Archive for Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Panel tweaks ticket plan

Money to drive final decision, AD tells KU committee

January 28, 2004


A point system to allocating Kansas University men's basketball season tickets continues to be fine-tuned, but athletic director Lew Perkins concedes that at some point money will displace loyalty.

"If anybody in this room can come up with a better idea than what we have here, I'm all for it," Perkins told an athletic department advisory committee Tuesday. "I'll throw this one out the window tomorrow morning. But I haven't heard anything that's better -- I'm sorry, but I haven't."

Perkins' comments came near the conclusion of a three-hour meeting in which the committee approved adding points to the formula for longtime service to the university by faculty and staff, employer-matched donations and membership in the KU Endowment Association's Chancellors Club, a designation tied to contributing at least $1,000 to the association annually.

But despite those adjustments, committee member Jay Howard told the group his calculations showed that a first-time donor putting up $13,000 would "trump" a 20-year ticket holder who had donated $500 each year to the athletic department's Williams Fund.

"I'm having second thoughts about this (point system)," said Jeff Kennedy, a committee member from Wichita.

So, too, did Tom Kelly, a committee member from Oak Park, Ill.

"I sit on the boards of a lot of companies and I own a few companies," Kelly said. "And it's my opinion that we're being asked to makes decisions we don't have enough information to make."

Kelly, Kennedy and Howard's reluctance stemmed from no one , including Perkins, knowing how the formula would affect longtime season ticket holders.

Perkins promised to conduct a "mock draft" that would give all season ticket holders a clear reading on how many points they would have and how many points they would need for prime seats.

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. Tuesday's meeting of the Season Ticket Advisory Committee added points for Chancellor's Club membership and faculty and staff. 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.¢ 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 employers' match.

Kelly said he wished Perkins had run some preliminary numbers before the meetings. But Perkins said he couldn't because he had no way to know which components to include and which to leave out.

"You know, people think I'm a big, tough guy. I'm not; I'm a teddy bear. I lose a lot of sleep at night worrying about people who are going to be affected by this. I really do," Perkins said.

Adjustments to the proposed formula included:

  • Ten points, one time only, for Chancellors Club membership, a designation tied to $1,000 annual donation to the KU Endowment Assn.
  • Ten points if faculty or staff with five or more years of service.
  • Donors whose employers match their contributions will be awarded points for their employers' match.

Despite the concerns raised by Howard, Kennedy and Kelly, the plan passed by a considerable majority.

Perkins said he hoped to present a final draft to KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway no later than the end of February.

Once Hemenway approves the plan, Perkins said, "We're going to take it over the state" to make sure it's understood by alumni.

Earlier in the day, KU's Senate Executive Committee agreed to continue discussion on how to distribute the 1,822 season tickets set aside for faculty, staff and retirees. The group's next meeting is set for 3 p.m. Tuesday in Strong Hall.

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