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Archive for Friday, March 29, 2002

KU preparing for campus hoopla

March 29, 2002

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As thousands of people tip off a game-watching party Saturday at Memorial Stadium, much of the rest of campus will take a time-out.

Kansas University officials said Thursday they will take the unprecedented move of closing many campus roads and buildings during the Jayhawks' Final Four game, which is scheduled for approximately 7:47 p.m. Saturday.

Tim Grouse, with Allen Foods Inc. of St. Louis, delivers
concessions to Kansas University's Memorial Stadium. Grouse
delivered the shipment Thursday for use in Saturday's outdoor
stadium event for KU basketball fans.

Tim Grouse, with Allen Foods Inc. of St. Louis, delivers concessions to Kansas University's Memorial Stadium. Grouse delivered the shipment Thursday for use in Saturday's outdoor stadium event for KU basketball fans.

"We learned the hard way we should have locked the buildings down," said KU spokesman Todd Cohen.

In 1991, when KU lost the national championship game to Duke, between 10,000 and 15,000 people came to campus, causing injuries and damaging campus buildings.

This time around, KU officials are hoping to divert fans away from the main campus and toward Memorial Stadium. The game will be broadcast on Megavision, the stadium's large video screen. Post-game interviews also will be broadcast live.

Baby Jay, the Crimson Girls and a pep band will be at the stadium, where gates open at 6:30 p.m.

"This is as close as you can get to the Allen Fieldhouse experience," Cohen said. "For those of us who can't go to Atlanta, it's the next best thing."

Asked of Monte Johnson, a Lawrence resident who was KU athletics director from 1982 to 1987: Q: What was it like to witness KU's 1986 Final Four run that ended with a loss to Duke in the semifinal game? A" "I can remember sitting in that arena in Dallas hoping that everything would come together. When watching those games, it was almost a way to relax after all the work that went into getting to that point. There was great satisfaction. You felt like the fans were going to be rewarded."

Concession stands will be open. No alcohol will be allowed.

If KU wins Saturday, a similar event will be scheduled for Monday night's championship game, which begins at 8:17 p.m. Cohen said there were no plans to cancel classes Monday night.

If they play Monday, win or lose, the Jayhawks will return to a welcome-home party at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Stadium.

Campus closings

Jayhawk Boulevard the main road through campus will close at the beginning of the game and will remain closed until fans disperse after the game. Buildings along the boulevard also will be closed.

KU Public Safety officials also will close several other campus roads.

Parking garages will be open and offer free parking. Access to the Kansas Union garage will be from Oread Avenue. Vehicles can exit but not enter from Mississippi Street.

Anschutz Library, the only KU library with Saturday evening hours, will close at 7:30 p.m. All libraries will close at 7:30 p.m. Monday if KU is in the finals.

Changing schedules

The NCAA Tournament even has altered schedules in KU's School of Fine Arts.

Two one-act operas "Telephone" by Gian-Carlo Menotti and "Impressario" by Mozart scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday have been switched to 4:30 p.m. in Swarthout Recital Hall.

A Monday faculty recital by tenor Genaro Mendez has been changed from 7:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., also in Swarthout Recital Hall.

But basketball still may take precedence over the events.

"I'm worried attendance might be slim anyway," said Vickie Hamilton-Smith, spokeswoman for the School of Fine Arts.

Monday's game also has changed the schedule for the Lawrence school board. The board's meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. Monday, rather than 7 p.m., at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.

"I anticipate a short board meeting," said Supt. Randy Weseman. "Then we'll go home and, hopefully, watch the 'Hawks pound whomever."

The time change stands regardless of the outcome of Saturday's game between KU and Maryland.

Board member Scott Morgan vowed to keep an eye on the clock during the meeting.

"If anybody thinks I'm staying past 7:30, they're nuts," he said.

Safe celebrating

Mayor Sue Hack joined KU officials this week in urging fans to be responsible during and after the games.

"While you are showing your support for an outstanding basketball season, remember to be safe and continue to respect the people and property in our community," she said. "I am just as excited as anyone about the chance for our team to win the tournament title, and I invite you to join me in celebrating responsibly and safely. Let's show our support by being excellent fans."

TV and radio spots with KU coach Roy Williams have been airing for about a week, urging fans to celebrate safely and not bring alcohol to campus.

Williams and KU guard Jeff Boschee also sent e-mails to all KU students last weekend urging a safe celebration.

KU officials have contacted liquor stores this week, asking them to sell plastic and canned products before products in glass bottles. People have been injured by flying glass bottles in past celebrations and have cut themselves on broken glass, Cohen said.

"We're asking them to push the cans first and the glass last," he said. "That would be helpful."

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