Last week we announced we will not host fans at Kansas Athletics competitions for the rest of November in light of the regional surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
I write today to inform you that we will continue to not host fans during the first week of December, which includes all events through and including Saturday, Dec. 5. For contests after that week, we will make decisions about attendance on a week-by-week basis so we can be responsive to the most current circumstances and medical guidance.
This decision has been made after consultation with our Pandemic Medical Advisory Team and other university leaders. We will continue consulting this group regarding upcoming events and will communicate updates with you as appropriate.
We know this is disappointing to those of you who planned to be on campus to root for the Jayhawks in early December. While we are not aware of any incidents of COVID-19 transmission at any home athletics competitions, the recent spike in cases and hospitalizations across the region makes it unwise to host fans at this time.
As I wrote in last week’s message, this is a critical moment for our state and nation. Throughout the fall, Douglas County has had lower positivity rates than most other parts of the region, thanks to the commitment of our community to curb the spread of the virus. But the spread of the disease in neighboring regions has caught up to us. Kansas and adjacent states are at a tipping point, with the number of new COVID-19 cases increasing each day, and hospitals at or near capacity. The next few weeks will be crucial, particularly as many of us consider whether to gather for the holidays.
Now is the time for each of us to renew our commitment to mitigation efforts, particularly with respect to mask-wearing and social distancing, which have served us well so far. Each of us must commit to thinking not only about ourselves, but about the entire community, in every decision we make. The safety of our friends, families, colleagues, classmates and neighbors depends on it.
On May 7, The University of Kansas Office of Public Affairs issued the following statement regarding the NCAA reply to the Notice of Allegations. More at: publicaffairs.ku.edu/noa
“The NCAA enforcement staff’s reply does not in any way change the University of Kansas’ position that the allegations brought against our men’s basketball program are simply baseless and littered with false representations. As the federal trial proved, adidas employees intentionally concealed impermissible payments from the University and its coaching staff. The University has never denied these impermissible payments were made. For the NCAA enforcement staff to allege that the University should be held responsible for these payments is a distortion of the facts and a gross misapplication of NCAA Bylaws and case precedent. In addition, the enforcement staff’s assertion that KU refuses to accept responsibility is wrong. The University absolutely would accept responsibility if it believed that violations had occurred, as we have demonstrated with other self-reported infractions. Chancellor Girod, Jeff Long and KU stand firmly behind Coach Self, his staff and our men’s basketball program, as well as our robust compliance program.”
The following announcement was shared by KU Athletics today regarding the future of KU Football Head Coach David Beaty.
David Beaty will not be retained as Head Football Coach at the University of Kansas at the conclusion of the season, KU Athletics Director Jeff Long announced today.
“After a thorough evaluation of the program, I believe that new leadership is necessary for our football team to move forward and compete at the highest level of the Big 12 Conference,” Long said. “I know that Coach Beaty cares deeply about his players, and I respect that. The student-athletes on this team have continued to play hard – and I am confident they will do that for the rest of the season.”
Beaty has coached the Jayhawks for three-plus seasons, amassing a 6-39 record, 2-31 in Big 12 Conference play. He will continue to coach the team until the regular season concludes against Texas on Friday, November 23. He signed a five-year contract in December 2014, which was extended two years (through 2021) in December 2016.
Long informed Beaty of his decision Sunday and met with the football team directly afterwards. “The search for a new head coach will begin immediately,” he said.
Beaty’s contract calls for him to be paid $3 million (payable in six equal payments) in the event of termination without cause; Long said Kansas will fulfill the terms of that contract.
Jeff Long will conduct a press conference at 6 p.m. this evening in Hadl Auditorium in the Wagnon Student-Athlete Center, adjacent to the Allen Fieldhouse Parking Garage. The press conference will be streamed and is available here:
University of Kansas Director of Athletics Jeff Long sent the following message to KU fans and season ticket holders Thursday, August 30.
Greetings Jayhawks and Rock Chalk!
I am thrilled to address you for the first time as the Director of Athletics at the University of Kansas. Over these first few weeks I have experienced firsthand the tremendous spirit and passion KU alumni, faculty, staff and students have for this great University. Our history and tradition truly make this institution special.
