Archive for Saturday, November 29, 2008

Simons: Four-year Arrowhead deal a slap to Lawrence and Kansas

November 29, 2008


Opinions differ on KU-MU Arrowhead deal

Everyone has an opinion about the location of the KU-Missouri football game. Enlarge video

Once again, Kansas University and KU Athletic Department officials have given Lawrence and the state of Kansas the backs of their hands.

KU officials announced earlier this week they have agreed to a four-year extension of the annual Kansas-Missouri football game being played in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the professional Kansas City Chiefs.

Originally, the move to Kansas City was a two-year deal, with school officials saying they didn’t know whether it would be continued. They said they would play the two games, then probably step back for a year or so to decide whether to renew the traditional game in Kansas City.

After the first game, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said he would prefer to keep the games on the two campuses in Columbia and Lawrence. He added, however, that it wasn’t his decision to make. It would be up to Missouri’s athletic director and university president.

On the Kansas side, KU coach Mark Mangino said he would not voice his thoughts on the matter until after the second game. It is believed, however, he has favored the games being played on the university campuses but knows his boss, Athletic Director Lew Perkins, wants the games in Kansas City.

Over the years, Kansas City leaders and Kansas City Chiefs officials have tried to bring the KU-MU game to Arrowhead Stadium. KU officials have been receptive to the invitation, but MU officials said they would agree to it only if the games played in Kansas City were KU “home” games. The Tigers preferred to keep their “home” games in Columbia.

By one means or another, however, the much-hyped 2007 game was played in KC, and, again today, the game will be played in Arrowhead.

Supposedly, the game is played in Kansas City to give more fans the opportunity to see the game, give the student-athletes the opportunity to play in a professional football stadium and to allow the two schools to make more money from the game than if it was played in Columbia or Lawrence.

There’s reason to believe one of the major reasons for KU’s strong support for the game is that KU leaders want to win the support, appreciation and backing of Kansas City leaders. There’s such an intense desire by some on Mount Oread to be liked and admired by a relative handful of Kansas City’s powerful leaders.

Regardless of which team is designated as the “home” team, Kansas City, Mo., and the state of Missouri are the real winners in this arrangement.

Consider the sales tax dollars generated by this game: sales taxes generated by ticket sales and the added retail sales in Kansas City, Mo., the millions of dollars spent by those going to the game on concessions, parking fees, motel and hotel rooms and meals, and the Christmas shopping sales.

Although Lawrence could not accommodate the 80,000 fans expected to attend the game this morning in Kansas City, consider what it would mean to Lawrence to have 50,000 fans in town for the KU-MU game, particularly at this time with current economic conditions.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the Missouri game in Lawrence every two years rather than the powerhouse games KU officials now are scheduling with Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Sam Houston State, Central Michigan, Southeastern Louisiana and Toledo?

The KU basketball team is booked for more games in Kansas City than has been the case in recent years, and it won’t be too surprising if Perkins moves more games out of Allen Fieldhouse to Kansas City’s Sprint Center.

It is interesting to note that earlier this week, Perkins was presented the first “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City Civic Grant Award.” This was given to Perkins, “a leader who has been a good friend to Kansas City and who has made a lasting and healthy difference in our community at large.”

Perhaps this is what can be won by taking the KU home football game away from Lawrence and moving it to Arrowhead Stadium. Who knows what awards and citations can be won by moving more KU basketball games to Kansas City.

It’s difficult to understand why AD Perkins and Chancellor Robert Hemenway are so eager to please people in Kansas City rather than to please their fans and friends in Kansas and in Lawrence.

Whatever the reason, they have pushed the new four-year deal with Kansas City and the Kansas City Chiefs. History will show whether it was a smart move and what will happen if KU does not maintain the win-loss record of last year, or even this year, as a steady year-after-year occurrence. The eventual verdict on this giveaway to Kansas City will be revealed long after Hemenway and Perkins have departed Mount Oread.

In the meantime, giving up the KU-MU football game in Memorial Stadium, losing the thousands of fans coming to Lawrence and possibly losing more “home” games in Allen Fieldhouse to Kansas City’s Sprint Center is a tough pill to swallow.

Even tougher is trying to figure out why the longtime, tremendous, healthy and cooperative town-gown relationship here in Lawrence seems to be falling apart because of those in Strong Hall and Allen Fieldhouse.


