2008 National Championship Parade
The weeklong celebration that engulfed Lawrence after the Kansas University Jayhawks won the national basketball championship didn't come without a price.
The final tally: more than $130,000 for the city and KU, most of it spent on police.
And now, the athletics department is asking two economic development groups to pick up a $6,400 bill. That's the athletics department's cost for canceling a planned intimate banquet for players and select donors at the Holiday Inn Holidome. Instead, the department had a parade and public celebration at Allen Fieldhouse.
In an e-mail sent to two leaders of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Lawrence Inc., associate athletic director Jim Marchiony asked "if the Chamber and Downtown Lawrence would team up to pay this invoice."
Attached was the athletics department's $6,400 cancellation bill from the Holidome.
The chamber and Downtown Lawrence encouraged the athletics department to have a parade to celebrate KU's National Championship victory.
Jane Pennington, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc., said the issue would be taken up by its board this morning, at a previously scheduled meeting.
"We'll see what the board thinks then," Pennington said. "We were surprised. It's the first time we've ever had a request like this, that I know of."
Chuck Warner, CEO of the chamber of commerce, didn't return messages seeking comment.
Marchiony said the banquet at the Holidome, first tried last year, was to be an opportunity for the team and select donors to celebrate the season. In the end, it was determined a much larger celebration was appropriate.
Because of the positive exposure generated for Lawrence, Marchiony said Tuesday the department felt it was reasonable to ask the chamber and DLI to share the costs of changing plans.
"We thought it was a small investment the city and downtown Lawrence could make for bringing 100,000 people downtown," Marchiony said.
The $6,400 was a prorated portion of the original bill Kansas Athletics expected to pay to have the dinner at the Holidome. In previous years, the end-of-season banquets also have been set at the Kansas Union ballroom and the Lied Center.
A Journal-World/6News Open Records request showed in the run-up to the championship and the week after:
¢ About $77,000 was spent by KU on public safety, transportation, facilities and advertising. Among the largest expenditures were $36,531 by the Public Safety Office for games four, five and six, as well as the April 8 homecoming celebration at Memorial Stadium and the April 13 parade. The athletics department paid $32,000 for events at Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium.
¢ The city spent $29,052 for the police department and $14,281 for fire and medical services. Of the police department's total, more than $7,000 was for food and lodging for police officers from other jurisdictions who helped with crowd control. About $10,000 more was spent by the Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments.