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Tom Keegan: Beaty gives captains big role in choosing punishment for handshake snub

Kansas head coach David Beaty yells at a player during the third quarter on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas Public Radio issued an apology/correction to Kansas football coach David Beaty for reporting Wednesday that he was in on the plan for the captains to stiff leading Heisman Trophy candidate Baker Mayfield at the coin-toss handshake.

The mistake arose when the sound used of Daniel Wise talking about the Monday meeting between Beaty and the captains was misinterpreted as the discussion having taken place before the incident, rather than on Monday, two days after the display of poor sportsmanship.

The Monday discussion centered on the punishment. Remarkably, the captains had a hand in crafting the nature of the punishment, which actually is too strong a word to use.

If ever Beaty wants to run for judge, the fact that he allowed those being punished to have a big say in the penalty surely will keep him from getting elected.

Simon Cowell, Beaty is not.

“We talked a little bit about what was going to take place, and it was good listening to their thoughts, as well,” Beaty said at his Tuesday presser. “One of the things that they articulated before I talked about what we were going to do with them was the fact that they felt terrible about a lot of different things, but one of which was senior day, and that those guys were not able to be really honored in the way that they wished they could have.”

The coach tugged at the heartstrings of the fans with that one, painting the captains as contrite heroes thinking of their senior brethren. Then the coach announced the “punishment.”

“Those guys are not going to be captains for us this week,” Beaty said. “In their place, we're going to send our seniors out to be the captains this week in an attempt to give these guys the proper honoring that they deserve, and I know those guys felt strongly about that. As a matter of fact, they were the ones who actually brought it up to me, which I was really impressed with.”

I’m getting misty-eyed. Come to think of it, let’s throw a parade for the junior captains!

My takeaway from Saturday night’s handshake-gate was that it proved the captains didn’t fear consequences from the football coach — and they were right in not fearing any. There haven’t been consequences. So they don’t get to walk onto the field for the coin toss for one game. Big deal.

As everyone knows, Beaty was pretty cool with the handshake caper after the game and, two days later, apologized to the world. What changed? Presumably, athletic director Sheahon Zenger, too late to undo the damage done by Beaty in the postgame presser, let him know his Saturday night take didn’t get the job done. Perhaps influential alumni weighed in, as well.

By nature, Zenger is not a proactive AD. In this instance, that quality could have come in handy had he cut off Beaty on his way to the postgame press conference and made sure he would be properly outraged at the botched coin toss.

It was disappointing that the captain whose idea it was still has not fessed up, because in so doing, he would have lessened the role of the others to accomplices. Now, they all take the full hit.

Oh, well, it could have been worse. Try to picture the fallout had KU cornerback Hasan Defense's cheap shot on Mayfield not only ended his season and hurt his chances at winning the Heisman Trophy, but also prevented Oklahoma, and thereby the Big 12, from reaching the four-team college football playoff. The Big 12 already can't be too delighted about Kansas averaging 26,641 spectators for its seven home games when the other nine members average 59,613.

As for the Sooners, well, disrespected opponents tend to have long memories. Want to pay for your 2018 Christmas gifts? Then fly to Las Vegas in advance of the Nov. 17 KU-OU football game in Norman and bet the over. Count on Sooners coach Lincoln Riley trying to pin 100 points on Beaty's Jayhawks, and don't think he won't have the players to make that happen.

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