December 7, 2023

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

KU Fans Breathe Easy, Josh Jackson Good to Go

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As Jackson case proves, it is not easy to get thrown off a good basketball team in March.

“Hell no!” said KU basketball coach Bill Self when asked if he had seen anything that might prevent star freshman guard Josh Jackson from playing in the NCAA basketball tournament that starts this week.

“Okay, that answers your question,” Self added, as though the question were somehow inappropriate. The question was not about Jackson’s health, but about his legal status. He had been charged on February 24 in Douglas County District Court on a misdemeanor vandalism charge.

Jackson is accused of damaging the car of KU women’s basketball player McKenzie Calvert. Although the damage to Calvert’s car was in excess of $3,000, the state did not charge Jackson with felony criminal damage–that is, damage in excess of $1,000–because it could not prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Jackson caused all of it.

A year earlier another KU basketball player, Lagerald Vick, was investigated by the university for allegedly punching Calvert and kicking her in the face. The university’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access recommended two years probation for Vick.  Vick was apparently with Jackson when he vandalized Calvert’s car but was not charged.

Calvert’s father Tim has been outspoken in his criticism of the disparate treatment shown his daughter and the male KU players. McKenzie was promptly suspended for two games for throwing a drink in a KU player’s face immediately before her car–actually her father’s car–was vandalized. Since then, she has seen her playing time cut in half.

“I’m feeling there is retaliation going on and attempts to silence her,” Tim Calvert said of his daughter. “My biggest issue was the quickness and severity of how she received her punishment. … And what about Josh?” The Calvert family has hired an attorney specializing in Title IX complaints.

KU has a number one seed in the upcoming tournament. Jackson is the team’s second highest scorer. KU lost the one game Jackson was suspended. In a teleconference on Monday, Self seemed to treat the Jackson case as something of an annoyance. “I’m mad at the situation,” said Self, “but I’m not necessarily pointing fingers and saying I’m mad at an individual or a parent or anything like that, because here’s the reality of it … You don’t know. I don’t know. He [Tim Calvert] doesn’t know everything that has transpired, nobody knows.”

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