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Archive for Saturday, June 12, 2010

What does it mean for KU?

June 12, 2010

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All this talk of conference realignment often spurs concerns about Kansas University athletes missing more class time because of increased travel demands, or coaches struggling to recruit athletes without the help of a strong Big 12, or even fans missing out on familiar trips to schools that have become woven into the fabric of KU’s athletics history.

Heck, “listen to the Cornhusker’s wail” has been part of the KU fight song for decades.

But upcoming decisions about conference realignment — both on Mount Oread and elsewhere — will be expected to affect far more than the conveniences of KU’s student-athletes, job responsibilities of coaches or even the desires of Jayhawk fans.

Money, prestige and more are on the line as KU officials wait to see whether the home of the Jayhawks will remain in the Big 12, or instead be cast off into new or uncertain areas for the seasons ahead.

“I am optimistic that we’re going to be OK,” said Kevin Corbett, president of the KU Alumni Association. “It’s kind of that pioneering spirit of KU over the years: We’ve been through a lot to get where we are — settling the state, Quantrill’s Raid, establishing a world-class public university in the middle of the country — and we’ll get through this.

“We’ve been through a lot more than conference realignment.”

But now that the University of Colorado has agreed to become part of the Pac-10, and Nebraska has opted to join the Big Ten, there’s no doubt that the Big 12 will be taking on a new look. If it can survive.

Among the largest repercussions certain to affect KU: money.

KU left wondering what's next

With two valued teams in the Big 12 officially leaving for other conferences, those left at KU are wondering what will happen to the athletics program. Potential students on campus Friday gave their opinion on the whole situation. Enlarge video

Conference cash

“Obviously, the most positive thing that would come out of this would be a conference alignment that would provide additional conference revenue distribution for each individual school, including KU,” said Dale Seuferling, president of the KU Endowment Association. “But with so many unknowns, you can’t really project what conference revenue might be available in all these scenarios.”

According to financial documents KU files each year with the NCAA, conference revenue represents a significant portion of the revenues for Kansas Athletics Inc.

According to a report Kansas Athletics filed with the NCAA, the department received $12.25 million from NCAA and conference distributions, including all postseason competition, for the year ended June 30, 2009. The total trailed only contributions and ticket sales in helping finance the year’s expenses of $67.6 million.

For the same year, according to the NCAA-mandated report, KU had an:

• Athletically related outstanding debt balance of $46.57 million.

• Athletically related facilities annual debt service of $3.32 million.

Should KU secure a conference arrangement with enhanced annual revenue, the department would have additional resources to strengthen programs, improve facilities and otherwise cover expenses and debt.

If KU ended up without a home in a major conference, of course, the opposite could be true.

“That speaks for itself,” Seuferling said.

Conference future uncertain for KU

Conference realignment has sent teams in the Big 12 searching for new conference homes. Kansas University has made no announcement as to what it intends to do. Enlarge video

Power, prestige

Then there’s the matter of prestige, and opportunity.

Being affiliated with major state universities — such as Big 12 members in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa — affords KU connections that pay off in many ways, Seuferling said. Such associations can help with admissions, research partnerships and other matters.

Then there’s selling tickets. Kansas Athletics told the NCAA that it sold $20.7 million worth of tickets for regular-season competition during the 2008-09 year. The number is supported by strong in-conference opponents to help fill seats at Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse.

“The schools in your conference impact the attractiveness of schedules, (and) how many people are interested in buying tickets to see certain opponents,” Seuferling said.

Conference affiliations also enable endowment officials to connect with alumni and donors, a key to driving private support for athletics and other university pursuits.

Kansas Athletics reported receiving $27.33 million in contributions during the 2008-09 year, a total that includes Williams Fund donations that help donors receive access to preferential seating at the fieldhouse. Endowment officials often find that sporting events give Jayhawks a convenient place to convene, bond and offer support.

“We have a great interest in it, because the schools in your conference, in many ways, impact venues where you can bring alumni together in population centers,” he said. “Your ability to reach out to alumni in communities and states are impacted through athletic competition. …

“If that’s replaced with another location, or a city or school that is located where they have a high concentration of alumni and donors, that could be a positive.”

Alumni affection

The Alumni Association already is making plans to adjust to the changing conference landscape, Corbett said. Whether KU ends up in a different conference, or welcomes new members to join the Big 12, the association likely will have new communities that could serve as homes for KU alumni chapters.

Such chapters would allow the association to expand the reach of the “Jayhawk brand,” which already is strong nationwide, said Corbett, adding that KU has the second-most recognizable collegiate mascot in the country, behind only Notre Dame’s.

“Certainly, this opens more doors and more opportunities to engage graduates,” Corbett said.

Likewise, he said, KU’s admissions operations likely will find themselves retooling some of their own operations to connect with potential students in whatever communities and markets end up engaging KU as conference partners.

Corbett remains confident that KU will remain in a powerful conference, with strong partners boasting both solid academics and athletics.

“And I can absolutely assure you, no matter what happens, that the alumni base will be ready,” Corbett said, of his organization with 45,000 members and more than 1,000 volunteers worldwide.

