LAWRENCE — Kansas football coach Mark Mangino poked senior linebacker Arist Wright in the chest during a practice before a game at Colorado, sources told The Eagle on Tuesday evening, triggering an athletic department investigation of Mangino.
On Monday night, Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins met with the entire KU team to discuss concerns relating to Mangino's treatment of student-athletes. One of those concerns came from Wright, who sources say told Perkins of his incident with Mangino.
At the meeting, where Mangino was not present, KU players were invited to bring forward information in front of a formal panel that, according to quarterback Todd Reesing, would be from outside of the athletic department and unbiased.
"I can confirm an internal review is under way," Perkins said in a statement. "It involves a personnel matter, and as a result, is confidential. It would be inappropriate for me to provide further information right now."
Mangino said Tuesday at his weekly scheduled news conference that he has not lost his team.
"Not one bit," Mangino said. "I may have lost some people around here, but it's not players."
Asked what he meant, Mangino said, "Take it for what it's worth. You decipher it and see."
Mangino certainly may have been talking about Perkins, who met with Mangino for 10 to 15 minutes on Monday night, according to the coach.
Players interviewed Tuesday said that Mangino has not changed the way he deals with them this season. Mangino said he felt the reason that there are issues now is the Jayhawks' five-game losing streak, which started with a loss at Colorado.
"This is what comes when things aren't going well," Mangino said. "You're going to find disgruntled people. It's a fact of any organization, whether it's sport related, whether it's corporate, any profession you're in. ... That's life. It's how it works."
Mangino was asked if he thinks there would be an investigation into his behavior if the Jayhawks were 5-1 instead of 1-5.
"No," he said.