college sports

After just over 14 months as University of Missouri Athletic Director, Mack Rhoades will leave to serve as vice president and director of athletics for Baylor University in Waco, Texas. 

"While my family is excited to start this new chapter in our lives, we do so with great appreciation for our time at Mizzou," Rhoades wrote in a release Wednesday afternoon. "We've met many wonderful people and made lasting friendships. I believe the athletic department has a very bright future."

File: Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Southwest Missouri native Courtney Frerichs is heading to Rio de Janeiro looking for gold.

Frerichs, who hails from Nixa, Missouri, finished second in the steeplechase at the U.S Olympic track and field trials on Thursday, good enough to earn her a ticket to the Olympics in Brazil in August.

For those who don't closely follow college sports, and even for those who do, there are some things that might strike you as unusual about coaches’ contracts.

Rarely is their salary what they really make.

Bill Self's contract at the University of Kansas is a good example.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

This is the time of year when college basketball coaches play musical chairs. They’re coming and going.

The big news since the Big 12 tournament was TCU’s hiring of one of its former players, Jamie Dixon. But around Kansas City, there’s one fan base that’s unhappy about not reaching out to one of its alumni.

Alan Martin, a Kansas State alumnus who lives in Olathe, works in the insurance business. Away from work, he cheers passionately for the Wildcats. So much so that he isn’t afraid to speak his mind, especially about the Wildcats’ slide in men’s basketball lately.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

 In the NCAA tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks play Villanova Saturday night with a berth to the Final Four on the line. The game will take place in Louisville, a city that considers itself the center of the college basketball world.

Something that fans in Kansas City might dispute.

“I think when you add up all the history, I think that you could make a case that the Kansas City area is probably about as knowledgeable and historic a place that our game has seen,” says KU coach Bill Self.

UTEP Athletics

The NCAA soon will crown a new college basketball champion, but they're also looking back 50 years at a championship game that made history. 

Senior forward Jerry Armstrong grew up in rural Eagleville, Missouri. He played throughout the season and in the tournament, but he sat out that game. Why? He's white. Texas Western only played African-American players to beat an all-white Kentucky team and win the championship.

David Lattin, one of the African-American starters in the title game, there's a misconception about the 1966 Texas Western roster.

Ian Echlin / KCUR 89.3

When the NCAA Men’s Final Four was last held in Houston five years ago, it had the storyline of two basketball mid-majors — Butler and VCU — that navigated their way to Space City. But in the end the title was won by a traditional power: Connecticut.

Whether or not the UConn Huskies return for another shot at winning in Houston will be determined Saturday night in Des Moines when they take on the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the second round. The Huskies’ 2011 title came under the now-retired coach Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie has since taken over.

Ian Echlin

When the NCAA basketball tournament begins today for the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks, chances are they’ll successfully move on to the next round.  A No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed.

But if the Jayhawks are upset along the way in a bid for their fourth NCAA title, it's not just KU’s season that will come to an end.  This tournament will be the finishing touch on 32 years of broadcasts by Bob Davis.

In sports, everyone is equal: Train hard and the strongest will win. But are sports really played on an equal playing field? A local thinker says they aren't — and you can see it from Pop Warner to the Super Bowl.

We explore the intersection of race, sports and business.

Guest:

When the weekly college basketball rankings were released before Monday night’s game between the Kansas Jayhawks and Oklahoma Sooners, each team was ranked number one— KU in the AP poll and OU in the coaches poll.

Then the Jayhawks battled OU for three overtimes before winning 109-106.

Down by one with 12 seconds left in the third overtime, Oklahoma had the ball and the chance to end the frustration of 14 straight losses at Allen Fieldhouse. But KU guard Frank Mason stole the inbound pass and was fouled. His free throws then sealed the Jayhawks win.

Courtesy of KU Athletics (Instagram)

This fall, the three area major college football teams—Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri—haven’t provided much to cheer about. That is, unless you think a bowl game for a team with a 6-6 record grabs your attention. But there’s a sport that’s been a hidden gem in the Kansas City area—volleyball.

UMKC Athletics

Courtney Frerichs finished in second place in the steeplechase at the NCAA Track and Field Championships Saturday in Eugene, Oregon.

A native of Nixa, Missouri, Frerichs capped a strong season with a personal best time of 9:331.36 at the national championship meet. Fellow Missouri-native Colleen Quigley of Florida State finished two seconds ahead to take the title. 

File: Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Courtney Frerichs can run faster than you.

Already one of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s most-decorated athletes, she’ll represent UMKC in the steeplechase on Thursday in the semifinals of the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Entering the field as one of three favorites, Frerichs hopes to become UMKC’s first-ever national champion and to bring the title back to Kansas City.

Courtesy / jojowhite10.com

Legendary Kansas University basketball player Jo Jo White will be inducted in to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the hall announced Monday.

White, who played guard at KU from 1965-69, was a two-time All America at Kansas. He also led the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal at the 1968 games in Mexico City.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, White had a long NBA career with the famed 1970s Boston Celtics. He was a seven-time NBA All-Star with the team and helped the Celtics to two league championships, in 1974 and 1976.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Olathe Northwest High School graduate Willie Cauley-Stein is one of five finalists for the Naismith Award recognizing the best college basketball player. But here’s the caveat: He grew up in Kansas, but plays for Kentucky. The prevailing question is: How did the Kansas schools let him get away?

When the Kansas Jayhawks and Kentucky Wildcats played for the NCAA championship in 2012, Willie Cauley-Stein, who is now listed at 7-feet tall, was a senior at Olathe Northwest High School. The Jayhawks had 6'10 Thomas Robinson that year before he turned pro. They also had 7-foot Jeff Withey, a junior at the time. When Cauley-Stein decided to sign with Kentucky, he stunned his grandparents, Val and Norma Jean Stein.

