Would KU Players and Recruits Find Studying a Couple Weeks a Year on Aruba Appealing?

  • One of the problems I have with KU and KUAD is their XTReme underutilization of their resources and possibilities for improving university academics AND athletics WITH academics. It is like the Chancellor and the AD have forgotten that KU is a great research university with a billion dollar annual budget and the capacity to “develop” new funding sources that could make it a lot easier for KU to attract top flight minds and top flight athletes simultanaeously. Everyone loves Lawrence that lives there, but everyone that lives there, or considers going to school there, knows that one needs to get out of the winter and the summer every once in awhile and get a change of pace.

    I grew up studying mesozoic marine reptiles, because of a great uncle who was a high school biology teacher who taught me to collect marine fossils in Kansas. They were residuals of a great inland sea that once covered the Great Plains.

    Later in life I learned that zoologists and marine biologists actually came from esteemed universities on both coasts and from around the world to study the fossil collections of ancient marine life collected at KU. These scholars came from universities with marine science research centers on campus, or near their campuses. UCSB, where the former KU women’s basketball coach just took a job, has not one but two Marine Science centers on campus. And the names of the off-campus centers are familiar even to non academics: Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Woods Hole, and so on. These institutes and centers are invariably in beautiful locations that academics from all over the world dream one day of living and working in.

    But there is still another kind of marine science installation that most do not know about. Certain universities individually, or jointly, maintain marine science research stations in extraordinary locations around the world, where faculty go from time to time to do research. There are marine science research stations in many, many beautiful tropical and Mediterranean climate locales around the world. The Mediterranean climate coastal region of Chile is a place few think about, but it is absolutely beautiful coastal region next to perhaps the greatest ocean upwelling and fishing locations in the world. Surprise, surprise, it has a marine science research station. There are such research stations scattered through the tropics and Mediterranean locations around the world. Their existence is, among other things, a perk to a hot academic that a university is “recruiting” for its faculty.

    Perhaps it is time for KU to open a marine dinosaur (technically known as Mesozoic Marine Reptile) research station somewhere in the Caribbean, say on Nevis, or Aruba, or wherever a marvelous tropical setting has the promise of habitat conducive to study of Mesozoic Marine Reptiles, where KU players could then go and take classes for a couple of weeks each semester and during a summer term studying ancient marine reptiles, after having studied ancient marine reptiles of the mesozoic inland sea that once covered Kansas before departing. I am confident KU’s Biology-Zoology department would leap at the chance to start up and staff such a facility and participate in such a research undertaking. And I am confident that between the estimable Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little’s “grant development” skills, AND the KU Basketball Alumni Contributor Base, that a world class KU Mesozoic Marine Science Research Station could be instituted, funded, built, and operated, that would generate both ongoing grant funding from the Navy, and other sectors, keen on studying known and yet to be discovered capabilities of mesozoic marine reptiles that might be adapted to Navy purposes, national security purposes, and simple advancement of basic science.

    Classes and/or research programs could make use of KU graduate and undergraduate students including KU Basketball players.

    KU could thus offer recruits and players not only the great challenge and opportunity of playing for the Father of All College Basketball Programs, of developing one’s game in pursuit of huge professional salaries and endorsement revenues that the best KU players increasingly often achieve, and the chance to play in the greatest arena in college, or pro basketball, and the chance to attend one of America’s true gems of public higher education academically and socially, but also to spend significant time three times a year in a tropical isle participating in the thrill of exploration and learning amidst the warm beauty of one of the world’s great oceans.

    Now, I ask you: what are the chances that Brandon Ingram, Cheick Diallo, Malik Newman, and Jaylen Brown would choose Lexington, KY, or Durham, NC, over KU under this scenario?

    I mean, the Cumberland Mountains are nice once, if you like camping, and Wrightsville on a weekend is nice, but how would those compare with Aruba, or Tahiti, or the Seychelles?

    And Kansas has the Mesozoic Marine Reptile location and collections needed to get started on this immediately.

    I bet the Boothe’s would love something like this.

    But if Mesozoic Marine Reptiles are not the hot ticket, then many, many fields of study in the KU curriculum can benefit from overseas research stations. And not a few of those fields of scientific inquiry can find highly desirable locations for research station location.

    There is NO reason KU cannot meet or beat the competition for academics and athletes simply by doing the right thing for a good university to do–research and teach and develop.

    Rock Chalk!

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