As we enter the academic and competitive year, our coaches, student-athletes and staff are focused on competition – competition in the classroom, competition in their athletic pursuits and competition to engage in and make a positive impact in our communities. It is our expectation that we will continue to represent the flagship institution of KANSAS in a manner in which Jayhawks around the world will be even more proud.
Our number one priority will be the well-being of our 460-plus student-athletes and their individual student-athlete experience. We have the privilege and duty to educate these young minds, assist in their maturity, sharpen their athletic skills and produce proud University of Kansas graduates.
We have begun the process of identifying any and all obstacles that may exist that would prevent us from providing an amazing student-athlete experience. Two areas that directly impact this experience are revenue production and facility enhancements. Over the next few months we will engage in deep conversations about growing our membership in the Williams Education Fund and establishing a clear vision for our capital improvements, including David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Allen Fieldhouse and Hoglund Ballpark.
You can make an immediate impact on the student-athlete experience by coming to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium this fall to cheer on the crimson and blue. The young men on this team are dedicated to competing for KANSAS. Like you, they are Jayhawks; they love representing KANSAS and they need your support.
For those who have purchased season tickets, thank you. For those who haven’t, please consider helping us break the cycle and join us this Saturday and all season long.
The University of Kansas boasts some 350,000 alumni worldwide. As we tour the state and travel nationally I hope to meet many of you. Over the last month I have learned what you already know: This is a very special place, and I am grateful for the opportunity to represent you as the Director of Athletics at the University of Kansas!
It looks like a normal garage from the outside. Maybe it’s to keep the neighbors happy.
Inside, Rory Ramsdell’s two-year project of the ultimate KU garage is complete. His daughters now park in the middle of Allen Fieldhouse.
The big build
“I’ve envisioned this for a long time,” said Ramsdell, e’93. “I wanted to build a multipurpose garage with a gym atmosphere.”
The Shawnee resident built the entire building himself. Ramsdell drew on his experience as a mechanical engineer to design the structure, and he tried his hand at amateur photography for the Fieldhouse photos. He printed large sizes of the photos to cover the walls.
Highlights of the project include a programmable scoreboard, lockers for each family member, a TV for watch parties, and a ceiling covered in hand-sewn banners.
The Ramsdells loves hosting friends and family in the garage to watch games and entertain. Pickup games are also known to break out; there’s a hoop, plenty of balls in the lockers, and court lines painted on the concrete floor.
Allen Fieldhouse is special to plenty of Jayhawks, but Ramsdell put in time there as a student behind the scenes.
“I played baseball at KU, and my student work-study program was to do the baseball team laundry, which at the time was in the Fieldhouse. So I was there late at night doing laundry and homework, and sometimes the basketball players would ask me to rebound, maybe play 3 on 3 with them.”
Rory’s love for KU is matched by his family, especially with his daughter Raegan starting at KU in the fall.
“I’m really excited for her future, and hope she has as good of a time as I did as a student.”
The University of Kansas officially introduced Jeff Long, the university’s new director of athletics, at a news conference July 11 in the Lied Center Pavilion.
The news conference began with opening remarks by Drue Jennings, who headed the university’s search process, as well as Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and Long. After that, the three sat together for a Q&A period with members of the media.
Long was announced as the university’s new director of athletics July 5. He will begin his role August 1.
This is the first year of an effort to reach Jayhawks throughout Kansas by bringing the best of KU to their hometowns. The tour has visited Leavenworth, McPherson, Hays, Manhattan, Garden City and Pittsburg and has featured several KU guests, including athletic directors and coaches, campus administrators and Alumni Association staff.
“More than 150,000 KU graduates and former students live in Kansas,” says Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, Alumni Association president. “It’s a priority for us to connect with these Jayhawks in their communities to show our appreciation for their dedication and support.”
Speakers at the events shared sentiments of a positive trajectory for the University. Peterson reminded the crowd that total enrollment has grown for the fifth straight year. Matt Baty, d’07, senior associate athletics director, praised the relationship between Kansas Athletics and the Alumni Association, calling it “one of the best in the entire country.”
Future stops include the annual KU Alumni Invitational at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, along with a Salina event Monday, June 25. Chancellor Doug Girod and Head Basketball Coach Bill Self will headline an impressive group of Jayhawk leaders.