BigPrune 9 years, 1 month ago

It's just like KU to be anti-business. They've taken care of our City government with their gurus of destroy killing so many future business opportunities through restrictions created by influence it can't be mentioned without reprisals, to taking away our much needed sales taxes and incomes from workers who would be paid extra to handle the increase in business. These "hill people" have killed job opportunities by alienating Lawrence and stigmatizing Lawrence's reputation nationally, to driving potential customers (taxpaying visitors) away from our community. One cannot help but group them (KU people -professors and administrators) together.The real irony is the decision makers are state government employees who are employed by subsidization from the taxpayers.Can Lawrence force KU to charge a sporting event fee of say, $2.00 per ticket to help recoup the lost tax revenues? Someone should check into it since KU never pays their fair share. If KU runs out of money we get our taxes jacked up. Somehow Lawrence needs to turn the tables on KU as payback.

yankeevet 9 years, 1 month ago

Its all about the money.................

Steve Jacob 9 years, 1 month ago

Again, it has worked well for OU-Texas game for many, many years. Get over it. How many Lawrence people would go to Columbia today if the game was there?

Keith 9 years, 1 month ago

As KU reverts to it's historical mediocrity in football, the game will return to Lawrence.

TheYetiSpeaks 9 years, 1 month ago

What a ridiculous headline and editorial. Everyone say it with me very slowly so it sinks in. The University of Kansas does not. owe. Lawrence. anything. Lawrence would not be the town it is today without the University's presence.

SMe 9 years, 1 month ago

It's time to start informing the Kansas Board of Regents we are "Mad as H*77 and we're not going to take it anymore!" concerning the operation of KU and the KU Athletic Department.I'll take tradition over Lew's need for money any day.

Phillbert 9 years, 1 month ago

Ah, the grand Kansas City conspiracy. I was wondering when it would make a return. Since the hospital affiliation agreement is done, it had been a while since the evil Kansas City business leaders had gotten a shout out here.Replace the references to Lew with references to the head of the Med Center - oh, and throw in the governor for good measure - and you have one of the dozens (hundreds?) of "Kansas City is leading a conspiracy to destroy KU" editorials from the past couple of years. Full of imagined quotes and positions - Dolph knows what Mark Mangino really thinks, after all - "this reporter" never ceases to amaze/amuse.Oh, and while we're talking about how KU is "anti-business" and how Lawrence would be "MUCH better" without KU, why don't you ask the local businesses whether they'd prefer to not have the 27,000 or so students and many thousands of KU employees spending their money here?I imagine that you'd find even the World Company would not like to get rid of KU. The Journal-World has already been laying off staff, getting rid of even more customers would just make things worse for it and for the rest of town.

TheYetiSpeaks 9 years, 1 month ago

Bladerunner- I dont believe anyone is made to live in Lawrence against their will. I find it interesting that many people that are upset about this are the same people who never fail to pontificate about how wrong it is that athletics have dominion over education (Hello, Dolph). Then in true greedy, selfish fashion get outraged when they cannot ride the athletics gravy train for one weekend. You are hypocrites.

formerfarmer 9 years, 1 month ago

Hey DolphKind of like closing the Eudora News office (in Eudora) and moving it to the Journal World office in Lawrence.

killjoy 9 years, 1 month ago

Lew Perkins is a selfish moron. His best interests aren't with KU. He's missing the big picture. It would be better for KU recruiting to win the game than to have a cash payment. There is no homefield advantage in Kansas City. In the long run our program would benefit from a better w/l record and bragging rights over Mizzou. KU needs someone with a brain to yank on Lew's leash.

Robert Rauktis 9 years, 1 month ago

Kansas Athletics, Inc. starts with 1,160,000 dollars in overhead. It takes a lot of money to make those executives salaries!

flyin_squirrel 9 years, 1 month ago

Maybe our city should start charging KUAC for all the police overtime hours during KU football and basketball games. Did you know KU pays $0 for that added security, traffic control, overtime hours, etc... during KU sporting events?

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 1 month ago

I think it is important to try to consider all sides and gain a larger perspective. If Lawrence wanted to attract businesses and talent to our area then the PR work we are doing in KC seems like a good development. However, we cannot gain any results from this if we are anti-business, anti-development and anti-growth.Seems to me that Perkins could have the larger perspective and we are not there yet.However, if we want to go backwards, I guess we have the right to do so.Personally, I prefer industrial parks, good roads and economic growth with the accompanying good jobs and additional revenue to our community.

