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Benny Armstrong

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BDA2185 (Benny Armstrong) says...

Definitely a tough situation to convert those fans over to making it a priority on Saturdays. Excluding the students and focusing on just the fans on the west side and in the bowl, it would be a huge help to get the games out of that dreaded 11 am kickoff slot. With so much of the fanbase traveling from the KC area, an early kick means that after travel you have limited time to truly tailgate (absent the current diehard fans) and make it a full gameday experience. So you either get a bunch of late arrivers or fans that aren't really into the game from the kick and it impacts the atmosphere. As with most things, winning will help that because it'll shift our games to a later window more often and allow fans to get there, set up and tailgate and get into the mood for a game.

For the students, I realize that there are a million other things to do than watch a struggling football team, but I think the school/athletic department could incentivize attendance by tying it to camping priority or something for basketball games. That might help drive more attendance early that builds into a routine so that the student section is fuller at the start of the game. I think another idea is to get more actively involved with student groups including the fraternities and sororities. You see the games in the SEC and the camera pans to the student section where several rows of guys in white shirts and ties/blazers are cheering and automatically know that's some house sitting together.

As others noted, this is all a chicken and egg situation with the fans and the stadium and the recruiting, but hopefully the fans are there this season on the promise and hope of the strong finish last year. It must be tough on the players to put in all this hard work and effort and run out of the tunnel on a Saturday and see a half empty stadium. They're trying their hardest, now let's hope the fans do the same.

BDA2185 (Benny Armstrong) says...

The task to rebuild is indeed challenging and continues to grow with adding 4 more teams that are regularly ranked or receiving votes. That being said it is helpful to note that when the Big 12 goes back to 12 teams (assuming we don't expand further and get even bigger), then the conference will likely have to shift back to divisions and we won't have to play every team every year and avoid this murderers row of 7 ranked teams.

When the Big 12 originally had 12 teams, we played 8 conference games (5 in division, 3 rotating cross division), so if that format is adopted again, we would drop a conference game and we would be able to pick up an easier winnable home game to help us get bowl eligible (assuming the conference allows us to go back to 8). Stating the obvious, those non-con games have to basically be guaranteed wins each year to jumpstart the season with 3 or 4 wins so we only have to win 2 or 3 games in conference to go bowling. Obviously from there, bowl games get us extra practices to develop our players, and increased visibility for recruiting, and so on and so forth.

This is the Bill Snyder plan that helped KState go from doormat to conference title contender. No, it is not a guarantee of those same results, but an extra win or two early in the season helps to not put so much pressure on getting 6 wins from the conference slate. We should never have a season where we're scheduling someone like Houston ever again. We need more games like Rutgers or maybe teams like Vandy or IU or Northwestern if we have to pull from major conferences to fulfill a scheduling mandate. But we should be scheduling teams that have finished in a similar position, sort of like how the NFL makes all the teams that finish first through fourth in the divisions play each other the following season.

As for this season, I think we should be optimistic to catch some teams by surprise and be competitive in most every game. 6 wins would shock the world, but I think we should shoot for 4 as a fanbase. That would be a major sign of progress given what the schedule.

BDA2185 (Benny Armstrong) says...

Dirk, there's a lot I agree with here (and other posters), but I'd be cautious to draw too much of a conclusion over what the NCAA has previously accepted and what the IARP will accept when handing out any potential punishments. The IARP is an unknown commodity that is (supposed to be) completely independent from the NCAA and its enforcement team. This doesn't mean that taking Self and Townsend off the road during July absolutely won't have some mitigating impact because I doubt they'd do it without some sort of guarantee or agreement in place, but NCAA enforcement is supposed to be removed from making the final decision here.

Looking at what NC State received from the IARP might better inform our potential punishment, but even that is tough to draw a clear comparison since this is such a new entity. They did have more total violations (9), and more significant ones in that a former assistant was found to be directly paying a recruit and they wound up with a season of vacated wins, a fine, probation, but no postseason ban. Considering the steps taken by KU to hold players out that were not fully cleared and the lack of a true smoking gun linking coaches making direct payments to players (that we know of in the public), there's the potential that KU gets something similar or perhaps Self and Townsend are suspended for a portion of a season or the postseason as was floated in rumors online.

Ultimately, we've probably been punished far beyond the ultimate decision from the IARP considering the negative press and recruiting hit we've taken since the FBI trial. That being said, we were favorites to win it all in 2020 and did just win a National Title with players that were overlooked and potentially wouldn't have been recruited years ago that developed into significant contributors, so perhaps that wasn't the worst thing in the world.

BDA2185 (Benny Armstrong) says...

I think this is a great indicator of where the program is headed with HCLL and his staff. Great programs are not afraid to recruit over the top of their current starters, and either those current players will take it as a challenge to get better to retain their spot, or they will accept it and look for other opportunities. I think that can obviously rub people the wrong way and it can be seen as the coach running off players to get his guys, but the reality is that if this is presented the right way, and it appears that it has, then this isn't directed to the current players as a knock on them, but a challenge and an opportunity to improve themselves personally and the team as a whole.