It’s easy to follow along with Hawks & Highways! Follow us on Instagram for stories from the events, or follow us on Twitter for updates. The Williams Education Fund Twitter account also provides information about Hawks & Highways.
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to all University of Kansas faculty and staff members on Monday, May 21, 2018. The message was also posted on the chancellor’s website.
I am writing to inform you of a leadership change in Kansas Athletics.
This morning I met with Director of Athletics Sheahon Zenger and informed him that I am relieving him of his duties, effective immediately.
Sheahon has been a loyal Jayhawk, and our athletics department has improved in many areas under his leadership. But Athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary.
Sean Lester, our deputy athletics director, will serve as interim director. I have spoken with Sean about my expectations for the coming months, and I am confident he will provide sound leadership and stability during this transition.
I have begun the process of identifying a permanent athletics director. To lead this process, I have enlisted Drue Jennings, one of our most respected and accomplished alumni. Many of you know Drue as our interim athletics director in 2003 and for his role in leading the search processes that brought Chancellor Gray-Little and Coach Self to KU. Jed Hughes, a consultant with the Korn Ferry executive search firm, will assist Drue.
Some of you may have questions about our football program. I spoke with Coach Beaty earlier today and shared my expectation that he will continue recruiting hard and getting his team ready for the season.
Since becoming chancellor, I have spent countless hours with higher education peers and Jayhawks to hear their perspective on KU. A common thread in these conversations is that, as a major public university with national aspirations, we must continue to strive for excellence in all areas — including athletics. As I have said many times, a successful athletics department is inextricably linked to our broader mission as a flagship research university.
The other common thread in these conversations is optimism for Kansas Athletics. Across the country, we are recognized as having elite programs, a proud tradition, and a loyal fan base. These assets will serve us well as we identify a new leader for Kansas Athletics.
I want to thank Sheahon for his service during the past seven years. Under his leadership, student-athlete GPAs reached an all-time high. Rock Chalk Park, McCarthy Hall, and the DeBruce Center are lasting tributes to his efforts. Most importantly, he prioritized our student-athletes and represented KU with integrity and class.
The University of Kansas Alumni Association and Kansas Athletics are coordinating “Hawks & Highways,” a multi-year effort to host KU events in communities throughout Kansas. The series will begin with eight events in June and will include other schools and departments at KU.
Plans are underway for October events in Dodge City, Great Bend, Liberal and Winfield, as well as the traditional “KU Kickoff” celebrations in August in Kansas City, Wichita, Topeka and Lawrence. Details for all events in the ongoing series can be found at kualumni.org/highways.
The initiative supports Chancellor Douglas A. Girod’s goal to continue strengthening outreach throughout the state. “KU’s mission includes building healthy communities throughout Kansas,” said Girod. “Hawks and Highways is a terrific opportunity for us to visit with Kansans and hear their ideas about how the University can better serve the state.”
“More than 150,000 KU graduates and former students live in Kansas,” said Heath Peterson, KU Alumni Association president. “It’s a priority for us to connect with these Jayhawks in their communities to show our appreciation for their dedication and support.”
“We must continue to reach out and engage with our shareholders in their own backyard,” said KU Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger. “Hawks and Highways is a committed effort to join with our campus partners, as we are all one KU.”
Chancellor Girod and KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self are scheduled to attend the KU Alumni Invitational in Hutchinson and a dinner June 25 in Salina. KU football coach David Beaty and Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Reggie Robinson will attend two June 14 events: lunch in Garden City and dinner in Pittsburg.
Kansas football will open the 2017 season hosting Southeast Missouri State on Saturday, Sept. 2—and Kansas Athletics and the KU Alumni Association have partnered with LIVE ON MASS to get the weekend started off in exciting fashion by hosting a KU Kickoff pep rally and concert.
All ages are welcome to the event, which will be held at the 1000 block of Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence. Gates will open at 6 p.m., with the pep rally with special appearances from Kansas football head coach David Beaty and the KU Spirit Squad and Pep Band will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The Phantastics, a seven-member band from Kansas City specializing in tantalizing, genre-blending dance music, will headline the concert following the pep rally. The Phantastics, along with their opening acts, The Band That Saved The World, Lucas Parker Band and DJ Josh Powers, will entertain the crowd to close the evening.