There are two opponents the Kansas Jayhawks avoid if they had their say: the Missouri Tigers in any sport and Wichita State in men’s basketball.

But an unavoidable clash might occur in the NCAA basketball tournament. It might be entitled “The Omaha brouhaha” if KU and Wichita State win their first games in the NCAA basketball tournament.

That might mean something to Wichita native Perry Ellis, who Jayhawks coach Bill Self says was glad to see playing in the Big 12 tournament.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The 13th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones beat the ninth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks, 70-66, in their typical style a —comeback, and won the Big 12 tournament Saturday night.

They trailed KU by as many as 17 points.

Cyclone forward Georges Niang, voted the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, said the Cyclones got a lift from the fans dressed in cardinal and gold.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Though the Kansas Jayhawks won their 11th straight regular season title, they didn’t look like a championship team in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals. But they beat TCU, 64-59, to advance to the semis.

Already without Cliff Alexander for their fourth straight game with an NCAA eligibility issue, the ninth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks also played without their leading scorer, Perry Ellis, who has a knee injury. But KU coach Bill Self doesn’t want to go down the same road as last year when he lost his starting center, Joel Embiid, at the end of the season with an injury.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

The Kansas State Wildcats tip off the Big 12 tournament with a six o’clock game Wednesday against Texas Christian University.

The Wildcats know that their season will end if they lose.

K-State has been a Jekyll-and-Hyde team this season. Its impressive wins are coupled with ugly losses. The season has been a head-scratcher for Wildcats coach Bruce Weber.

A recent scandal at the University of North Carolina involved academic fraud within the athletic department. In this edition of Up To Date, we examine the causes and solutions for the challenges facing today's student athletes. 

Guests:

For the first time since 1988, a member of the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team was the overall No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Andrew Wiggins Thursday night with that top pick.  Teammate Joel Embiid went third overall to the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Though some feel Wiggins disappeared in KU’s last game of the season against Stanford in the NCAA tournament, he was clearly visible when NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced him as the top pick.

Ten years ago, the people of Missouri overwhelmingly voted to change the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Last week, when openly gay football player Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, in Missouri, the outcry condemning Sam's lifestyle stood in stark contrast to an overwhelming outpouring of support.

Thomson200 / Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2002, Brian Banks was getting closer to his dream of playing for the NFL. Pegged for a scholarship to play for USC, Banks’ future was promising until he was accused of rape and sentenced to five years in prison.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we sit down with Banks to discuss his sentence, which was overturned when it came to light that his accuser had lied to reap settlement money. We'll also discuss his return to football nearly 11 years later.

Guest:

This week’s hiring of Kim Anderson as Missouri’s new men’s basketball coach doesn’t just signal a new era on the basketball court — it also raises hopes for a cleaner slate with issues surrounding Tiger athletics.

Lately for men’s basketball games at Mizzou Arena, there have been more open seats despite them being sold. Even newly-appointed head coach Kim Anderson recognizes that. He concluded his introductory news conference this week with a clamorous message.

Kim Anderson will be the new head men's basketball coach at the University of Missouri, the university announced in a release Monday.

After 12 years as the head coach at University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Kim Anderson's wife, felt the Division II national title this year was the crowning moment for her husband.

"It's nice to be rewarded for hard work, so yeah, absolutely," said Melissa Anderson. "I'm sure anybody would feel like that."

Little did she know that his dream job would be just around the corner: head coach of the Missouri Tigers.

Wichita State University / goshockers.com

 Since Wichita State’s first appearance in the NCAA men’s basketball Tournament 50 years ago, this is the first time that the Shockers, Kansas and Kansas State are at the same site — all three teams will be in action Friday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. And fans who planned early are getting the most bang for their buck.

Since KU contended for a No. 1 seed before settling for a No. 2 seed, Jayhawks fans like Phillip Brown of Elm, Mo., gambled on St. Louis as KU’s destination. It paid off.

It will be Arch Madness all over the again in St. Louis, Mo., for three Kansas teams in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The University of Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State are all bound for St. Louis this weekend, the first weekend of the tournament. When the Kansas Jayhawks lost to Iowa State in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament, coach Bill Self knew the chance of landing a number-one seed in the NCAA tournament was out the window.

“We’re not going to be a one, so I’m going to tell you it’s definitely better since we’re not going to be a one,” said Self.

mutigers.com

What does it mean to be an openly-gay athlete? Just ask Michael Sam. The Mizzou football player, who was out to his teammates, made it public on a national scale this weekend.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with some of the organizations that support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes about the issues these athletes face.

We also talk with an athlete who’s dealt with the problems that can come with a public coming-out announcement.

Guests:

The Kansas Board of Regents approved the construction for an apartment building that will serve as the housing for the men’s and women’s basketball players at the University of Kansas. It’s expected to be ready for the 2015-16 school year.

When completed, the $17.5 million apartment building will have 66 bedrooms, enough to mix in some students who don’t play for the Kansas Jayhawks, which is a NCAA requirement. The apartment will have a half-court for recreational basketball.

Funding will be private and through issued revenue bonds.

In college basketball, the Kansas Jayhawks lost 61-57 against San Deigo State, after 68 straight home wins against non-conference opponents.

San Diego State, ranked 21st in the AP poll, knocked off the 16th ranked Jayhawks, at home Sunday afternoon.

The last non-conference team to beat the Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse was Oral Roberts in November of 2006, the early stage of a season during which KU ended up only one victory shy of reaching the Final Four.

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