Archive for Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Short but sweet

Lawrence’s support for the Kansas University football and basketball teams is strong, but university officials shouldn’t take it for granted.

April 16, 2008


There should be no question in the minds of Kansas University athletics department officials or administrators in Strong Hall about the interest, enthusiasm and loyalty of KU basketball fans.

The turnout Sunday afternoon of 80,000 to 100,000 people to see and cheer the 2008 KU basketball team should have sent a loud message to university officials. There is, indeed, an extremely strong, positive relationship between a wide cross-section of Lawrence and Kansas residents and the university, particularly its football and basketball players.

This is a historic relationship, not something that just developed in the past five, 10 or 20 years. This has been built and nurtured over many years but it should not be taken for granted.

The parade was fine, but it left a large majority of those who lined Massachusetts and 19th streets and Naismith Drive wanting more. Many had camped out from early Sunday morning to make sure they had a good place to watch and cheer the players.

The parade lasted 10 minutes from the time the color guard passed until a Lawrence police car brought up the rear of the parade.

It is difficult to figure out why it took so much prompting by Lawrence Chamber of Commerce officials, as well as strong public sentiment, asking for a parade before KU officials, whether they were in the Allen Fieldhouse complex or Strong Hall, agreed to a parade.

The rather arrogant first announcement that there were no plans for a parade and then the eventual curt statement that KU would agree to a short parade continues to puzzle many. Why wouldn't these officials be thrilled and appreciative that Lawrence residents wanted to put on a parade to show their appreciation and enthusiastic support of the players and coaches?

The pre-parade excitement, happiness and anticipation of those who lined the parade was sky high. It turned out to, indeed, be a "short" parade, leaving many to ask, "Is that it?" after the police car signaled it was over. However, fan appreciation was so great that most of those along Massachusetts Street left with smiles on their faces even though they were puzzled and disappointed that it wasn't longer.

Many also wondered why the university or athletic department did not want to have a parade for the KU football team to recognize its Big 12 Conference record and victory in the Orange Bowl. There are many who continue to be unhappy with KU's decision to take the KU-Missouri football game out of Lawrence and move it to Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium.

Lawrence area fan support for KU athletics is strong, but it should not be taken for granted or abused by an attitude among some university officials that it is a one-way street and that these fans always will remain loyal no matter how they are treated.

Regardless, the parade was great, even though it left the 80,000 to 100,000 fans wanting more.


Phillbert 10 years, 1 month ago

Some people are never satisfied. KU could arrange for the team to come to Dolph's house to play an exhibition game just for him, and he'd complain that they didn't dunk enough or that they didn't make enough 3s.

David Klamet 10 years, 1 month ago

Another good editorial. It expresses the view of a majority of Lawrence residents, 80,000 people are talking, Lew and Jim, are you listening?

TheOriginalCA 10 years, 1 month ago

This is all about Downtown Lawrence and nothing else.

LJD230 10 years, 1 month ago

KU should have held fast to it's original position and not agreed to a parade. A joyful celebratory event in Allen Fieldhouse would have been sufficient to honor the Kansas, not Lawrence, Jayhawks. Would any other of the Final Four teams, with the possible exception of Memphis, held parades in their downtowns to celebrate the big win? It was an unecessary event for an institution of higher learning that seeks to vault itself into the first rank of national universities. That would be an achievement well worth a parade but such a victory would probably hold little or no interest for downtown Lawrence.And isn't it ironic the two teams in the first rank of national universities did not get to play in the championship game? Would they have cancelled classes in the event of a win?

