenly other girls thought I was funny, boys thought I was pretty, my professors thought I was smart, and employers thought I was competent.

I loved feeling like I knew what I was doing, loved feeling like I’d found my place. Eighteen years after I first set foot on campus, making myself comfortable in the children’s section of the Kansas Union book store while my mom was in class, Mt. Oread began to feel like home.

So it won’t surprise anyone that I love Senior Night at KU. And I know I’m no the only Jayhawk who loves senior night because Kansas is one of few schools where the fans stay after the game to honor the outgoing class. There’s something so perfect about capping off the regular season by honoring all the progress these kids have made over the last few years.

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Introducing “Good” Elijah Johnson

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Photo by Reese Strickland/USA TODAY Sports

Y’all… Where do I even start?

I wanted to write about retiring Mario Chalmers’ jersey (happy birthday to me!), or about Thomas Robinson being traded to Houston (100 miles from my house!), or about Marcus Morris joining Markieff in Phoenix (!!!) but I got busy. So I thought I’d write about Bill Self’s 500th win, but Elijah Johnson blacked out and scored 39 points in a 108-96 overtime win over Iowa State.

So let me open with this:

“This is my team until I leave.”

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