KU Head Coach Bill Self's Assists Foundation Hosts

Nov. 1, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Through his Assists Foundation, Kansas men’s basketball Bill Self hosted four highly distinguished men’s basketball journalists in the first “A Courtside View” at the Crown Toyota Pavilion in Lawrence Thursday evening.

College basketball television personalities Jay Bilas and Fran Fraschilla of ESPN along with national columnists Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News and Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star joined Self in a round-table discussion format on hot topics in college athletics. A crowd of more than 400 attended the event which raised money for Bill and Cindy Self’s Assists Foundation.

“We’ll raise some significant funds and we’ll give that money away,” Self said. “But more importantly we are getting the word out and getting some national attention and this time next year when we have this, we’ll have a thousand people here. It does a lot for our foundation but it also does a lot from the goodwill standpoint and the PR standpoint that bodes well over time and not just tonight.”

The panel discussed numerous items for more than an hour and a half. Topics discussed during A Courtside View included the NBA Draft eligibility rule or one-and-done rule.

“I’m glad college gets to see the best players of that age group; they don’t get to go directly to the NBA as they did before 2006,” Kerkhoff said. “Without the one-and-done rule, the minimum age rule, we wouldn’t have seen Kevin Durant in college. Even if it was just one year, it was an incredible year for the Big 12. The game he played in the (Allen) Fieldhouse. The game in the (Big 12) tournament against Kansas was incredible. As fans of college basketball, we got to see Kevin Durant play.”

The second topic discussion was on student-athlete stipends of $2,000 on top of tuition and fees, room and board, which the NCAA had tabled last January.

“I’m in favor of a stipend,” Fraschilla said. “I have a kid who is a walkon (in basketball) at Oklahoma. We pay for his tuition, room and board. My wife and I calculated and Oklahoma paid approximately $30,000 (last year) when you take into account travel, meals, medical attention and all those things that come with being a student-athlete. The cost of room and board, all the travel and medical attention; all those things are great but because they cannot really work a job either during the season, the nine months of the season and many times the summer. I am in favor of it (stipends). These kids are doing a lot for schools like Kansas, Oklahoma and Manhattan College. If some smaller schools can’t take care of these kids like Kansas can, I say too bad because Bill’s (Self) program makes an awful lot of money for the University of Kansas.”

The third topic was on the impact of the latest changes to the NCAA’s academic eligibility standards starting next fall. The new standards require a minimum grade point average of 2.3, up from 2.0, and includes a rule that requires high school athletes to complete 10 of their 16 core courses before their senior year of high school.

“It’s pretty black and white that in 2016 for the freshmen in high school who enter their freshmen year this year, the academic standard will be increased substantially,” Self said. “We will not realize this is a major issue until it is too late. We have to get on this now. Try watching the NCAA Tournament this past year in 2016. Imagine that 43 percent of the participants are not even eligible to wear a college uniform.”

“To me it’s fairly simple,” Bilas said. “I trust each school because of their core functions to be able to identify and admit the students they choose and educate them as they see fit. I don’t think that is something that the governing authority like the NCAA should be involved in. I think the NCAA should be out of the eligibility and especially the academic eligibility. Kansas knows how to educate its students. Duke knows how to educate their students. St. John’s, all of them.”

The next topic discussed were predictions for Kansas for the 2012-13 season.

“Allen Fieldhouse is the best place to watch college basketball,” DeCourcy said. “I was fortunate enough to cover the Missouri game last year and I have never, ever been in an atmosphere that was like that.”

“I know you are going to have a great defensive team because now that Jim Calhoun (Connecticut) is gone you have the number one defensive coach (Bill Self) in college basketball,” DeCourcy added. “After watching practice today, the only thing standing between your team and scoring is executing. They have a lot of guys that can put the ball in the basket.”

Following the aforementioned topics, the panel took questions from those in attendance. Those topics included NCAA accountability, football running conference realignment, coaching philosophies and the KU basketball staff.

“I thought it was good,” Self said of the evening. “The guys (the panel) are opinionated about certain issues. I think they definitely overvalued my team right now but I guess you expect them to do that if they are your guest.”

Metro Sports Television in Kansas City recorded the event and will air an edited version of A Courtside View at a later day.

About the Assists Foundation

The mission of Assists is to help provide young people access to better lives. This is accomplished by identifying areas of need and working with other community-based institutions to provide creative and lasting solutions. Through Assists, folks can make a difference in the everyday lives of young people. To learn more about the Assists Foundation go to assistyouth.org.

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