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Archive for Wednesday, April 1, 2009

KU ends athletic ticket discounts for faculty and staff, citing budget concerns

Kansas University announced that faculty and staff will no longer receive discounts at sporting events.

April 1, 2009, 3:59 p.m. Updated April 1, 2009, 6:28 p.m.

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The days of discounted athletic tickets for Kansas University faculty and staff are at least temporarily over as KU battles a tightening budget.

KU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Richard Lariviere on Wednesday sent an e-mail to faculty and staff announcing that the university would not offer the 20 percent discount to employees and KU retirees.

“We cannot in good conscience lay off additional employees in order to maintain this discount,” Lariviere said in the e-mail.

In 2008-2009, the discounts cost the university $451,000 — about the equivalent of 11 or more employee salaries, the e-mail noted.

The change also eliminates the discount that faculty, staff and retirees receive for Lied Center tickets.

Reaction among KU employees was mixed Wednesday.

“It is a discount that is going to be missed,” said Nancy Kinnersley, president of KU’s Faculty Senate. “But it is important to put it in perspective of saving jobs, too.”

Until about two years ago, the Kansas Athletics Corp. provided the discounted tickets, and the money for the program did not come out of the general university budget.

But university and athletic department leaders reached a mutual agreement that KUAC would start paying all utility bills for athletic facilities, and the university would start paying for the cost of the employee discount program, KU spokesman Jack Martin said.

Martin said the university is not considering asking KUAC to once again pick up the cost of the discount program.

“The university and KU Athletics have worked hard to get KU Athletics to where it is self-sustaining,” Martin said. “This wasn’t a situation where we felt it would work for either party to go back on that agreement.”

Associate Athletic Director Jim Marchiony said the athletic department could not pick up the cost of the discount program, but said the department would continue to allow faculty and staff ticket holders to sit in preferred seating locations without the requirement that they become donors to KU Athletics. The department also offers a special half-season ticket package to faculty and staff that is not offered to the general public, Marchiony said.

KU Athletics generated about $53 million in revenue for the 2007-2008 school year, according to the department’s annual report. But Marchiony said expenses are near the $53 million mark as well.

In 2007-2008, about 2,100 athletic tickets were purchased under the program. At the Lied Center, about 780 tickets were purchased at a discount, and retirees were provided about 2,000 free tickets to selected performances, Martin said.

Lariviere’s e-mail said KU hopes to restore the discounts as “soon as the budget situation improves.”

Comments

avoice 5 years, 9 months ago

They should go back to having athletics absrob the discount, since athletics seems to be teeming with funds, expanding the football stadium/parking, building an olympic village, ...

rgh 5 years, 9 months ago

This makes total sense and I'm sure 95% of the faculty will understand. The facilities are upgraded mostly by donor money and not athletic or university money.

If it means being able to keep approximately 11 faculty, I'm all for it.

sunflour 5 years, 9 months ago

avoice, athletics actually ended up covering up more than 600 parking spaces that did NOT get replaced when they built the new football practice fields...

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

Have taxpayers noticed how USD 497 and the city Parks and Rec follow KU in their new spending habits regarding athletic projects.

Meet Clinton Lake Regional Park http://www.lprd.org/masterplanphoto.shtml

Money from a one cent sales tax is funding this operation. However that portion of the sales tax could easily be fixing eastside streets or sidewalks instead of spending millions on an athletic park at Clinton Lake.

lawrencechick 5 years, 9 months ago

Wasn't it just reported that we have the 5th richest athletic program in the nation? After seeing the players digs at the new football facility I wouldn't doubt it!

cowboy 5 years, 9 months ago

Does KU Athletics sit around like the commercial on now , drinking beer and trying to think how can they further pi$$ off the locals and KU employees ?

oohmgrover 5 years, 9 months ago

"and retirees we’re provided about 2,000 free tickets to selected performances"

we're? Really?

overthemoon 5 years, 9 months ago

I think the university should charge the athletic corporation hefty fees or sue them for use of the name University of Kansas if they are a separate and distinct entity, The athletics department exists because of the University, not the other way around.

KU_cynic 5 years, 9 months ago

First, I understand the sensibility of this, conditioned by KUAC picking up the full cost of utilities.

Second, I find it curious that this announcement came from lame-duck soon-to-be Oregon duck Lariviere. I thought that the deal was that lame-duck-Dick would be wrapping up old business as interim provost Steinmetz took on new business. It's surprisingly convenient that lame-duck-Dick took this bullet for the team, as opposed to Steinmetz or "I'm still going to be hanging around working on my fatuous little book" soon-to-be-ex-chancellor Hemenway.

Thanks for playing the villain one last time, Lariviere.

compmd 5 years, 8 months ago

Good job KU. Clearly, to make the people who make this a university feel appreciated is to take away their benefits. Brilliant!

KU is no longer an institution of higher education. Its a sports camp that you can take classes at.

redmoonrising 5 years, 8 months ago

I wonder if this includes KUAC employees as well. Those at Allen are being displaced for nearly six months while they work on it. Will they even be able to afford tickets to all the new and improved facilites next fall?

grimpeur 5 years, 8 months ago

So, $53M in revenue and $53M in expenses. Not much left for scholarship or contributions to the general fund, is there? $53M is equal to 11% of KU's '09 budget. 11% is also the amount cut from KU's budget over the '08 and '09 fiscal years.

