In the power rankings for juicy hotbeds of athletics gossip, Lawrence, Kan., bestrides the field like a sullen Colossus. To review, since the start of the 2009 football season, we've already seen:
• A series of on-campus dustups between the football and basketball teams;
• A sprawling, multi-sport, multimillion-dollar ticket-scalping scandal perpetrated by a department employee and a booster.
Now, just to make things interesting, we have William Dent, former director of sports medicine for the university, admitting to blackmailing Perkins over a seven-month period from last September to April with evidence of alleged quid-pro-quo.
The noir narrative apparently begins with Perkins accepting exercise equipment from a company in exchange for an upgrade to that company's basketball tickets, a charge the university denies. Dent responds by – brace yourselves for something truly dreadful – taking the equipment for himself and attempts to extort money for storage costs. (It's worth restating here that Perkins, the highest-paid AD in the country by a gulfy margin, made a cool $4 million last year.)
"I was unemployed, and I wanted to screw with him," Dent said Monday.
"Was I compelling him to do something he didn't want to do? Yes," he said. "Was I trying to make myself richer doing it? No."
Our favorite part has to be the meticulousness with which Dent conducted his affairs. Can you imagine reading this laid out in cut-up magazine letters?
Dent wrote that he told Perkins these things "in another attempt to motivate Mr. Perkins to resolve this issue by 6 p.m. Pacific today."
Very considerate of him to include the timezone, there. Neither of these two parties, it bears mentioning, come across as exactly standup guys to begin with, which should make the ensuing investigation very interesting:
Perkins last week accepted responsibility after an internal investigation revealed six former employees secretly sold nearly 20,000 men's basketball and football tickets at a loss of more than $1 million to the university from 2005-10, but he denied any legal wrongdoing.
Dent was hired at KU in 2004 and resigned in 2007 after being charged with six crimes, including felony aggravated assault as a result of a domestic incident involving his then-wife and another man.
Blackmail is a felony, though Dent has not yet been arrested. We assume this is due to delighted Kansas State fans in local law enforcement determined to drag this out as long as possible, and it's hard to blame them for that: The local news' nightly sports report has never been more captivating.
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Holly welcomes your adulation and veiled threats at nastinchka-at-yahoo, etc.