Kansas Jayhawk basketball fans rally to welcome home championship team

Kansas Reflector welcomes opinion pieces from writers who share our goal of expanding the conversation about how public policy affects the daily lives of people across our state. Eric Thomas directs the Kansas Scholastic Press Association and teaches visual journalism and photojournalism at the University of Kansas.

When we think of “back to basics” at a college or university, we think of fall football games, Main Street parades, and returning alumni.

College athletics offers another kind of “homecoming” for a lucky team in every sport: when they return from any neutral site on campus to celebrate their victory. Professional sports, especially baseball and basketball, often end the season with the champion winning his last game in front of his home crowd. College sports rarely crown their home champions.

So on Tuesday, the NCCA champion Jayhawks made their comeback.

The men’s basketball team returned to Lawrence and stood at the 50-yard line at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium to hear fans react to their Monday night win over the University of Carolina Tar Heels North, 72-69, at Caesar’s Superdome. in New Orleans.

The stadium was open for free to all fans, especially university students. They enjoyed a day of classes that, although not officially canceled by the university, were often “optional” or canceled by the instructor. Many players followed Bill Self’s turn on the microphone, thanking their fans for believing in them.

Of course, the players had danced under the confetti on Monday night in New Orleans. But hoisting the trophy to Lawrence on Tuesday meant hometown fans wouldn’t wait until the fall, when the Jayhawks unfurl a sixth national championship banner, to celebrate.

A little fan dressed as a Jayhawk meets the big J, the University of Kansas mascot, at a pep rally to celebrate the men’s basketball teams victory over the University of North Carolina. (Eric Thomas for Kansas Reflector)
Kansas coach Bill Self waves to the crowd as he leaves the cheering rally at David Booth Memorial Stadium April 5, while a large screen in the background projects an image of the team and the final score of their victory in the championship game. (Eric Thomas for Kansas Reflector)
During an interview with a group of reporters after the pep rally, Kansas coach Bill Self smiles as he describes videos he viewed showing crowds celebrating in downtown Lawrence. (Eric Thomas for Kansas Reflector)
Senior Mitch Lightfoot looks back at coach Bill Self as he congratulates him on the work he did to win the Jayhawks the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship during a cheer rally at the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. (Eric Thomas for Kansas Reflector)
With the net of one of the Final Four rims around his neck, David McCormick steps forward to address the crowd at the Jayhawks’ cheering rally to celebrate their victory at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. (Eric Thomas for Kansas Reflector)
The most notable player in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four was KU’s Ochai Agbaji. He addressed a crowd of thousands on April 5 to celebrate the Jayhawks’ victory. (Eric Thomas for Kansas Reflector)
Some University of Kansas men’s basketball fans waited an hour and a half for the team to arrive for a pep rally to celebrate their championship in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The event took place at KU’s David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. (Eric Thomas for Kansas Reflector)
University of Kansas men’s basketball point guard Remy Martin laughs during a break in his speech to the crowd at a cheer rally April 5. (Eric Thomas for Kansas Reflector)
KU players Bobby Pettiford and Charlie McCarthy joke while waiting for the start of a cheering rally at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium at the University of Kansas after the Jayhawks won the men’s national basketball championship. (Eric Thomas for Kansas Reflector)
Thousands of University of Kansas men’s basketball fans await the team’s arrival in Lawrence on April 5, 2022 to celebrate their national championship. (Eric Thomas for Kansas Reflector)

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