Spring Break begins early for some KU students, faculty and staff. Destination
Kansas University senior Crystal Bencken has her priorities set.
She's skipping classes Thursday and Friday to enjoy March Madness with the Kansas Jayhawks in Lexington, Ky.
"If you talk to professors in advance it's usually all right. Most of them are basketball fans anyway," said Bencken, who scored a ticket to KU's first NCAA Tournament game against Tennessee-Chattanooga at Rupp Arena.
On Monday, Bencken was among 128 KU students and 53 KU faculty and staff who snagged tickets -- at $60 a pop -- for the first- and second-round matchups.
Mary Burchill, an associate director at KU's law library, and her husband, Brower, KU associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, both qualified for tickets in the lottery.
Should they be regular Kansas Lottery players?
"No," Mrs. Burchill said. "This is the only thing we have ever done good on."
To help spread Jayhawk cheer, the Burchills gave two of their four tickets back to KU.
"We're just happy to get tickets, period," said Mrs. Burchill, who has missed only a half-dozen or so KU home basketball games in 25 years. "We're almost getting too old for this kind of stuff."
Kirk Evans, a systems specialist at KU's Watkins Health Center, was surprised to be told by a reporter he had qualified for tickets in the lottery.
"Great, I win something I didn't even know I signed up for," he said.
Evans recalled signing up for tickets to Midwest bracket games in Wichita and Oklahoma City -- not Southeast bracket tilts.
Another KU ticket lottery winner, Brent Lamb, already had plans to visit St. Louis this weekend. Now, the Gateway City may be a pit stop on the road to Lexington.
"I'm really trying to work this out," said Lamb, an analyst in KU's budget office.
The number-crunching budget guru said the proximity of Lexington should hold down expenses for traveling Jayhawk fans.
"If you're driving it will be a low-cost trip," Lamb said.
KU junior Scott Fisher of Lawrence and his girlfriend, Carla Spitz, applied for tickets to every round of the tournament. The thought was that they could afford one big trip.
Both won tickets to tournament games in Lexington.
"Now we've got to decide," Fisher said. "Should we give up these tickets in hopes of getting tickets to the Sweet 16?"
Bencken, the Topeka senior, followed KU to the Sweet 16 in St. Louis and the Final Four in New Orleans last season. She'd like a repeat in '94.
"You save money up all season," she said. "This is what you do. This is the culmination of camping out for tickets and cheering on the 'Hawks."