Archive for Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Ticket plan may reward more KU donors

Donations to academic fund would count toward Allen Fieldhouse seat assignments

January 27, 2004


Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins on Monday said he was looking for ways to accommodate men's basketball season-ticket holders who would rather give money to the university at large than to the athletic department.

Perkins said he was all for adjusting the proposed "priority point system" for distributing season tickets in ways that would reward both groups of donors.

"Absolutely," he said. "I think it's a great idea."

Perkins is overseeing plans to use a point system for tickets.

As proposed, the formula includes 10 points for being a KU graduate; 10 points for being a member of the KU Alumni Association; and one point for every $100 donated to the department's KU Athletic Corp. since 1978.

Perkins said he also supported awarding points for being in the KU Endowment Association's Chancellors Club, a designation tied to contributing at least $1,000 to the association annually.

With few exceptions, contributions to the Chancellors Club are "unrestricted," meaning they can be spent as needed rather than assigned to a specific department.

Perkins said he didn't know how many points would be assigned to Chancellors Club membership.

"That's all up in the air," he said. "This is one of the things I want the advisory committee's input on.

The draft of the point system that will determine who receives Kansas University men's basketball season tickets dictates the account with the highest number of points will receive the top seats. Each account earns:¢ 1 point for every $100 donated to KU Athletic Corp. since July 1, 1978.¢ 2 points per sport, per year of purchasing season tickets since fall 1984.¢ 2 points per year of donating to the Williams Educational Fund since July 1, 1978 (minimum of $25 per year).¢ 10 points if a KU graduate (one time only, regardless of number of degrees earned).¢ 10 points if a member of KU Alumni Association (one time only).¢ 10 points if a member of K-Club (one time only).¢ 1 bonus point per $100 gift to KUAC in the current fiscal year.

"This was their idea. I think it's great."

Plan skipped board review

Earlier, Perkins appointed a 44-member advisory committee to review the department's proposed point system. The group first met Jan. 16. It meets again tonight.

Perkins said he hoped to forward a formal proposal to KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway after tonight's meeting.

Perkins said Hemenway would have the option of approving, rejecting or modifying the plan -- or seeking more input from other groups.

Last week, Perkins told members of the KU Athletic Corporation board that he had decided against seeking the full board's input before presenting the plan to Hemenway.

Part of the decision to bypass the 19-member board, Perkins said, was based on four KUAC members -- banker and former KU basketball player Mike Maddox, faculty members Tom Mulinazzi and Don Steeples, and student body president Andy Knopp -- serving on the advisory committee.

Also, he said, if the full KUAC board had input, he would have been obligated to collect similar input from the KU Endowment Association, KU Alumni Association and other groups affected by the plan.


Bill Tuttle, a KU professor who's served on the KUAC board the past six years, objected to his and other KUAC members being left out of the process.

Tuttle on Monday welcomed the prospects for awarding points for being in the Chancellors Club.

"Anything the athletic department can do to encourage giving to the university is to be applauded, and I applaud it," Tuttle said. "I think it's a very good idea."

Tuttle said he hoped both Perkins and the advisory committee will see fit to "grandfather in (seat locations) for those who've had tickets for 25 or 30 years," and to assign points for "service to the university" that may not involve money.

"I'm not against the point system. I think it's inevitable," Tuttle said. "But the way it's constructed is, or will be, destructive to community morale."

Perkins objected to both of Tuttle's proposals.

"We're not going to grandfather anybody in," he said, citing the inequity of letting longtime ticket holders keep prime seats while expecting others to contribute more for lesser seats.

"The issue is fairness," Perkins said, noting that he expects few longtime ticket holders to end up with lesser seats.

"The way the system works, if you've been contributing to the Williams Fund all along, you should have plenty of points," he said.

Perkins stressed that while everyone will be assigned different seats next season, no one will be forced to give up their tickets.

"No one is being kicked out of Allen Fieldhouse," he said. "This is about choice."

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