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Taj Mahal or not?
Charlie's Inside Corner
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LARNED — Last week the University of Kansas announced plans for a $17.5 million apartment complex that will house 32 KU men’s and women’s basketball players and 34 other students.
Some folks are screaming that it is a Taj Mahal, another piece of the idol worship of today’s athletes.
Others, including  Kansas coaches, feel it is necessary if KU wants to “keep up” in the constantly escalating battle to lure the best athletes to campus.
A few things jump out at us here.
First the cost. $17.5 million. You KNOW it will cost more. That’s the way building projects go. Always over budget.
Secondly, the cost of this project will be privately funded. It is not taxpayer money. Most of those complaining about it are Wichita State and Kansas State fans.
KU fans, sensing a competitive advantage here, agree that it is necessary.
So what else is new?
My take on it is simple. There is so much money being brought into the NCAA and its’ member institutions by college sports and it IS NOT trickling down to the athletes. If the NCAA and the universities continue to promote the sham of “amateurism” and keep the athletes from sharing in this largesse, then some of that money has got to show up in other ways and plush living quarters is a way to reward the athletes while still maintaining the charade that they are amateurs.
Today’s major-college athlete — the same one who helps fill the 75,000-seat stadiums — receives exactly the same benefits that his counterpart of the 1950’s received yet he is expected, no, required to give much more of his time, his personal life and his energies than athletes of years gone by.
College athletics ARE a business, not a recreational pastime. The money is there and if the only way to share it with the athletes is by providing them outstanding living facilities, then I don’t have a problem with it.

CHALK  TALK — Is it just me or does it seem like to you also that Brady Heslip, the three-point specialist for the Baylor Bears, has been there for at least 10 years? ... If you haven’t seen the St. John-Hudson boys basketball team play this year, you’re missing a treat. They are the real deal, regardless of school size. They would be a tough matchup for anyone from Class 6A to 1A. They’ve got size, speed, shooting and in-your-face defense and good coaching! ... Is anyone in college basketball doing as good a job as K-State’s Bruce Weber at getting production out of the talent on hand? He’s got the ’Cats playing at the peak of their abilities ... The Nebraska Cornhuskers have been voted the dominant college football team of the past 50 years. During Tom Osborne’s 25 years, he led Nebraska to 13 conference titles during a time that Oklahoma was also dominant ... Are you ready for the Winter Olympics? You know, it’s the time when guys like Apolo Ohno once again become household names. I always thought Apolo Ohno was the name of one of our space missions! ... What’s your vote for the biggest miracle of 2013,  Auburn University’s two game-ending plays or former basketball coach-turned tv analyst Bob Knight actually caught smiling during a telecast? ... In Wichita, the Shockers are “playing angry,” in Manhattan they have the “temple of doom” and in Lawrence “beware of the Phog.” Does any other state have such a collection  of great basketball venues? ... Hey you Chiefs fans. Did you know that the meltdown loss to the Colts actually broke an NFL record? Yep. Eight straight losses in the playoffs is a record. Look on the bright side. At least the Chiefs were IN the playoffs! ... Remember these great words from Yogi Berra: “You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there!”

Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned