As a candidate for Kansas Senate, Michael O’Donnell argued that “government is the problem, not the answer.” As if to demonstrate his point, the Statehouse newbie offered a bill Tuesday to mandate that the University of Kansas and Kansas State University play Wichita State University in men’s basketball each year starting in 2014-15.
As great as it would be to watch the No. 22 Shockers play the No. 5 Jayhawks or the No. 13 Wildcats about now, preferably at Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena, sports scheduling is not a job for state government. Kansas’ teams need all the booking flexibility they can get to stay competitive in the current NCAA, and KU finds it “hard to play games away from Allen Fieldhouse since that’s our main source of budget every year,” as coach Bill Self told ESPN last week. Lawmakers should not be micromanaging what are important financial decisions for these schools and their athletic departments. At least O’Donnell dropped his worse idea of making KU’s state funding contingent on playing WSU.
O’Donnell, who decided after just 14 months on the Wichita City Council that he was ready to run for the Senate, needs to slow down and learn what constitutes worthy legislation. In the meantime, his colleagues should pay no attention to his basketball bill and concentrate on their real work, such as closing next year’s budget gap.