texburgh 9 years, 1 month ago

KU does owe something to Lawrence. We are paying through our property taxes for extra police and fire protection, for the extra wear and tear on our roads, for all the things that make Lawrence a nice place to live. Yes, we all love having the University here - it provides us with much to enjoy. But the University pays nothing in property taxes.The University ought to help pay their way by keeping all home activities in Lawrence. We can ignore the fact that KU gives up home field advantage to their greatest rivalry.But under Lew, it's now all about money for him and athletics. As a good example, I am an alumnus of a school playing KU in basketball this year. Where are the few seats set aside for visitors? The worst in the house. Far far up in a corner against the wall. The University can't set aside a few decent seats for visitors? They would be for sale, not free. And any not sold to visitors are returned for use by KU. But of course, in Lew's world, you have to give $10K just for the opportunity to bid on a seat.Lew is a vile excuse for an athletic director. Get rid of the money grubbing and make college athletics COLLEGE ATHLETICS - NOT PRO.

jumpin_catfish 9 years, 1 month ago

Hey Lawrence merchants that strange feelin' ain't a back door probin' that's just Lew movin' two KU-MU home football games to Missouri. Just smile, it won't hurt long or will it?

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years, 1 month ago

Too funny... Just a week ago, this paper was whining that too many people exploit student-athletes for monetary gain. Now, Dolph writes an editorial that essentially dances around his real concern: a loss of revenue for Lawrence. At least get your stories straight.

Noweigh 9 years, 1 month ago

The predictable whinning about protecting the Lawrence merchants on this blog board is so delighfully hypocritcal. Want to realy help true "Lawrence merchants"? Never, ever buy anything online. No ebay, no online catalogs...nothing. Never, ever shop at any "box" or discount stores, Dillons, etc. Never shop in KC, Topeka, etc. That includes restaurants and bars. By only supporting Lawrence owned and operated businesses at all times, any money "lost" due to an Arrowhead game once a year would be a drop in the bucket and won't be missed at all.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years, 1 month ago

Greed, corruption and avarice are the wave of the future. Why is anyone surprised? Do you not think that the moguls of money would jump at this chance? To hell with tradition, fairness, community and logic, get the $$$$$$. This is the success story of ATT, Wal-Mart and others, why should the low-life leaders of the university give one fig about lawrence. Get over it, until people put down their cell phones, blackberries, and walkmans and wake up, this will continue.

livnlarry 9 years, 1 month ago

Its alright everyone. I hate not playing Missouri on campus but its how Kansas is going to get to where the rest of the big 12 is. Its a big payday by playing in Arrowhead for the program. But we have 52,000 seats and and Missouri has over 70,000 with there overflow. I dont even need to explain how big OU, Texas, A&M, Nebraska, are. If we want to stay in competition its unfortunately keeping up with the Jones'. The city of Lawrence is benifiting with the success of the program these last 6 years under Mangino, just go with the flow on this one. I like thousands of other in this town now live for a fall saturday afternoon, and spend $40 doing it even If I dont go to the game. Lew Perkins you have my backing. I'm sorry so many people dont see the picture.

deskboy04 9 years, 1 month ago

It's going to be in Arrowhead as long as 80,000 people pack the stadium.

rdave13 9 years, 1 month ago

Does anyone know if the Univ pays / reimburses for any extra city police on game days? Are there other city serviecs that incur "overtime" expenses as a result of game days and does the univ reimburse?

Socrates 9 years, 1 month ago

As usual, Dolph has missed the big picture. Lew, like the Chancellor in the Med Center flap, is simply trying to do what's best for the university. The greater Kansas City area is absolutely vital to the long term future of KU as a national research institution. With much of the rest of the state steadily losing population, it makes great sense to cement ties to the greater KC community, on both sides of the state line. Metro KC is also the largest single source of KU students (counting Johnson County). KU competes in that market with other institutions, and has to fight to hold its ground and expand its influence. Given this, the Lawrence community should be cheering the growing presence of KU in the KC area, not complaining about it. As far as Lew's "greed" goes, put yourself in the position of competing with Texas, A&M and other schools to the south with athletics budgets twice the size of KU's. Everybody likes winning, but in today's competitive environment, consistently succeeding requires a lot of capital, and it has to come from somewhere. Yes, recruiting the best coaches and other personnel requires paying high salaries, but that's the market today in college sports. Deal with it, if you like winning teams. Hats off to Lew for finding new ways to generate the capital that KU athletics will need to succeed in the future.The current leadership of KU is to be commended for not letting the parochialism of Simons and other local critics cloud their vision. In both the academic and athletic realms, KU is playing on a national stage. The university's leaders have to try to do what's best for KU in this light, and continue to build on its strengths for the long term. And this is what's best for Lawrence in the long term as well. A strong and vibrant KU, attracting students, researchers and faculty from around the world, is the best advantage that the Lawrence business community can hope for. The same goes for winning teams. Lawrence benefits more from a consistently successful athletics program than from scheduling games so that local merchants can make a few extra dollars in the short term.Finally, and I just can't resist saying this, I am personally very weary of the tactics of guilt by innuendo and implication so regularly evident in Simons' opinion pieces. I thought that journalists aspired to higher standards than that. Can anyone honestly imagine a high quality, professionally managed newspaper in a major city regularly running such poorly written and vaguely argued contributions? It has become a self indulgent embarrassment to the community, and a predictable opinion that few people seem to take seriously as a result.

