Cloning Scandal in Kansas

NCAA officials are

investigating reports

that the University

of Kansas used cloned athletes to win the Big-12 Championship and advance to the “elite 8.”

A reporter searching the high school records for  Marcus and Markief Morris, the famed “Morris twins,” revealed a surprising fact: There is no record of Marcus or Markief attending high school.  Instead there was only one name–Mark Morris.

Anonymous sources from the university of Kansas Medical School mention suspicious cloning activity around the years 2004-2008.

A spokesman for coach Bill Self says the Jayhawks “deny the allegation and defy the alligator.”  Further, coach Self adds, even if it were true it violates no rule.

We have the original rules, written by coach Naismith himself.  There is no prohibition of using cloned athletes.

Meanwhile, there are also reports of suspicious activity in the genetics lab at Kansas State University.

Coach Frank Martin has been quoted as saying,

KU obviously had an unfair advantage with two Morrises.  If we had two Jacob Pullens, we would have been unstoppable.

World’s Worst Job

Except for the money–the world’s worst job must be that of a football coach.  If a coach has a loosing season, he can pack his bags.  If he has a winning season, with more wins than losses, that’s not good enough, he has to win the championship.  If he wins the national championship one year, he has to repeat or he is a failure.

Except for the money–it’s a miserable job.  On the other hand, in most states, the football coach at the state university is the highest paid state employee.  I admit that sometimes when I see budget cuts in education, I resent the coaches salaries.  But then they remind me that athletics brings in millions to the university.  Of course, most of that money goes back into the athletic program.

But mainly I’m willing to live and let live when it comes to how people choose to spend their money.  I enjoy watching a good game once in a while.  My wife and I have been fans of Jayhawks basketball for thirty years.  When we moved into Kansas State territory, at first it was easy to split my loyalties.  K-state had not had a viable basketball program for years, but they did have a football team; so I could cheer for the Jawhawks during basketball season and the Wildcats during football season.  Lauren, the registrar at our college called me a Jaycat.

Then it got complicated.  For a season or two it looked like the wildcats were going to have a competitive basketball program and KU brought in a new football coach–Mark Mangino, whose presence on the sidelines was unmistakable.

I remember back twenty years ago when the football programs at both teams were pitiful.  I called their annual meeting the toilet bowl.  I remember hearing a joke–that Kansas and Nebraska were going to merge.  Nebraska would get all that wheat and Kansas would get a football team.

All those jokes faded, along with jokes about the new coach’s girth, when, miracle of miracles KU began to have a winning football program.  Two years ago coach Mangino  was on top of the world when his team won the Orange Bowl.  It would have been a perfect season had not the team not been bushwhacked in a border war with the perfidious Missouri tigers.

But this year as a mediocre season drew to a close rumors about the coach started to surface.  Internal investigations were being conducted.

Meanwhile it was time for the final game of the season, against Missouri.  It was an exciting game and with two minutes left the Jayhawks held the lead.  Then the coach called a series of bonehead plays.  The end result was an inglorious defeat and it was time for coach Mangino to pack his bags.

I felt sorry for him–except for all those millions he will take with him.  If it had been me, I think I could take the money and run.  I could live in relative seclusion and enjoy life with my family.  But I don’t think a person willing to live out one’s life in relative obscurity has the kind of drive and ambition it takes to be a winning coach.

Passing the Torch

The Final Four interrupted my posts about Buckie, F.F. Bruce, Doric, and other related matters. If the Lord wills, as James his brother taught us to say, tomorrow I will get buck to such matters.

As I was following the American basketball tournament this week (watching online in the middle of the night), there was some sports-related news on television. The Olympic torch passed through London and then through Paris–accompanied by vigorous protest in both cities.

I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me wants to agree with those who say, “you shouldn’t mix politics and sports.” Our family was thrilled at the opportunity our niece Melissa had to represent her state and country in the Special Olympics in Shanghai this past October. (See prior posts, Feb 14, 2008; Oct 9, 2007; and Oct 2, 2007.) I can imagine how disappointed we would have been if Melissa and her friends had been forced to cancel their trip due to protests or boycotts.

I also remember how disappointing it was to all the athletes preparing for the 1980 Olympic games when they learned they would be going to Moscow. Our president decided we would boycott the games in protest to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. We also lived in a farming area at the time and saw how farmers were hurt by the canceling of grain sales to the USSR.

Yet I also remember thinking at the time how much better these harsh matters were than war.

The current “politics” that is being mixed with sports is not a question on what percentage of their income the wealthy should pay in taxes, or whether there should be fuel economy standards, or other typical political issues. The “political” questions are questions of basic human rights; issues of torture, freedom of speech and thought, freedom of religion. They are not trivial matters that are less important than sports.

But the real questions is whether the best way to change the tyrannical ways of an intransigent geritocracy is shame, punishment, humiliation, and isolation–or whether openness and interaction is better. I hope that more good comes from the world coming together for a few days to celebrate nonpolitical achievements, than the harm that comes from supporting a bully’s ego.