Archive for Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Five-person board proposed to replace KU Athletic Corp.

February 25, 2004


Kansas University is changing the way it governs its athletic department.

Friday, the university's 24-member athletic corporation will consider replacing itself with a five-member board of directors.

Led by the athletic director, the new board would set department policy and answer to the chancellor.

The current board would become the Chancellor's Advisory Committee for Intercollegiate Athletics.

"I don't have a problem with what's been proposed," said Reid Holbrook, chairman of an athletic corporation task force charged with overhauling the group's charter and bylaws. "I suspect it will pass -- if not on Friday, then some time after that."

The changes are needed, he said, to clear up long-standing uncertainties over whether the corporation's role is to advise or make policy. Under the current bylaws, it's both.

"The way it is now, I can make a motion Friday to get rid of the athletic director and hire somebody else. And if I can come with enough votes, we could do it," Holbrook said. "But I don't think there's anybody on the board who wants to do that or who thinks that's our role."

Also, Holbrook said, the changes are designed to protect board members from being sued.

New plan

Kansas University Athletic Director Lew Perkins on Friday will seek the KU Athletic Corp.'s endorsement of plans to use a "priority point system" for allocating next season's supply of men's basketball season tickets.Perkins' presentation will not include a mockup showing the number of points needed for prime seats in Allen Fieldhouse."We're not going to do a mock draft until the final plan is approved," said Jim Marchiony, an associate athletic director. "We're not there yet."The point system would not apply to tickets set aside for faculty, staff, retirees and students.Marchiony confirmed that plans call for applying the point system to football season tickets, beginning with the 2005 season."That is correct," he said. "But we want to do basketball first, see how it goes and then move on to football. So it won't be the 2004 (football) season, it'll be in 2005."

As proposed, the athletic director would serve as the new board's chairman. Other members:

  • Vice provost for student success
  • The university's chief business and financial planning officer
  • A senior university administrator appointed by the provost
  • The faculty representative to the Big XII Conference.

The new board would not include alumni or student representatives; though the student body president would have an ex officio, nonvoting position on the board.

The new board's members also would serve on the chancellor's advisory committee, appointing chairmen for subcommittees on academics, planning, and finance and audit within the athletic department.

The new board's structure was proposed Friday by university general counsel James Pottorff during a meeting with Holbrook's task force.

Originally, Holbrook, a lawyer from Kansas City, Kan., had proposed creating a three-member committee consisting of the chancellor, athletic director and faculty representative to the Big XII Conference.

Pottorff's proposal dropped the chancellor from the board and added two seats.

Attempts to reach Pottorff for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful. But university spokesman Todd Cohen said the chancellor was dropped from the proposed new board because "having the chancellor on a board that answers to the chancellor would defeat the purpose of the board."

Chancellor Robert Hemenway will address the KU Athletic Corp. during the group's regular meeting Friday. The board meets every other month.

Weighing the proposal

Don Green, KU's faculty representative to the Big XII and a KUAC board member, said he doubted the proposal would be adopted Friday.

"I'll be surprised if it does," he said. "I'm expecting a lot of discussion. This is something people will want some time to think about."

Board member Bill Tuttle said he planned to ask a few questions.

"I don't know that I'm opposed to this, but I'd like to know whether the current arrangement is truly unsalvageable," Tuttle said. "If it is, then what happens to all the policy decisions we've made in the past? Do they remain in place? Are they thrown out? How much change are we looking at here?"

Tuttle said he also was wary of the lesser roles to be played by alumni, faculty and students.

"The students will have a representative, but they won't have a vote. The faculty rep is Don Green, who's a great guy -- but he's appointed by the chancellor," Tuttle said. "And the alumni are pretty much left out."

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