Letters are going out, and the realities of a new ticket plan being instituted by the Kansas University athletic department soon will be hitting home with fans who currently hold season tickets to Jayhawk basketball games.
In an agreement announced last week, KU student leaders approved a swap of 1,200 general admission student seats in the upper reaches of Allen Fieldhouse for 226 seats closer to the court. Too few students, they say, are satisfied to sit in the seats located behind the south goal.
However, those seats apparently are acceptable to other Jayhawk fans, and the athletic department plans to sell them as season tickets, presumably to people who haven't earned enough "points" in the new ticket allocation system to allow them to buy a better seat.
The students will benefit from this plan because money from the sale of those seats will help finance a $6 million expansion of the Student Recreation Fitness Center. Although the center just opened last fall, it apparently is in need of additional facilities. According to Student Body President Andy Knopp, the deal with the athletic department is a "win-win situation for everybody."
Maybe not everybody. Athletic department officials will be happy to sell additional season tickets, but they also said they aren't sure whether any individual general admission tickets will be made available to the public next season. If no general admission tickets are sold, the possibility of many ardent Jayhawk fans ever being able to see a game in Allen Fieldhouse again will be almost nil.
Traditionally, general admission tickets are made available for a few of the Jayhawks' less critical games. Often those game are played during winter break when many student tickets go unused. These games are the only opportunity for many fans to see the Jayhawks and they are more than willing to pay the price of admission to sit in what the students consider substandard seating just for a chance to watch the Jayhawks in the charged atmosphere of Allen Fieldhouse.
These fans may be of little interest to athletic department administrators because they are unable to amass enough donor points to earn consideration for season ticket purchases. But turning their backs on enthusiastic Jayhawk fans who can't be big donors may eventually come back to haunt the KU athletic program.
Apparently, the decision whether to sell any single-game general admission tickets still is being discussed. Making at least a few of these tickets available seems the least the athletic department can do for some of the Jayhawks' most loyal fans.