S0uPnAzi 10 years, 1 month ago

I, for one, am greatful that a parade was held. I don't mind it being short, put yourself in the player's and coach's position, you just worked your tail off for an entire season, and had cameras stuffed in your face for weeks on end. I don't imagine they felt like doing a parade at all, but University officials agreed, and a parade was held. I left Mass. street around 3:30 p.m. with a smile on my face, and NOT wondering why the parade wasn't longer. I also went to Allen, and was very surprised to see it not packed to the rafters. Bottom line is this: I appreciate that they had a parade, they surely did not have to, but it was for the residents of Lawrence that they did. Instead of grousing about it, consider yourself fortunate to live in a city that can host an NCAA Championship winner!

cowboy 10 years, 1 month ago

The Perkins admin has irritated a large group of people and taken relatively easy to solve issues and made them PR issues. Obviously they have an eastern slant to everything and have failed to realize the kansas people , not just the monied ones , have a great love for these teams but can't afford to make it to Allen. I was struck by the fact that the team IS the heart of Lawrence for kids from 3 years old up to the grannies who sing the songs and decorate their homes in crocheted KU stuff. They need to realize they are not in Conneticut anymore and take into account the adoring public. It's the right thing to do ! By the way , how hard would it have been to get the band on a trailer , small minds have small parades! Great year Hawks

imagold 10 years, 1 month ago

I for one, am grateful we had any sort of parade, no matter how short. The alternative, which was staring us in the face until someone hit Marchiony (blaming him since he was the one with the negative parade quotes) in the head with a skillet, was sobering. Short of marching all of the fans down the street, what else could have been included in the parade? (Other than the football team.) Bob Davis and Bob Newton? Jim Nantz and Billy Packer? Maybe Roy? (Nah, forget I said that.) We had it all: band, cheerleaders, administrative staff, and the wonderful coaches and extraordinary Jayhawk basketball team. I love a parade!

lily 10 years, 1 month ago

Not everyone had the band and cheerleaders. I was with someone who wanted to see the band just as much but by the time the group got down Mass to 19th the band and cheerleaders were nowhere to be found. It was great to see the players and coaches.

WHY 10 years, 1 month ago

KU sports is about making money. If the fans paid $10 to see a parade there would have been no hesitation by Lew. You may love KU but KU loves your wallet.

yeah_right 10 years, 1 month ago

The fans went downtown to see the KU basketball team. How much longer could the parade have been? Should there have been more unrecognizable people in cool convertables? I was satisfied, but I am a "glass half full" kind of person.

Aileen Dingus 10 years, 1 month ago

To quote an article I read recently:"The parade will feature about 50 units, including the Penn State Blue Band and five other marching bands. Several floats also will be put together by local store owners. The highlight of the parade, however, will be the players." State's National Championship parade in 1986? Nope. The parade after PSU won the 1995 Rose Bowl.Granted- a week's notice may not have been enough to gather floats from local store owners. But we have two high schools here in town, and tons nearby. I'm glad to have seen the players. My daughter was speechless at seeing Sasha Kaun. It was a nice day out.But we were thrown a pretty measly bone, and both the team and the fans deserved better.

gogoplata 10 years, 1 month ago

I enjoyed the parade. It was a good day and I am glad my family was there to share it. Props to KU for coming through on this. And I could care less what other universities would have done. It was a fun time spent with 100,000 fellow Jayhawks. Did anyone else notice how polite the traffic was leaving? I have to admit that I wasn't expecting that.

schs 10 years, 1 month ago

My family and I attended the parade, and we were pleased with the huge turnout...I'm not sure why the university questioned having a wasn't just Lawrence residents who were attending the parade....there was a line of cars at least a mile long coming from kc 2-3 hours before the parade started.....Lawrence loves the Jayhawks......for those complaining...get over it....they had a parade and we got a chance to tell the players thanks for an amazing happy with what we got

ToriFreak13 10 years, 1 month ago

the problem is...there shouldnt be an argument at all about money....its a sport....the athletes are not getting a share of any of that let them decide where the games are....the point missed is that had that game been played at home....we win..we get one more game<<more money for the AD....potentially get a #1 ranking....beat Oklahoma and play for a national title...which would have gotten the ever so greedy AD how much more money out of that scenario????and ho chi minh.....the AD doesnt win those games....their money didnt win those games either...adidas did not win those games.....coca cola did not win those games....doubling the price of everything on campus did not win those games......last i checked allen fieldhouse has been selling out tickets for how many years??? pre Lou & Co....they have taken advantage of the most loyal fan base in college basketball...they couldnt have had it this easy anywhere else....but then again based on your theory....they should be able to raise the prices of everything and we will win another championship next year.

