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From only a basketball perspective, Kansas has put on one of the best seasons in college hoops this year. The Jayhawks won a 13th straight Big 12 title, are ranked No. 1 in the country and will probably be a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday.
But there’s been drama as backdrop for the Jayhawks for much of the season. Many players, including stars on the team, have found themselves in trouble, be it legal or otherwise. Devonte’ Graham was recently arrested for an unpaid ticket. Lagerald Vick was reportedly found to have hit a woman in late 2015, but if any punishment came down on Vick, it was never disclosed. Carlton Bragg was erroneously accused of domestic assault in December, then cleared. In January, Bragg was suspended after drug paraphernalia was found in his dorm room.
The latest issue creating controversy in Lawrence, and buzzing nationally, is the dichotomy of punishments (or lack thereof) between two players.
One is on the Kansas women’s team.
The other is KU star freshman Josh Jackson.
A story co-bylined in the Kansas City Star details an aggravated father, who is pointing out an apparent double standard when it comes to player discipline. The father is Tim Calvert, father to McKenzie Calvert, who reportedly was suspended after an incident in December. Jackson damaged Calvert’s car. McKenzie Calvert is also the woman, reportedly, that was hit by Vick in 2015.
Bill Self has previously said Jackson’s discipline was done “in house” and to date has provided no further details. Calvert’s action of throwing a drink in Vick’s face prompted the incident with the car. Here’s more from The Star.
She was banned from Allen Fieldhouse for two days and unable to study game film or work out with her teammates, according to her family.
Calvert was told by coach Brandon Schneider that her actions before the vandalism warranted the suspension. Before leaving the Yacht Club bar, Calvert threw a drink on one of Jackson’s teammates. She received that suspension, which KU has not acknowledged, about eight or nine hours after the Dec. 9 vandalism occurred, said Tim Calvert, McKenzie’s father.
“They are out in public and represent the university. I fully understood there was some consequences to what she did,” said Calvert, whose daughter had declined to comment before this story was published but spoke to reporters in Oklahoma City after KU lost in the Big 12 Tournament on Friday night. “My biggest issue was the quickness and severity of how she received her punishment. … And what about Josh?”
On Feb. 24, it was reported that Jackson was charged with damage of property, a misdemeanor count. The police report of the incident estimated the damage at nearly $3,000.
If Jackson faced actual punishment, the Kansas program neglected to disclose it. This has left KU coach Bill Self open to criticism and skepticism. Calvert’s family has hired a lawyer, citing concerns over Title IX violations. Title IX is a law that protects male and female collegiate athletes from inequality on a number of fronts. The law reads: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
“I’m feeling there is retaliation going on and attempts to silence her,” Calvert’s father told The Star, adding that Calvert’s initial actions of calling the police may have prompted the irregularity in punishment between the players.
Jackson has not missed a game for Kansas this season. With the NCAA Tournament less than two weeks away, it stands to reason that this issue could still gain more attention going forward. Jackson is one of the most well-known players in the sport and a projected top-five pick in June’s NBA Draft.