I think we've seen year after year Self and his staff have taken the same approach with the basketball team. Look no further than the center spot when Landen Lucas was on the team. Each year, Self would go out and find someone new to play that spot and it seemed like each year Landen would beat that guy out by raising the level of his game and forcing his way onto the court. That competition helped both him and the team to improve and a similar approach should help the football team.

BDA2185 (Benny Armstrong) says...

Brett, This absolutely has something to do with the issue at hand if a public university is potentially going to play in a conference where the California state legislature has passed a law that bans the use of public funds to travel to certain of the states in that conference. As it turns out, they can use private funds to cover travel expenses so it shouldn't be an issue, but I speak for myself (and others) when I say that I don't think most on this page read what Jonathan said as a political statement, rather just asking a valid question about how this would work in light of the law.

As Micky said, your comment seems to say more about you than it does any other commenters on the board. No one mentioned this until you brought it up.

BDA2185 (Benny Armstrong) says...

I looked into this same issue this morning because I was trying to understand how UCLA will make this work. I think the only way around it is that the bill and the supporting articles I read said that public money cannot be spent on travel to these states, so that means you just have to use private funds. Typically the athletic departments at schools are their own business entity separate from the university and funded in part through public funds, but the bulk of their funding comes from media rights and private donations, so they shouldn't have any problems funding travel without using state dollars.

Like most issues, there is a public show of force about some position or law and then quietly there are loopholes that allow for the activity to continue through very specific means. The move to the Big10 wouldn't have been cleared if that law was actually an obstacle for them to travel to away games at several of their new conference members.

BDA2185 (Benny Armstrong) says...

Unfortunate to miss out on someone in our own backyard, but I think that could also hurt KU in these situations. Like a lot of people, I'd imagine that these recruits want the opportunity to leave home and get away from their families to enjoy their college experience, and going to college in the same town means that isn't always possible. Obviously there is plenty to keep you busy on campus while playing a sport and you're not required to spend time at home if you don't want to, but they may not be able to overlook that they're still in the same town they always were.

BDA2185 (Benny Armstrong) says...

I think you're going to have a hard time selling a complete demo/rebuild considering the history tied to it. Per the KU Athletics website, it is the first stadium built on a college campus west of the Mississippi, and is a memorial to the students who died during WWI. Add in the nice but otherwise irrelevant story of John Wooden helping lay concrete to build it during one summer and I think the administration will see too much history to completely scrap it.

That being said, we can and should improve on it. I've said this elsewhere in the myriad of prior stadium articles, but my suggestions would be first to widen the seats. This has the dual purpose of giving fans a little more room and shrinks the total capacity so we aren't trying to fill 50k seats each week and improves optics slightly (filling 20k of 40k total looks better than 20k of 50k). Second, cover the entire facade in limestone like AFH and the rest of the buildings on campus. The concrete superstructure on both sides looks awful there's only so much you can cover with banners and signage. Finally, others mentioned sound retention being an issue and I completely agree. I'd add a partial red metal roof structure (again like AFH) that overhangs part of the stands and can provide some shade but also redirect sound back to the field like you see with soccer stadiums. If we could go really crazy in this moment, I'd demolish the upper half of the both sides of the stadium and start over. Get rid of the gradual slope to the last row, add loge boxes/suites at the current midpoint and then leave room for expansion of an upper section on top of not out from both sides.

Ultimately, I have faith and confidence in Goff to get this sorted out considering his experience with fundraising for stadiums/facilities at prior stops. Having renders and a plan in place to show recruits during their visits will go a long way to demonstrating our investment in the future of the program. The other thing that'll help is seeing more fans in the seats. The end of last year showed a ton of promise and we should be able to build on that and be more competitive in year 2 of the Leipold era.

BDA2185 (Benny Armstrong) says...

Dirk, I think this definitely played a factor into Oscar's decision to return, but I also don't think he has a serious future in the NBA, whereas Jalen's body and game fit the current game much better. Oscar is undersized as a traditional center at 6'9" and isn't mobile enough to defend the pick and roll, and lacks a handle or consistent range out to the arc so he can't really play as the 4 for an NBA team that looks to stretch. He's basically a shorter version of Dok early in his KU career. This isn't to say though that he's not a great college player and won't make some serious money overseas.

BDA2185 (Benny Armstrong) says...

Matt, I know you said more that there is more to come on the NIL angle if Jalen winds up staying at KU, but curious if you've read or heard any more on the adidas NIL campaign they launched in March. Reading some of the articles, it looks like student athletes at adidas schools will have the ability to become paid spokespersons for the brand. Surely as you pointed out, Jalen would be one of if not the face of the program, and adidas will likely want to use him and others from their flagship teams to the fullest extent possible. For someone that is a projected as a two-way or G league player, fully guaranteed money from NIL deals could match or beat anything he could get as a pro currently if he plays his cards right.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/23/adida...