Archive for Wednesday, October 24, 1990

KU STUCK FOREVER WITH HILL DILEMMA

October 24, 1990

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King Solomon is dead so they can't beat a path to his throne room in search of a solution.

The Delphic Oracle might have an answer, but who can figure out its silly riddles anyway?

Maybe they should call Lou Piniella. The Cincinnati Reds skipper sure had all the answers last week.

The dilemma is . . .

What can the Kansas University athletic department do about Campanile Hill on game days?

WITH KANSAS State coming to town on Saturday, perhaps as many as 5,000 freeloaders will view the game from that semi-distant vantage point unique to major college football.

"Bowl scouts who come in here are amazed," KU athletic director Bob Frederick told me. "People who come here for the first time can't believe it."

Campanile Hill is steeped in as much Kansas University lore as Mount Oread, Potter Lake, the Chi Omega fountain and the three parking spaces on Jayhawk Boulevard.

"The Hill" is the site of the KU's tradition-rich commencement parade and, as such, is immune from any permanent additions or subtractions to its landscape. In other words, it will never be the site of, say, the Gene A. Budig ROTC Library, or a Strong Hall annex or a terraced parking lot.

THERE CAMPANILE Hill stands and there it will stay as the best bleacher-seat bargain in all of major college football. All you need is a blanket to prevent grass stain and a radio to prevent eye strain. You can bring your own food and beverages. Bring anything you want, but don't bring a ticket.

"It's frustrating," says Doug Vance, KU's assistant athletic director in charge of marketing. "They care enough to be there, but they don't care enough to pay the price of admission. The most frustrating thing is there's nothing we can do about it."

Nothing? Well, maybe not. But here are 10 suggestions for dealing with the problem.

10. STREW THUMB TACKS.

Advantage: Some deadbeats might stand on the hill, but it's unlikely very many would sit on it. Disadvantage: Difficulty in retrieval.

9. MAKE IT INTO A SKI AREA.

Advantage: Who wants to be part of a giant slalom course? Disadvantage: High cost of an artificial snow-making machine.

8. MAKE IT A HELICOPTER PARKING LOT.

Advantage: Helicopters make effective visual barriers. Disadvantage: All the helicopters are in Saudi Arabia.

7. FILL IT WITH CAMPAIGN YARD SIGNS.

Advantage: People will see fewer campaign signs in yards. Disadvantage: Signs are easily removed and the stakes can be used as weapons.

6. DROP A STINK BOMB.

Advantage: Highly effective if wind is out of the north. Disadvantage: Counter-productive if wind is out of south.

5. TURN SKATEBOARDERS LOOSE.

Advantage: Not even freeloaders can stand skateboarders. Disadvantage: Skateboarders are hard on grass.

4. HOLD MOCK COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES.

Advantage: Interminable graduation parade would block view for hours, and grads sitting in stadium would boost attendance. Disadvantage: Danger of footballs flying into podium.

3. TURN STADIUM AROUND.

Advantage: People on hill could not see over towering concrete horseshoe. Disadvantage: Press box denizens would be blinded by setting sun.

2. MOVE ALL HOME GAMES TO ARROWHEAD STADIUM.

Advantage: Nobody sneaks a free peek where NFL Chiefs play. Disadvantage: Chancellor and athletic director would be fired if they approved move.

1. BUILD NEW STADIUM ON WEST CAMPUS.

Advantages: Too numerous to mention. Disadvantages: None.

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