LAWRENCE, Kan. — Another season of college basketball is underway. For the University of Kansas that meant an annual tradition, Late Night in the Phog.
But this year’s outlook for the season is a little foggier than usual, and not just because rap icon Snoop Dogg performed inside Allen Fieldhouse on Friday night.
Fans waiting to get inside were more concerned with the actual clouds dropping heavy rains on them than the cloud hanging over the KU Men’s Basketball program, with possible NCAA sanctions looming.
KU is denying the Level 1 infraction allegations and will defend itself before the NCAA.
Coach Bill Self told the crowd he’s never been so excited to coach a team than his 17th season he’ll coach at the University of Kansas. He thanked the administration, athletic department and fans for their support during what he called a difficult time.
The appeals process shouldn’t impact the current team and didn’t seem to impact many fans expectations for the season or the night.
“I just like the energy of Allen Fieldhouse, and it really just gets you pumped up for the whole season. And you really just feel how devoted people are to KU Basketball,” Sammi Tof said.
“It’s so fun. There’s nothing like going to KU for basketball,” Sophie Van Hosen said.
On the court, there have been some graduations and transfers. Silvio De Sousa is back after sitting out last season amid an NCAA investigation.
The chance of a postseason ban sometime in the future looms large for some fans.
“I think that’s going to be a challenge to mentally get past that and hopefully keep everybody positive and not focus on that and focus on winning,” Amber Burton said.
But many students are just trying to savor the moment.
“It’s not in our hands. We are just going to go out and cheer on our team whatever the case may be. We are going to enjoy it,” Luke Kennedy said.
Some inside the arena said they were most excited for Snoop Dogg’s performance that closed out the night. He performed classics like “The Next Episode” and “Gin and Juice.”