Porn star Samantha Ryan was so pumped about her Sunflower Showdown experience Wednesday night that she had to share it with her 2,000 Twitter followers.
“So excited for my floor seats at the KU/KSU game! Coach Townsend kicks major ass! Rock Chalk Jayhawk Go KU!” her Twitter feed screamed about an hour before tipoff.
Six hours later, after KU’s rousing victory, the 1996 Shawnee Mission Northwest grad Tweeted three pics, showing her front-row view and warm embrace with the Jayhawks mascot, Big Jay.
By 10 a.m. Thursday, the influential sports blog TheBigLead.com had posted a short story about Ryan’s big night at Allen Fieldhouse courtesy of Kansas’ top recruiter, a married father of five.
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It wasn’t long after that, my cell phone rang. Kurtis Townsend wanted to explain how a 32-year-old porn star and former Kansas student wound up with better seats than Charlie Weis for the biggest regular-season basketball game at Allen Fieldhouse in 50 years.
I was all ears.
“I met her on a flight from Los Angeles to Kansas City, back in December,” Townsend said. “I had no idea she was a porn star. She was Jamie (Doe), a former KU student who said she was a big fan of the Jayhawks. We talked on the flight. I was just being nice and gave her my card and told her to call me if she ever wanted to go to a game. I’ve never seen her since. I wouldn’t know what she looked like. I didn’t see her at the game.”
OK. I’m not going to offer a lot of commentary in this column. I meet people on planes all the time.
When the mood strikes me, I do no-strings-attached random acts of kindness. I’m also not above strings-attached random acts of kindness if a sophisticated future hairstylist/nurse/bikini model/waitress has the right conversation.
Only Kurtis Townsend and Samantha Ryan know for sure the randomness and the strings attached to this bit of Jayhawk kindness.
When I spoke with the adult actress by cell phone, her story matched Townsend’s.
“I don’t tell people what I do,” she said. “My job never came up. We were on the same flight and talking. I was Jamie, not Samantha Ryan. I bleed Jayhawk spirit. When I was a student there, Jacque Vaughn and those guys went 34-2. I used to sleep outside for tickets like all the other students. I didn’t know any of the players, but my mom always wanted me to marry Raef LaFrentz. I’m a normal fan.
“When the flight was over, I asked (Townsend) if I could ever get tickets. He gave me his card. That was it.”
Why did she Twitter about it under her porn name?
“I don’t know,” said Ryan, a veteran of more than 150 adult films. “I have like 2,000 followers. I’m not famous or anything. I didn’t think it was a big deal.”
Ryan said she’s in town to support her high school classmate, Kelley Blond, a co-owner of Lady Luck Hair Parlour in Westport. Blond is a candidate for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society woman of the year. There was a kickoff party Thursday night at the Power & Light District.
“This whole controversy is totally ridiculous,” Blond said. “Jamie is a very, very good girl. She’s supportive of me and everything I do in terms of charity work.”
As promised, I have very little to say about any of this. The most important thing I could think to do was rearrange my Thursday-night plans, drop by the charity kickoff party and brag about my Ball State basketball season tickets.
Oh, the journalist in me did wonder whether Ryan was perhaps a recruiting tool for Kansas. We’ve heard the stories about other universities using strippers to recruit top players.
In my mind, there’s just no way that’s possible in this instance. If she had some sort of under-the-table business relationship with Kansas basketball, there’s no way she would Tweet about it. No way.
This is a story about a married man using terrible judgment. First rule of marriage is you can’t be nice to everyone, even when your job is to project a positive image at all times.
“I’ve embarrassed my family. That’s what’s so hard about this,” Townsend admitted. “It’s embarrassing for my daughters. I had to call my wife (Thursday) morning and explain to her how this happened. It doesn’t matter that it was innocent. It’s embarrassing.”
Around noon Thursday, a full two hours after the Ryan-Townsend story first started circulating the Internet and four hours before she came clean to me, Samantha Ryan made one last Twitter post. She tried to throw everyone off the trail.
“Big thanks you-know-who for gettin’ me the tix from Coach T! Best Birthday Present Ever! :) Can you say, I owe ya one!”