In late May, Kansas decided to part ways with Sheahon Zenger, who had been the Athletic Director at Kansas for the past seven years. Normally anything coming out of Lawrence other than basketball news is met with a yawn from the rest of the Big 12. However, this news should cause a different reaction across the Big 12.
Here are three reasons Kansas firing Zenger should matter to the rest of the conference:
1. He will hire the next football coach at Kansas.
Apparently, Kansas cares about more than just their men’s basketball program, who knew? They have decided that being at the bottom in almost every sport but men’s basketball is not okay with them. Making a move at this point shows that Kansas is ready to move on from the David Beaty era. I fully believe that whoever they bring in will look to hire a new football coach next December or January. Kansas must believe that they can get back to the glory days of the fighting Mangino’s.
2. He could hire Bill Self’s replacement.
Self is entering his 16th year as the Kansas Head Basketball coach. As we all know during that time he has lead them to 14 straight conference titles. However, he only has three Final Four appearances and one National Championship. That success is a big deal but in a place like Kansas the standard is much higher than a good season, they are looking for history to be made each year. Being the head coach of a program this long is not the norm and you have to wonder how much longer he will be there. If Self does leave then this Athletic Director would be hiring a coach for one of the truly elite programs in college basketball.
3. He will have to navigate the Adidas scandal.
Kansas is still dealing with the fall out of the FBI investigation, revealing that Adidas paid several players attending the schools they sponsor. Kansas, who is one of Adidas’ sponsored schools, was specifically named in the report. At this point, the NCAA has done nothing in response to the allegations but it would not be surprising to see consequences down the road. With that in mind, the new Athletic Director will have to decide just how close to tie the school with a company that appears to have been a part of major NCAA violations.