Kansas Athletics, Inc., needs to make a new policy: from now on, all donations will be split 50/50 between Kansas University and Kansas Athletics, Inc. Donors, alumni, and supporters can still make donations specifically for athletics, but they should know in advance that half will be going to support the real mission of KU, not the commercial pursuits of KAI.

KU is looking at some difficult budget decisions. What kind of cuts is KAI considering? Oh, that's right...since it's a totally separate corporation, conveniently insulated from the budgetary constraints of the university (even as it reaps the benefits of association with the university), KAI can consider massive spending projects to make sure all the little sports' facilities are equal to FB and BB. And now that FB has its two overblown practice facilities (Anschutz, with three adjacent fields and Mangino Meadows, also with three adjacent fields) in a desparate attempt to keep up with Texas, we can use "equality of minor sports" as an excuse to continue the excess.

The good thing is that there should be no need to update football facilities for 50 years. Or more.

Graczyk 5 years, 8 months ago

It's nice of Lariviere to kiss us one last time.

Citizen_X 5 years, 8 months ago

Once again KU has shown that the athletics department is purely a for profit enterprise with little regard for the students, faculty, and staff of the school they represent. I recommend my fellow alumni follow my lead and resist giving any money to the KU athletics department. Donate to the general scholarship fund and libraries. Academics, and not sports, should be KU's greatest achievement.

Clickker 5 years, 8 months ago

This makes sense. I would estimate that the majority of employees buying basketball tickets and to some extent football tickets, buy them at a discount and re-sell them in the open market for a significant profit. I'm not sure the University or Donors should be subsidizing windfall profits for these employees.

tir 5 years, 8 months ago

Better to lose the discounts than lose jobs.

5 years, 8 months ago

So why is KUAC so mad at Fac/Staff reselling tickets if they aren't giving the discount to us? Most of us already give to Williams Fund, so I think I'll quit, because what benefit do I get. Nothing, except to help with student athletic scholarships and let Lew hire relatives and hire more and more KUAC employees that are probably getting a big raise.

4chewnut 5 years, 8 months ago

I'd like to ask the LJW to fact check here. Is KU REALLY transferring actual dollars to both KUAC AND to the Lied Center? That's what the story implies. This is simply an oportunistic move with a Duck. KUAC doesn't mind if KU employees, facing no salary increases or heck maybe even decreases, can't afford tickets. Hooray, they have found a way to offer them to the big donors.

BigDog 5 years, 8 months ago

Wow! The whiners are out today.

We want the athletic department to pay for itself ..... wait it does

We want the athletic department to cover cost of athletes attending the university .... wait that is where a lot of its money also goes .... athletic department pays for the costs of tuition, books, room and board

The athletic department should pay for the ability to use the name and logo ... wait they do

But the athletics program wouldn't be anything without the university .... true only in part .... but the university would barely be known outside of Kansas if it wasn't for the athletic program.

Grab the cheese ... it's whining time again!

hail2oldku 5 years, 8 months ago

Merill that masterplan for LPRD has been on the board for over five years.

It also shows improvements that the community could really benefit from installing, though the number of people who are short-sighted about such projects or just anti-athletic would want to throw out their some old tired arguments against.

absolutelyridiculous 5 years, 8 months ago

are you kidding me? KU Athletics budge problems? What a crock.

Kyle Reed 5 years, 8 months ago

Oh NOOOO...oh wait, I actually couldn't care less. Nevermind.

Eride 5 years, 8 months ago

"the department would continue to allow faculty and staff ticket holders to sit in preferred seating locations without the requirement that they become donors to KU Athletics."

That by itself is an AMAZING discount. Discounted tickets is a perk of employment, the employees are employed by the university NOT KU Athletics. Why would that corporation pay for the university's employee perks? The deal they worked out sounds right to me... make KU Athletics pay for its utilities and make the university pay for its employee perks. That is how it should of been from the start.

easmith14 5 years, 8 months ago

Wow Lawhorn.....sounds like KU has figured out how to put the "I" in TEAM.

new 5 years, 8 months ago

Here is another quote from the email Lariviere sent out yesterday:

"... by spreading this cost out amongst ticket holders, we can devote the savings to the academic and research functions of KU and protect the jobs of several additional employees."

Sounds good... please describe which jobs the athletic department is going to save. What Perkins hasn't had his monkey on the hill write is that the true loss is that the mens b-ball seats for faculty (lets cut the crap... we're not talking Lied center or women's basketball), that were given a highly contested upgrade a few years back, could be sold off to Williams Fund Donors and realize much greater revenues than are being offered ($451,000). As faculty purchase less tickets it is inevitable that the athletic department will shrink allotment of seats. Here's a suggestion- Let's go ahead and see how popular it is to have student tickets no longer be "subsidized" (the term used in the Lariviere email). Perhaps we can complete the "Tea Party" as Roy Williams once referred to.

Linda Aikins 5 years, 8 months ago

Is there an ethical reason why Athletics can't give this discount? Perhaps appearance of bribes to faculty?

I'm sorry to see it go - we buy football season tickets and always enjoyed the discount. But I won't enjoy it at the cost of someone losing their job.

And I think KUAC people mostly get in free, don't they?

Kyle Reed 5 years, 8 months ago

If KU Atletics was being paid by KU for the tickets shouldn't the headline read that KU has stopped giving the discount to their employees?

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