Archive for Saturday, September 1, 2001

KU athletics doubles fund-raising staff

KUAC board members bemoan being left out of the loop on recent issues

September 1, 2001

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Kansas University's athletics department fund-raising staff will double from two to four.

Al Bohl, the Jayhawks' new athletics director, revealed the fund-raising adjustment Friday afternoon during his first official meeting with the Kansas University Athletics Corp. board.

"We need to fund-raise, and I've met with the Endowment Association to formalize adding a couple of positions that will be paid for by Endowment," Bohl said.

One will be a senior development officer a position that will be filled by Lorie Walker, currently development director for the KU School of Engineering. The other new position, as yet unfilled, will target the non-revenue sports.

The two new hirees will work in conjunction with the athletics department's Williams Educational Fund.

John Hadl is executive director of the Williams Fund, but a vacancy has existed since Scott McMichael resigned as director about a month ago.

McMichael's resignation occurred the same day the business office reported an undetermined amount of money had been embezzled from the department.

Apparently, the board members were informed about the embezzlement during a 30-minute executive session because the only non-board member allowed in the room was Susan Wachter, the department's chief financial officer.

Earlier, a couple of board members had voiced dismay the board hadn't been consulted about such recent decisions as the cancellation of the Band Day parade and the liberalization of the tailgating policy in parking lots around Memorial Stadium.

"I would hope the board would be consulted about changes," said faculty member Ted Wilson, a professor of history.

Bill Tuttle, a professor of American Studies, voiced concern the KUAC board had become a "rubber stamp."

Jerry Cohlmia, an alumni member from Wichita, said he was "embarrassed" he didn't know about the embezzlement until a newspaper reporter called and asked him to comment on it.

Board chair John Ferraro, a professor of allied health, echoed that sentiment.

"Generally, I try not to say anything until I'm informed," Ferraro said, "but generally we find out when everybody else does."

On the flip side, Laird Noller, an alumni member from Lawrence, stressed that Bohl should have the right to make quick decisions as needed.

"When you hire a CEO," Noller said, "you hire him to make decisions, and the CEO can't check with the board on everything."

Faculty member Wilson agreed, but added: "He has a responsibility to deal with faculty and students on the board."

In response, Bohl promised to put an emphasis on sharing information with board members.

All in all, Bohl's first session with the Kansas University Athletics Corp. board went smoothly.

Ferraro asked what Bohl expected of the board, saying, "We all have day jobs that keep us very busy, but I would be willing to do more."

Bohl replied that the scheduled five KUAC board meetings a year is a good number, but that "it would be healthy to have the executive committee meet more often."

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