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LJW: Bill Self's Assists Foundation announces first round of grant & scholarship recipients

On, analyst Doug Gottlieb wrote: "From top to bottom, KU has the best roster and coach combination in the country. The only question facing Bill Self is whether or not there will be minutes to keep everyone happy."

Actually, Self can probably think of a few more questions. Here's one: Can the Jayhawks, who emerged from the pack to win the '09 Big 12 title during a so-called rebuilding year, handle being frontrunners? Are they ready for that proverbial bull's-eye?

"No, we're not," Self answered last week. "I don't know if that's all bad right now. We talk about being hungry and all those things... Hopefully having the bull's-eye on your back does create a toughness level you're going to be faced with in order to have a chance to win it."

Tulsa World*

Harrison Barnes is about to start his own personal Duke-North Carolina game.

The Ames, Iowa, native got his first introduction to how the two schools feel about each other when he sat behind the Blue Devils bench during the annual rivalry matchup inside Cameron Indoor Stadium this past season. Considered the No. 1 recruit in the 2010 class, Barnes was making his second unofficial visit to the Duke campus.

Now, after he wraps up the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp at Virginia's John Paul Jones Arena, he's going to Chapel Hill next week. Barnes has seen what the Blue Devils can offer; now he wants to hear the Tar Heels' pitch.

"They're both on my list, and obviously there wasn't enough time (last time) to go investigate them and go check them out," Barnes said Friday. "I haven't been there yet, so I'm anxious to go."

...Duke and Kansas are considered his two favorites. He wouldn't say if this was true, but understood the theory because he's visited those schools the most.

He battled a stomach virus during the four-day camp. Still, he averaged 12.7 points during the first three games, displaying an excellent mid-range game.
The Duke-North Carolina game did leave an impression. Barnes described it as "one of those things you need to do before you die," and said he could feel the intensity, the building's heat and how badly each squad wanted to win.

Both squads will have to wait until after his visit to get a better understanding of which way he's leaning. An excellent student who plays the saxophone and the cello, Barnes knows both have a lot to offer.

"Those are both really good schools that I'll probably play against (if I don't go there), considering I want to win a national championship," Barnes said. "Both those teams are tournament teams, and it's quite an honor to be considered at their level."


So you’re Harrison Barnes. A 6-7 basketball player headed into your senior season and pegged by many as the top high school prospect in the country.
Do you watch Game 2 of the NBA Finals? Nah.

Do you spend your summer playing nothing but basketball? Nope. You pick up golf, figuring a strong short game might come in handy in the business world someday.

Do you march to the beat of your own drummer? Definitely.

“It’s Harrison. That’s all I can say. It’s just Harrison,” says his mother, Shirley Barnes.

What Harrison is, according to those who know him best, is a driven and remarkably mature 17-year-old.

Barnes carries a grade-point average above 3.0 and is halfway through the best-selling book, The Millionaire Mind,” with a book about investing genius Warren Buffett next up on his summer reading list. Whatever school he attends ? his long list includes Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Stanford, UCLA, Kentucky, Texas Christian, Iowa State, Minnesota and Florida ? needs to have a business program as good as its basketball team.

“It’s important because I need a school with a lot of connections in economics, to set me up with internships and job opportunities after college,” Barnes said.

That might sound like lip service from a kid with a half-dozen Facebook fan pages set up in his honor. After all, Barnes’ first job after college is likely to be in the NBA.

Ames High School basketball coach Vance Downs insists that Barnes is sincere.

“He’s a very thoughtful, articulate young man and education is a priority,” Downs said. “We all say it, but how many kids live that way? He lives that way. Education is a high priority, his faith is very important to him and basketball is very important to him. But I think he has all his priorities set the way they should be.”


Harrison Barnes, also has stayed at his hometown school. He led Ames High in Iowa to a state championship last season.

Barnes said the state title helped his community grow closer. He has been happy to bring notoriety to his hometown.

"The thought of me leaving really didn't make sense," Barnes said. "I've been in Ames all my life. Ames has a very good education. And for me, I've just been there all my life. I don't see why I have to go somewhere else to get more exposure, because in my opinion, if you're good, they will find you."

Barnes on why he did not choose the prep school route

A scathing audit of Kansas State University reveals a pattern of undisclosed payments, conflicts of interest, poor accounting and possible tax problems for the school, several of its former employees and its athletic department.

The audit, released by the Kansas Board of Regents on Friday, describes thousands of dollars paid to companies owned by current and former university employees. They include head football coach Bill Snyder; former athletic director Tim Weiser; and Bob Krause, a former vice president for institutional advancement and former athletic director.

Auditors found that some of those payments could result in additional tax liability for the university and may violate Internal Revenue Service regulations. But the report stops short of concluding that any payments or other irregularities were illegal, and notes that virtually all the money came from private donations, not taxpayers.

The new K-State president, Kirk Schulz, said he welcomed the regents’ decision to release the audit, which is dated April 27. The board discussed it in closed session Friday.

