Two major monetary gifts are apparently headed for Kansas University's athletic department coffers.
"We have two verbal commitments," athletic director Lew Perkins told the KU Athletic Corp. board Friday at its regular January meeting.
Perkins said one gift was for $4.5 million and the other for $2.5 million. The Kansas AD added it was premature to name the donors, and he didn't say if the money had been earmarked for specific purposes.
John Hadl, associate AD for development, played a large role in securing the two gifts, Perkins said.
"People are beginning to understand the importance of giving," Perkins said. "They want KU to be a bigger player in the academic and athletic world."
Even without those two gifts, contributions are up dramatically from last year, according to Jay Hinrichs, director of the Williams Fund.
"We had a great December," Hinrichs told the board, noting the fund-raising arm of the athletic department has raised $3.16 million. "That's a 50 percent increase over last year at the same time."
Also Friday, complying to a request from the board's Reid Holbrook, an alumni member from Kansas City, Kan., the athletic department released an accounting of expenses for the Tangerine Bowl.
According to the figures, KU was allotted $832,112 from the Big 12 Conference for bowl-related expenses and spent all but nearly $3,000 of that total.
"We don't think there are any more bills," Perkins said. "We're excited we're in the black. What I've been told is most people are in the red at bowl games."
Included in the expenses was more than $141,000 in football staff bonuses, including a contractual $20,000 to head coach Mark Mangino.
The largest single expense was $165,750 for the team charter flight to Orlando, Fla. Two other charter flights that ferried the spirit squad, the band, KU, KUAC officials and other guests to the bowl site each cost $79,000.
Board member Bill Tuttle, a history professor, wondered if it was customary to take KU faculty members along for the ride. Perkins answered that it was a way to bring academics and athletics closer together.
"We felt it was a time for rejoicing," Perkins said. "I know a lot of other universities do that. It was one of those things where you're damned if you do and damned if you don't."
Board chair Tom Mulinazzi noted KU had to pay $1,350 to stencil "KANSAS" on the Florida Citrus Stadium field.
"If we hadn't done that," Perkins replied, "it would have just said 'North Carolina State'."
In other business:
- Paul Buskirk, who runs the department's academic support services, reported KU's nearly 500 student-athletes compiled a grade-point average of 2.8 during the fall semester. Men's basketball was close to the norm at 2.7. Football came in at 2.26.
- Buskirk reported he had hired two more academic advisors for football. One is Dino Bell, a former KU football player who is now at Arizona University.
- Perkins said he had taken steps to hire an architectural firm to develop a master plan for facilities.