Archive for Saturday, February 7, 2004

Ticket plan to face athletic board review

February 7, 2004


The board that represents staff, alumni and students in overseeing Kansas University athletics will have a voice in how men's basketball season tickets are allocated next year -- reversing the stance taken last month by KU's athletic director.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said Friday he had asked athletic director Lew Perkins to seek the input of the Kansas University Athletic Corp. board before bringing the plan to his office for approval.

"Lew and I have talked about this and we both agreed that it should go before the KUAC board," Hemenway said. "Lew, in fact, said he was getting ready to do it anyway. He doesn't have a problem with it, and neither do I."

But questions about the board's authority persist, and changes could be on the way.

On Friday, the chairman of a task force reviewing KUAC's bylaws said he would soon propose putting the athletic department under the oversight of a one-person corporation.

"This one-person board would consist of the chancellor," said Reid Holbrook, a Kansas City, Kan., lawyer.

KUAC's role, he said, would be strictly advisory and nonfiduciary.

Hemenway doesn't like the idea. "I don't think it's appropriate," he said, noting the current bylaws have twice passed NCAA scrutiny.

'Chain of command'

Last month, Perkins told the KUAC board he planned on eventually forwarding the proposed "priority point system" for men's basketball tickets directly to Hemenway.

"I don't report to the (KUAC) board; I report to the chancellor," Perkins said during the board's Jan. 23 meeting.

If Hemenway wanted the 19-member board's input, he would ask for it, Perkins said, adding: "That's not my decision to make."

KU professor and KUAC member Bill Tuttle objected to Perkins bypassing the board, arguing that his constituents were being denied due representation.

Tuttle sent an e-mail to members of the university's faculty executive committee Wednesday, asking them to lobby Hemenway in support of giving KUAC a say on the ticket policy.

On Friday, Perkins said he was misunderstood.

"It's true, I said 'I answer to the chancellor' -- that's the chain of command," Perkins said. "But that doesn't mean I don't want KUAC's input. I do. I had no intention of bypassing them."

Perkins and Hemenway blamed the confusion on KUAC's bylaws.

On page one, the bylaws say the chancellor is in charge of what goes on at the athletic department; on page two, they say the board "shall act a policy making body."

"That's the problem: Is KUAC policy-making or is it advisory?" Perkins said. "I don't know."

Holbrook's proposal would clear up that confusion, but Hemenway was skeptical Friday.

"I see no reason for KUAC not to take a look at its bylaws and make whatever changes may be needed; that's something every board should do from time to time," Hemenway said. "But as they are now, the bylaws are governed by the principle of the university being in control of the athletic department. That is essential; it cannot be changed."

Holbrook said he would defend the proposal during his task force's Feb. 20 meeting.

Grandfather clause?

In the meantime, there are still basketball tickets to divvy up.

Last month, Perkins twice presented the point system to a 44-member advisory committee that included several professors and KUAC board members.

As proposed, would-be ticket buyers would be assigned preference points based on several factors, including past donations to the athletic department, past basketball and football season ticket purchases, and membership in the KU Endowment Association's Chancellors Club, KU Alumni Association and K-Club, a group open to alumni who lettered in a varsity sport.

Shifting to a point-based system is expected to significantly increase athletic department revenues, officials said.

Perkins said he had offered to present the plan to the governing boards of the KU Endowment Association and KU Alumni Association. Both considered the review unnecessary, Perkins said.

When the plan reaches KUAC, Tuttle said he would propose "grandfathering in" longtime season ticket holders and awarding points for "service contributions" to the university.

"The way it is now, you get 10 points if you've been faculty or staff for five or more years," Tuttle said. "That 10 points equates to $1,000 to the athletic department. So we're saying that if you dedicated 30 or 40 years of your life to the university and you made all kinds of sacrifices, that's worth $1,000?

"I don't think that's fair," Tuttle said. "They should be getting hundreds of points."

Perkins said he would present the proposed point system to the KUAC during its Feb. 27 meeting.

A draft of the system to determine who receives Kansas University men's basketball season tickets dictates the account with the highest number of points receives the top seats. According to the draft, each account would earn:¢ 1 point for every $100 donated to KU Athletic Corp. since July 1, 1978.¢ 2 points per sport, per year of purchasing nonfootball season tickets since fall 1984.¢ 1 point per football season ticket purchased per year since fall 1984.¢ 2 points per year of donating to KUAC or the Williams Educational Fund since July 1, 1978 (minimum of $25 per year).¢ 10 points if attended KU (one time only, regardless of number of degrees earned).¢ 10 points if a member of KU Alumni Association (one time only). An additional point per year of continued membership beginning in 2004-2005.¢ 10 points if a member of K-Club (one time only). An additional point per year of continued membership beginning in 2004-2005.¢ 1 bonus point per $100 gift to KUAC or Williams Educational Fund in the current fiscal year.¢ 10 points if a member of Chancellor's Club (one time only). An additional point per year of continued membership beginning in 2004-05.¢ 10 points if faculty or staff with five or more years of service (one time only).¢ Donors whose employers match their contributions will be awarded points for their employer match.

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