What About Mark???

By Jason Whitlock
Updated: December 5, 2009

KANSAS CITY — No press conference. No explanation. No nothing. Disappointing.

I’m not talking Tiger Woods, his wife or one of Tiger’s mistresses. Tiger’s troubles are personal and none of our business.

Mark Mangino’s problems and subsequent exit from the Kansas athletic department?

Yeah, we deserved a detailed, forthright explanation. He was one of the state’s highest-profile and highest-paid employees.

Someone — boosters, taxpayers — paid for the internal investigation into the alleged abusive behavior that cost Mangino his job as Kansas’ football coach. KU fans emotionally and financially invested in Mangino’s eight-year tenure.

They were owed an explanation.

Instead we got a nighttime press release from athletic director Lew Perkins praising Mangino for his years of service and explaining that the university can’t talk about the reasons Mangino was let go.

“As you know we have recently completed an internal review of the football program,” Perkins stated in the release. “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.”

Sounds like a busine$$ decision. Sounds like the price of getting Mangino to go for a reasonable sum of cash was silence about the abuse he may or may not have committed against KU players and support personnel.

Kansas should’ve paid Mangino $6 million and told its fans exactly why Mangino had to go. I don’t say that because I want Mangino further embarrassed. The stories from former players that have circulated throughout the media the past three weeks have been damaging and more than justify Kansas’ decision to relieve Mangino of his job.

The truth needed to be exposed for the delusional, the KU fans who believe Mangino’s abusive style was necessary and limited to football players.

Without an explanation, there is going to be endless speculation and a cloud hanging over the next head coach. Mangino’s supporters will continue with their fantasy-driven belief that Mangino was a victim of a terrible conspiracy orchestrated by Perkins.

If the next coach doesn’t have immediate success (within the first two years), the Mangino groupies will turn the old coach into a martyr, and the Perkins haters who are masquerading as Mangino supporters will claim that the release of Mangino doomed KU athletics.

Mangino said he’d rather die standing up than on his knees. He left out he’d rather take Lew Perkins with him. By silencing the findings of the investigation, Mangino not only saved his own rep but also gave the anti-Perkins crowd a tool to stab their nemesis, the man who uprooted the seating chart at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas is such a basketball school. Some of their fans want to destroy the best A.D. in the country because he made people earn/pay for good seats at Allen Fieldhouse. These people know Mangino was a nightmare and needed to be dealt with, but they’re pretending he’s a victim just so they can blast Perkins.

It’s comically sad.

That’s why I would’ve paid any amount to publicly expose Mangino. Instead, we got a watered-down half truth in a press release.

“Mark has brought much success to the football program at KU,” Perkins said in the release. “He can leave with confidence that he has turned the football program around and set it on a path to even greater future success.”

Please. Mangino was as much an anchor as he was a springboard.

Perkins and the KU administration filled Memorial Stadium, changing the tailgate policies, aggressively marketing to fans and tying football ticket sales to a point system that influences Allen Fieldhouse seating. Perkins and his staff raised the money for the new football facilities. Mangino is notoriously bad at working the booster campaign trail.

Kansas should’ve given Mangino his money and told the truth. Clearing the air on exactly who Mangino was would’ve done the football program good.

Now he’ll remain a bit of a mystery to the average fan. He’ll be an impediment for the next coach.