ToriFreak13 10 years, 1 month ago

"Hey LJD -NERD!"For sure....k-state backer maybe??? Of course the other teams in the final four would have thrown a parade.....there are many a reason to do so....hell Missouri cancelled classes and had a parade when they beat us (KU) in Allen for the first time...Parades build heart and pride for the players and coaches just as much as it rewards the fans.....not too many times do the players and coaches get to look that many fans in the eyes and be appreciated.Has nothing to do with DOWNTOWN LAWRENCE being is everything to do with the AD slapping the fans and residents of this town in the face over and over again....guess where the most expensive Coca Cola in town is now?? $3.75 for a 12oz more souvenir cups at the basketball games??? The cheapest momento is a $15 t shirt? that you can get from any of the local stores on any given's a business....not a sport anymore...p.s. I don't blame them for not offering a parade to the football was another business decision of theirs to move the KU MU game out of town that if played where it should have been....could have possibly put KU in the BCS Championship game and REALLY gave us something to celebrate.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 1 month ago

guess where the most expensive Coca Cola in town is now?? $3.75 for a 12oz more souvenir cups at the basketball games??? The cheapest momento is a $15 t shirt?===========Big deal. If our well-paid coaches can bring us national victories, then their salary is money well-spent. If you want cheap Coke and KU trinkets, go to Dillon's and buy it there. It absolutely amazes me that, although the KU Athletic Department has delivered two outstanding teams this year, people still whine and complain! (sniffle,sniffle "There were no floats in the parade." boo-hoo "The Allen Fieldhouse celebration for the football team wasn't good enough." "It took the AD a whopping day-and-a-half to announce the parade.") Regarding the football move, I'm glad that the KU/Mizzou game won't be held in Columbia this year. It brings in money and makes our Athletic Department stronger. If you want to make budget cuts to the sports teams, let's see what happens.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 1 month ago

There are more home games scheduled away from campus next season. KU athletic department is bad for local business. I am assuming the chancellor is in on these wrong decisions.Lots of sales taxes accompany home games so remember this the next time commissioners start talking sales taxes. And we know this group of commissioners has sales taxes on their minds. The KU athletic department has not been hurting for money so far as I know. Lew is not a home town kind of guy.

jonny_quest 10 years, 1 month ago

Many Lawrence businesses owners, especially those down town, have an entitlement expectation that they should receive subsidies not only from the city, but from KU as well. The university provides tens of thousands of extra customers to Lawrence and to the down town area throughout the year. In the case of the World Company, the university provides tens of thousands of extra captive customers with little or no options for competitive shopping...very easy to succeed from that business model. Yet, many Lawrence business owners whine when one football game is played out of town. They complain that the univerisity did not respond fast enough to participate in a down town parade. Their real concern is not about celebrating the sports success of their "beloved" local university. Lawrence businesses, especially those down town expect more subsidies from KU in the form of more customers.

BigPrune 10 years, 1 month ago

The KU administration takes Lawrence for granted. There is no way that KU will be great every year, yet the folks that decided tickets sales go to the highest donor are looking at everything on the short. Just wait for when KU football or basketball is in the cellar and KU is begging people to buy tickets. The people who set the policy will no longer have a job at KU, will move on or retire to get away from their short sighted decisions. I read a suggestion that Lawrence should charge an impact fee for every student that attends KU to help pay for the upkeep of our roads. It's time the City put the hammer down and started collecting, to show our appreciation for KU.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.