Kansas channels Stone Cold Steve Austin

If you don’t get the title… when he was performing in WWE, Austin regularly popped fingers at authority figures, opponents, the crowd, or whoever his antagonist at the time was. Often double-barreled.

The Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team is indisputably one of college basketball’s flagship programs. And it’s one of the programs most tied to the recent NCAA recruiting corruption scandal. Last month, the Jayhawks received a notice of allegations from the NCAA, stemming from the school’s relationship with Adidas, the apparel company most tied (so far) to the scandal.

According to this post from a popular University of Kentucky sports blog:

There are two ways to respond to rule-breaking allegations. You can decide to lay low, comply and embrace a straight-edge lifestyle to prevent any further damage, or you could deny any rule-breaking whatsoever and become defiant. Kansas chose the latter in the most over-the-top way imaginable.

For starters, Kansas posted a video promoting Snoop Dogg’s appearance at Late Night in the Phog, the team’s first preseason practice. The video featured longtime Jayhawks head coach Bill Self wearing a T-shirt with Adidas’ logo and a chain with a dollar sign. Mind you, this was four days after receiving formal charges from the NCAA.

(Kansas is one of many schools that makes said practice into a major evening event; Kentucky’s version is known as Big Blue Madness. “The Phog” is a nickname for the Jayhawks’ arena, Allen Fieldhouse; it’s named after one of their past great coaches, Forrest “Phog” Allen.)

Then came the event… with Kansas going full Stone Cold, sticking two middle fingers right in the NCAA’s face. Complete with the following:

  • Pole dancers during Snoop’s performance.
  • Kansas’ mascot “smoking” a huge fake blunt during said performance.
  • Snoop firing a money gun into a section where Kansas recruits were seated. Granted, the money was obviously fake, with Snoop’s face on it, but still…

The aforementioned post from the UK sports blog even threw in a dig at the Louisville basketball sex scandal, saying “Kansas brought Minardi Hall to Phog Allen.”

(Minardi Hall is Louisville’s men’s basketball dorm, alleged site of several of the parties that triggered that scandal.)

Kansas couldn’t backtrack from it fast enough. Self said he was caught off-guard by Snoop’s performance; he had gone back to the locker room early on and didn’t see most of it. Kansas’ athletic director Jeff Long—no stranger to athletic scandal, since at an earlier post as AD at Arkansas he had to deal with the fallout from the revelation that the head football coach was (1) having an extramarital affair and (2) had hired his mistress for the team’s office staff—issued an apology. Actually, two apologies, since his first version made a very awkward reference to the pole dancers that caused no end of snickering on the Internet.

I could say more about this, but I think it speaks for itself.