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Jack McCallum
February 13, 1995
Meet Jacque Vaughn—and say goodbye to some old notions about pampered athletes
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February 13, 1995

The Diary Of A Student-athlete

Meet Jacque Vaughn—and say goodbye to some old notions about pampered athletes

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In the five days from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, Kansas sophomore point guard Jacque Vaughn helped win two basketball games for the now No. 2-ranked Jayhawks. He collected 22 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds, three steals and one sprained ankle. He attended 12 hours of classes, took one calculus test and spent another eight hours or so doing homework. He went to three practices that took up seven hours, spent two hours in the training room getting treatment, 60 minutes lifting in the weight room and 30 minutes conferring with his academic adviser. He got one haircut and watched snatches of college basketball and some morning TV. He wolfed down a couple of burgers, a grilled chicken sandwich or two, a pastrami on rye and several bowls of Fruity Pebbles. He worried for an undisclosed number of hours about playing Iowa State, signed 100 or so autographs, talked to two dozen reporters and, to his way of thinking, spent entirely too much time hanging out with a persistent writer and photographer from this publication.

And, oh, yes, he competed in one Funny Hat competition.

"Actually," said Vaughn when it was all over, "it was kind of a typical week."

To get an idea of what a "typical" week might be for a student-athlete facing a big weekend game, SI chronicled the comings and goings of Vaughn, a top player in a top program, during the time between Tuesday's Colorado game and last Saturday's showdown with Iowa State. We concede that to call Vaughn typical is an exaggeration. There are few student-athletes—or just students for that matter—who sit down on a weekend evening and plot their academic plan of attack for the upcoming week. Nor do the majority of the nation's jocks have a three-semester cumulative average of 3.78 as this Jacque does. But we wanted someone who takes the dual responsibilities of student and athlete seriously.

"Well," said Kansas coach Roy Williams, "you found him."

Wednesday, Feb. 1

By 9:15 a.m. Vaughn is in front of the Jayhawker Towers waiting for the bus that will take him up Jayhawk Boulevard to his 9:30 math class. (One trip to Lawrence, Kans., and you've pretty much had your fill of the word Jayhawk in all its myriad forms.) A couple of students shout "Good game," but no one, least of all Vaughn, is particularly excited about the previous evening's 99-77 victory over Colorado, the Big Eight's doormat. Vaughn's immediate concerns are the right ankle that he sprained and the Calculus II test for which he studied until 2:30 a.m. However, the instructor postpones the test until Friday.

Vaughn is taking calculus because, as a business major, two semesters of it are required. Among his 15 credits for the first semester were three A's and a B, giving him 11 A's and three B's in his three semesters at KU. If you think he's happy about that, you do not yet know Jacque Vaughn. "I worry about the B's more than I think about the A's," he says.

Vaughn's diligence in the classroom is not lost on his calculus instructor. "I was surprised when I saw him in here," says Bryan Lee, who is Korean. "Not many athletes take calc, and I wonder how he has the time. It is a very difficult course. In my country athletes at the university don't do anything. They don't go to class, and they get all the special privileges."

Vaughn's Wednesday course load is light, and he's finished at 11:20, after his 50-minute Spanish II class. It would be a good opportunity for the average student to kick back, maybe grab a nap or listen to some music, but, for Vaughn, a busy day is just beginning. En route to the Watkins Health Center for X-rays of his ankle, he sees a familiar face. "Hey, Mr. Wright," he says, tapping Dick Wright, a music professor, on the shoulder.

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