LAWRENCE — Kansas basketball coach Bill Self on Friday endorsed a university plan to build a $17.5 million apartment complex to house 66 KU students, including KU’s men’s and women’s basketball players.
The apartments, which would be built south of Allen Fieldhouse on Naismith Drive, would be ready for the 2015-16 school year. The KU basketball players currently live in Jayhawker Towers, an apartment complex northwest of Allen Fieldhouse which Self said was far behind some of the housing that KU’s biggest competitors can offer while making their recruiting pitches.
“Everybody will have their own take,” Self said. “But housing, where our student-athletes reside now, is way, way, way, way behind what the competitors would be housing their student-athletes in, in a big way.”
To comply with NCAA rules, at least half of the residents of the proposed project would have to be non-athletes. While the cost would be a large investment for a small number of athletes and students, Self believes the project would help his program in recruiting. In addition, he also said the apartments could be built to have better security measures and privacy for some of KU’s more high-profile basketball players.
“In order for us to maintain and even exceed what we’ve been doing, there are certain things that have to be done,” Self said. “Why did we renovate Allen Fieldhouse? Why did we build a practice facility? Why do you renovate offices and locker rooms? Bells and whistles are very, very important, and the one thing that I would say, and we’ve said this all along, ‘Why did we build a new academic center?’ It’s for the benefit, and certainly for the development, of the student-athletes.
“They deserve to have a situation to live in which they can be monitored, in which they can obviously have more security.”