Kansan Football Reporter Warned About Asking Questions at Press Conference with Head Coach

University Daily Kansan sports writer Blake Schuster says athletics officials at the University of Kansas warned him in a private meeting about asking questions at the most recent press conference with head football coach Charlie Weis.  The reason?  Their concerns about “lingering ill-will among members of the football program.”

As I previously posted, Weis ranted on Twitter last Friday about what he felt was unfairly harsh coverage in the Kansan about the football team’s many woes so far this season.  He particularly took issue with preview coverage of the squad’s game this past weekend against in-state rival Kansas State University.  The full-page cover graphic kicking off the coverage displayed a tiny, fearful Jayhawk hugging a goalpost, while a large, muscular KSU Wildcat races fearlessly toward the end zone.  The accompanying story’s headline, “Road Kill Ahead.”

According to the Kansan, KU football communications director Katy Lonergan “warned Schuster about possible negative reactions to . . . [the] cover art and story.  She told him these negative attitudes could be directed toward him. . . . [Schuster] said Lonergan told him it would be in his best interest not to ask questions.”

Lonergan countered, “I just simply advised him that if he did ask questions, he should be prepared for any kind of tone in his answer.”  As the reliably snarky sports blog Deadspin explained, “It wasn’t a threat, see. Just a gentle suggestion.”

On a larger scale, in a piece earlier this week, Kansan student columnist Mike Vernon speaks for many with a terrifically impassioned editorial smackdown of this KU-triggered mess– one that started as an overly sensitive, tone-deaf Twitter temper-tantrum but now hovers precariously close to full-blown censorship.

As Vernon writes, “The path that Kansas Athletics has taken to handle this situation is not right.  Kansas is a public university, and it has a damn good journalism school that is here teaching its students to be objective members of the Fourth Estate of the United States of America, to hold its leaders accountable, and to be a free and independent press. It’s a democracy thing, and it’s too bad a public American university would try to persuade student reporters into compromising those values.”

Bottom line, writes Vernon, “[T]he Kansan isn’t here to rally up student support for the football team. . . . Students at this university deserve better than a pom-pom squad of a newspaper.  They deserve to get the truth.”

Weis, by the way, has not tweeted since Roadkill-gate began.


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  1. […] Continue reading the rest of this article here at CollegeMediaMatters.com Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in 2012, Big 12 and tagged 2012, Charlie Weis, Gate, Jayhawk, Jayhawks, Kansan, Kansas, Kansas State, KU, Newspaper, Reporter, Roadkill-gate, Twitter by Travis Normand. Bookmark the permalink. […]