Even though it can mean more headaches for her, Diana Miller says she wouldn't trade the success of the Kansas University basketball team for anything in the world.
As ticket manager for the KU Athletic Department, Miller has her hands full trying to meet the demand for Allen Fieldhouse seats. And the more the Jayhawks win, the more juggling Miller and her five-member staff have to do.
For instance, there's the resale program, in which season ticket-holders can turn in tickets to be resold if they aren't able to attend a particular game. Contributors to the Williams Fund, which provides scholarships for KU athletes, are eligible to purchase the unused tickets.
Miller said that for some games there are requests for up to 100 resale tickets. There is a waiting list established for each game.
"Sometimes the resale tickets don't even come in until an hour before the game starts," Miller said. Nevertheless, "we try to keep the arena full. We try to give as many people as possible an opportunity to see the game."
IF THERE aren't enough resale tickets to meet demand, the ticket office will offer general admission seats if they're available, Miller said.
Allen Fieldhouse seats about 15,600 people. About 9,900 of those seats are reserved, and almost 5,700 seats are for KU students with season tickets and the general public.
The price of general admission is $14 a game. Season tickets this year were $224, or $14 a game. And students were able to purchase season tickets for basketball and football for a total of $75.
Miller said so many students attend the Big Eight Conference games that seats for those games usually aren't available for the general public.
"We have to take some time to explain that to people," Miller said.
About the only Big Eight games that might not be packed with students are those played during spring break, such as the Missouri-KU game set for March 8.
"We have no way of knowing whether students are going to stay," Miller said.
Because the game will get network coverage, "We've got to have a full arena one way or another," Miller said. That means her staff will have to work with the athletic director in deciding how many general admission seats should be made available.
MILLER SAID the success of the Jayhawks actually has meant fewer hassles for her in some respects.
Miller, who has worked in the ticket office for 15 years, said, "At first, no one believed we were sold out of season tickets, and now they do. It was sort of an education process."
She said it was after KU won the NCAA basketball championship in 1988 that fewer people began doubting her word.
Also, when a prestigious KU financial donor is visiting campus during football season, the dean of a school might call Miller to request special football tickets for the donor and his or her family.
However, Miller said, because they automatically expect Allen Fieldhouse to be packed, deans turn to higher-ups like the athletic director in making special requests for basketball tickets.
"THEY KNOW we just don't have the seats, but there are always different channels," Miller said.
The NCAA tournament is a whole different ball game.
KU students, faculty and staff and Williams Fund donors are supposed to fill out a form by late February indicating which tournament games they would like to attend. If the number of requests for a game exceeds the number of tickets made available to KU by the NCAA, then a lottery is held to determine who'll get tickets.
Sometimes there are enough tickets for everyone or nearly everyone who applied. However, one has to fill out a form to be considered. And if someone didn't fulfill their obligation to send in somebody else's form, Miller hears some real sob stories, which, unfortunately, could be true.
"We've had wives call up and say, `My husband will divorce me,'" Miller said. "We've had secretaries call up and say they'll get fired."
Miller said her staff works with the athletic director and Williams Fund officials to try to prevent those problems from occurring with Williams Fund contributors.
"IT'S OUR business to know who likes to go to the games," Miller said. "If those people haven't requested tickets, they get a courtesy call from us."
There also were a lot of upset KU students four years ago when the NCAA Championship game, featuring the Jayhawks, was held in Kansas City.
"We're in Kansas City, and you mean we can't go?" was a common cry of students who hadn't filled out a form.
Miller said there are other snags that she and her staff will always encounter, but she offered some tips to Jayhawk fans that could help things go more smoothly:
When picking up tickets that someone dropped off for you, have identification so that the ticket office will know that the tickets are truly meant for you.
Also when picking up tickets that someone dropped off for you, make sure you have the correct name of the person who dropped off the tickets.
If the tickets you were going to pick up are not at the ticket office, don't panic. Perhaps the person who was going to drop them off has not shown up yet.