TheStig 9 years, 1 month ago

Greedy downtown merchants and Dolph Jr. can sit on it and spin. Lawrence pays $8 per bus ride to deliver customers to their doors and still they whine. Sunflower Broadband uses its exclusive cable franchise to soak subscribers. Without KU Lawrence would have dried up and blown away decades ago along with the World Company. KU would need less taxes and I'd be happier if all the games were played in KC.

rcakmon 9 years, 1 month ago

Is anyone really surprised about this? EVERY decision Lew makes is about money. There is no concern for the students, fans, or Lawrence. We are season ticket holders. We'll be at every game in Lawrence to support the team but not the games at Arrowhead. It's not a college football atmosphere. If I want that feel I'll go to a Chief's game. Thanks, Lew for ruining the home game feel of a mizoo game in Lawrence.

CarterFaucheaux 9 years, 1 month ago

Dolph, maybe you should hire back the people who were recently laid off from the World Company before you complain about someone else hurting the local economy.

jaywalker 9 years, 1 month ago

Oklahoma/Texas and Georgia/Florida are two of the biggest games every year, two of the biggest rivalries, and always garner national attention. And they're played at neutral sites. It's good for the fans and the schools. The Border War played at the city on the border. Makes sense. And quit whinin' 'bout how much the merchants are losing. B.S. I don't remember slews of Mizzou fans spendin' the night and throwing money around downtown. Only the small minded and short sighted shout this down, and all those bad-mouthing Lew have absolutely NO clue what they're babbling about. Get a life.

David Klamet 9 years, 1 month ago

Only the money matters. The major college sports are a business and the only real relationship these programs have with the university is financial.I wonder how long it will be before:1. The athletes are paid a salary.2. Athletes are traded.3. Maybe some kind of "draft" of high school players.Never you say??? I can remember a time when it was unimaginable that professional athletes could participate in the Olympics.

TheStig 9 years, 1 month ago

Paying the players what they are worth will end the monopoly big colleges enjoy over the athletes that allows them to keep the players in their near feudalistic slavery. The athletes are company workers in a company town living in company housing and shopping in company stores. Such arrangements are illegal everywhere else in the US workplace.The downtown merchants are no better and just as greedy.They only see these athletes, games, and the University as a way to drive customers to their cash registers.Athletes are traded/transferred all the time and recruiting in high schools as close to a draft as to make no difference. These athletes need to be paid what they are worth especially if the University is going to maximize the profits they make off their skills and abilities.

Socrates 9 years, 1 month ago

To say that college athletes should be paid for "profits" to the institution is to again miss the point. As non-profit institutions, universities are committed to the achievement of excellence in both the academic and athletic domains. As many researchers have shown, this costs money, and it's principal return is not "profits" to the institution or to a group of investors, but to the individuals involved. The pursuit of excellence allows them to develop their talents to the fullest, in a highly competitive environment. This is why young athletes and scholars vie for entry into the university's programs, on the playing fields and in the classrooms and laboratories--because of this promise of maximizing their own growth & development. They certainly are not "slaves," as they are free to leave at any time. Why do they stay? Because they want to develop and hone their abilities to the highest levels. The time they spend at the institution is brief, but the payoff--both to the students and society--is great. The cost of excellence also is high, and it is this--not "profits"--that drives the budget of KU and similar institutions around the world. It is the highly competitive environment in both athletics and academics that has called for ever greater expenditures to achieve and maintain excellence, not "profits" in the sense of enriching investors or Wall Street.

freddieandthefishsticks 9 years ago

Dolph is pandering to his newspaper and cable advertisers. He says what he thinks the people who pay his bills (newspaper and cable advertisers) want to hear. He is only looking out for his own selfish interests. He just doesn't get that KU is what keeps him in business. He bites the hand that feeds him. His real fear is that KC interests will eventually marginalize his Lawrence monopolies.

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