“There is nothing we can do about the past,” Schulz said in a news release. “However, steps have been taken to ensure these situations do not happen again.”

...The 34-page report details a $2.4 million shortfall in the university foundation’s scholarship fund in 2007. It also found questionable spending on fees, travel and fringe benefits, plus a $500,000 loan from the athletic department to Weiser in 2008 that he was not required to “justify or explain.”

Thirteen payments totaling $845,000 to Snyder, Weiser, Krause and others had no supporting documentation, auditors said.

The report was prepared as an “exit analysis” of former K-State president Jon Wefald, who left this year. Similar audits are under way for the University of Kansas and Pittsburg State University, whose presidents also recently departed.

Auditors made several recommendations to improve oversight of the athletic department at K-State and other entities affiliated with the university to improve “structure, formality and transparency.”

Wefald said Friday that he was most troubled by the lack of documents for the $845,000 in payments.

“I think we should do everything we can to uncover that,” he said.

Wefald added that he gave Krause too much authority, a decision he now regrets.

“He did do a lot of good,” Wefald said. “But Bob had too much to do. I probably delegated too much authority to him. I wouldn’t do that again.”

...“Breathtaking,” said regent Dan Lykins in response to the findings. “We are going to be looking at things differently now.”

While the audit was not limited to K-State athletics, much of its focus involved decisions made by Krause involving the athletic department in recent years.

The department, the audit found, maintains a bank account outside the purview of the university’s controller, primarily to pay the department’s travel costs.

But auditors found that roughly 5 percent of the payments made from the account ? about $100,000 each year since 2005 ? were not for travel, but for contract payments to companies linked to K-State officials, such as Snyder’s SSM Inc., Weiser’s The Weiser Way and Krause’s Horizon Ranch.

“It is not clear why contract payments would be made through the … account as they do not relate to travel,” the audit noted. “As with other payments to employees’ personal corporations, the supporting documentation was minimal.”

The payments, auditors said, could cause the university tax problems.

“Many universities do pay their coaches for appearances and endorsements through a contract with the coach’s personal corporation,” auditors wrote. “However, it is our understanding that the taxing authorities do not look favorably on those situations if it is the athletics department or the university who is arranging for/negotiating the appearances and the endorsements on behalf of the coach, such as is the situation at K-State.”

As of the end of last year, auditors said Snyder is owed $900,000 in deferred compensation from payments due after he quit as coach in 2005. He returned as head coach three months ago.

The audit also outlined Snyder’s fringe benefits package in his 2001 contract, which, among other things, included two courtesy vehicles, undergraduate education expenses for his daughters, and a guaranteed five-year contract extension as associate athletic director for his son after Snyder’s departure.

The report also said Snyder’s complete compensation package for his current service as coach remained unsettled three months after his most recent hiring. His announced annual salary is $1.85 million.

Other concerns cited in the audit:

?The Kansas State University Foundation, which provides funds for scholarships, had a $2.4 million deficit in 2007. The athletic department eventually replaced part of the shortfall.

“We questioned the athletics department’s responsibility for involvement in this transaction and were told that as the athletics department fell under the purview of Mr. Krause, Mr. Krause elected to solve the issue in this manner and that the athletics department clearly did not have any responsibility for the payments. Per President Wefald, this arrangement was negotiated with his knowledge and approval,” according to the audit.

?Wefald had access to a $385,000 discretionary fund from which a few transactions “did not appear to be an appropriate use … or was missing.” Among those payments: $1,191 to pay for Kerry Wefald, his daughter-in-law, to fly to New York as part of an arts program.

...“Various monthly payments made in 2005 and 2006 in the $700 to $800 range to RB Enterprises Inc. carries no explanation at all,” the auditors found.

?A conflict of interest existed involving Wefald, Krause and Krause’s wife, all of whom were investors in companies assisted by the National Institute for Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization (NISTAC), a nonprofit organization based in Manhattan with ties to K-State.

Wefald and Krause invested in a company called NutriJoy, founded in 2000 to develop and market “nutritional technologies.” Krause invested $37,500 and Wefald $35,000 in 2002.

That investment, combined with their oversight responsibilities at K-State, “can call into question their decision-making in situations such as that involving NutriJoy,” auditors wrote.

In spring 2005, NutriJoy experienced cash-flow problems that were undermining its plans to partner with a large food or beverage company, according to the audit.

At an April 2005 meeting of NISTAC’s board, which Krause led at the time, it adopted a resolution that said any future capital raised was first to be used to repay investors, such as Krause. Auditors said minutes of the meeting did not reflect whether Krause and Kent Glasscock ? a former Kansas House speaker and NISTAC president who also was a NutriJoy investor ? recused themselves from the vote.

Auditors said they were denied access to a NutriJoy stockholders agreement.

In other financial transactions, auditors found that the Colbert Hills Golf Course in Manhattan ? which has connections to K-State ? was built on 315 acres purchased from the Vanier family, in-laws of Krause.

KC Star*

Current recruiting news & college basketball news can now be found here.

Posted on 6/20 9:14 AM | IP: Logged

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