The Kansas City Star continues to highlight the male-first atmosphere that appears to embody Kansas athletics, reporting on Friday that women’s basketball player McKenzie Calvert was barred from Allen Fieldhouse for two days after her was car vandalized and she was accosted by a star member of the men’s team. Kansas has not yet responded to our request for comment.
Calvert was involved in a confrontation with star men’s player Josh Jackson and teammate LeGerald Vick at a local bar in December 2016. She is reported to have thrown a drink on Vick—who the school found to likely be guilty of hitting her in the arm and kicking her in the face in 2015—before attempting to leave, only to be interrupted when Jackson followed her out of the bar and kicked her door and taillight as she sat in her car. Jackson was charged with criminal damage to property last week.
The Star provided details of the evening via a statement from the Calvert family:
After she left the bar, Jackson “followed her shouting obscenities as she walked through the Yacht Club’s parking lot, across a two-lane street, and into the parking lot of another business where her car was parked front end first against a parking barrier.”
“She could not drive the car forward due to a parking barrier and could not reverse because Jackson was moving from front to back vandalizing her car. Other KU men and women players exited the Yacht Club finding Josh Jackson kicking the car.”
Calvert then called 911, though a women’s coaching staff member on-hand asked her not to involve the police department, per the family. Jackson was the only one charged in the case, though the district attorney cited “other unidentifiable individuals damaging the vehicle” in their report—the “unidentifiable” detail may have had to do with the fact that Calvert’s windshield was busted by a rock or large debris, according to the police report.
The Star spoke with Calvert’s father, Tim, last week, who informed them that his daughter was banned from using Allen Fieldhouse or studying film after the incident. Head coach Brandon Schneider also suspended her for the upcoming Dec. 11 game against Rhode Island, but relented after her father contacted him. Calvert still didn’t play in the game, as she had been banned from practice and film sessions for the past two days because men’s players were also using the facilities at that time, per her father. When asked why she received a DNP, a team official at the time said she wasn’t feeling well.
When Calvert’s father called Schneider to ascertain why his daughter was suspended within a day’s time and Vick was not officially forced to miss time for abusing his daughter the prior year, the coach allegedly told him, “Well, Mr. Calvert, the difference is, what McKenzie did was in public and what Lagerald did last year was in private.” Vick missed two games in December 2015; the team said at the time it was due to illness.
While Tim acknowledged that her teammates assisted her the night Jackson damaged her car, he criticized the administration and coaching staff for doing more to protect him at every turn. In August 2016, Calvert struck a parked car and received a citation for driving away when she later reported it. This resurfaced when a detective investigating the damage done by Jackson requested receipts from the repairs—an assistant coach on the women’s team reportedly called the detective to ensure the damage from the August incident would not be conflated with the damage caused by Jackson.
Kansas spokesperson Jim Marchiony released the following statement to the Star:
“Individual coaches are responsible for their team’s discipline, and these decisions are monitored and overseen by sport supervisors and, ultimately, the Director of Athletics. We will not discuss specific individuals or any potential or completed disciplinary matters. Unfortunately, you are reporting as facts the description of an event from someone who was not present. The individuals involved know the avenues available to them to bring their concerns forward and we are confident in those procedures.”
Jackson’s punishment for damaging Calvert’s car was reportedly handled “in-house,” according to men’s head coach Bill Self. The standout forward has started all 30 games this season and is expected to be a lottery pick in June’s NBA Draft. A lawyer representing Jackson provided the Star with the following statement:
“Josh attempted to intervene to help and protect a teammate and unfortunately the matter escalated,” it read in part. “Josh has apologized for his actions and has also offered to pay for any damages that he directly caused. He looks forward to moving past this so that he is able to focus on school and basketball.”
The family has since retained the services of a Title IX lawyer; Tim also contacted Kansas and Big 12 officials to raise concerns over the unfair treatment faced by McKenzie.
Meanwhile, Self spoke of how proud he was of his team on Thursday for dealing with all the “crap and distractions” this season—such as Jackson’s charges or the revelation of Vick’s abusive history or the current police investigation of an alleged rape of a 16-year-old at the men’s basketball team dorm.
Kids should be able to go out and relax and have fun and play the game they love, even though it’s playing for pretty high stakes. And those things that transpire probably didn’t allow them to do that quite as much, which is disappointing. But I certainly understand it. I mean, it’s certainly human nature, and then when you’re — when you have issues in front of you that must be dealt with and you have issues that are obviously going to be talked about, it’s nobody — it’s not the media’s fault that that stuff’s brought up. But it’s also a way that, you know, hopefully that you can kind of rally around those things, as well.