Comments

Rickyonealku 3 years, 10 months ago

To the LJWorld.com Lawrence Journal-News (PROMOTE KANSAS FOOTBALL).

THAT'S WHAT THIS REALIGNMENT IS ABOUT NOT KU BASKETBALL.

IF you need some photos LJWorld.com Lawrence, Kansas then give me an email I will be glad to provide you with some, but for heaven sakes this is about realignment for Kansas University Football and the almighty Kansas Basketball Program is grabbing onto the Football Team's coat tales on this NEW CONFERENCE MOVE.

GOT IT....Rickyonealku@msn.com

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Brian Wilson 3 years, 10 months ago

They should stick together and add schools. A long term option based around rivalries and not just money would be to drag Iowa away and then upgrade Missouri State. You would have Missouri, Missouri State, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and then try to keep the four Texas schools. The Texas and Oklahoma schools would all remain in the south division.

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azalum 3 years, 10 months ago

change the picture to a sold out football stadium for those with outside interest that may be reading the ljw for the first time.duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh!

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JackRipper 3 years, 10 months ago

I say KU should think big. Cricket, that's what they should invest in. KU wants to build international programs and there are already international students here that play cricket. Shoot they use to do it on the tennis court before the unused practice monstrosity replaced it. It would be cheap, give KU an international appeal that all these other schools wouldn't have as they play cave man games.

Wondering since the new football coach seems like a nice guy if the stadium is "his" like the past coach or if he'll share it again like in the past for various activities, back before people were defined by how much they make.

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weeslicket 3 years, 10 months ago

don't know much about all of the above. the big12 WAS a powerhouse conference. don't know what's in store for it now. i can kind of understand colorado bolting for the PAC11, but don't really get nebraska moving into the big10+2. i guess football money has a big megaphone.
perhaps sticking with ten big universites and bringing in 2 more makes sense. don't really know. guess i'll wait and see.

a little history: this process all began about a decade or so ago when the university of miami joined the big east. and then the ncca stated that super-conferences needed 12 universities in order to hold a football championship game between its 2 behemoths. and so the dominoes began to fall. big east: reorganized acc: same sec: same big 10+1+1: same big 12-2: same pac 10+1: same remember the swc? the metro league? the great midwest? conference usa? wac? mountain west? (examples are a little bit out of time regarding my previous statement, but i posit these examples to encourage this discussion).

the ncaa put all of this non-sense in motion.

remind me: who put the ncaa in charge of such siesmic decisions?

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Bob Kraxner 3 years, 10 months ago

Who, in their right mind, gives a $hit ? phucKU !! phuck, phuck, phuck KU !

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Uhjh 3 years, 10 months ago

There is plenty of blame to go around. Mainly Missouri who can only whine or gloat with no sportsmanship whatsoever. Whining about bowl games they just lost anyway. Then, threatening to go to a conference that doesn’t what them anyway. Nebraska who stated earlier they didn’t like the way the center of power shifted south. Well TO will never be god again especially where they are headed. I doubt the Huskers will ever be on top again. Obvious they didn’t have the savvy to play Texas straight up. Then there is arrogance and superiority of Texas who must be in control or just destroy a conference. Couple this with a weak Big 12 commissioner and here we are. The Big 12 will be sorely missed when stadiums are half full and travel becomes an issue. All I can say is I never want to see Missouri, Nebraska or Texas again.

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Seamus 3 years, 10 months ago

“I am optimistic that we’re going to be OK,” said Kevin Corbett, president of the KU Alumni Association. “It’s kind of that pioneering spirit of KU over the years: We’ve been through a lot to get where we are — settling the state, Quantrill’s Raid, establishing a world-class public university in the middle of the country — and we’ll get through this."

Oh Lordy, that's rich. Comparing the people who built this state and survived Quantrill's Raid with the bloated, clueless sports fans who'd just assume KU serve no other purpose than to provide them with entertainment.

I, for one, am enjoying this meltdown. With any luck KU will end up in some no-name conference, irrelevant and forgotten. Perhaps only then will we get our priorities in line.

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Tom Wilson 3 years, 10 months ago

If the Big 12 continues to evaporate and KU ends up as residue, I would much rather see KU remain independent than accept an inviation from the Mountain West or the C-USA. Both of those leagues would be a major step down for our athletic program. I blame Mizzou for the current Big 12 meltdown (i.e., agreeing with Tom Osborne of Nebraska). Ironically, it looks like Missouri will end up without a home. The Pac-10, SEC, ACC or Big East would all be acceptable for KU (my opinion). Perhaps a deal can be made where our guys collect "frequent flyer miles" for all the flights involved in participating in one of those conferences!

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Rickyonealku 3 years, 10 months ago

If this news paper really want to promote your football program...then promote it. Ask Kansas Head coach Turner Gill some questions, heck Dr. Tom still wants to play Kansas University (FOOTBALL) in the future....

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Rickyonealku 3 years, 10 months ago

If the PAC-10 is thinking about that conference future then retract the offer to Kansas University since this paper wants to promote the basketball program in front of this university Football program.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 3 years, 10 months ago

"Corbett remains confident that KU will remain in a powerful conference, with strong partners boasting both solid academics and athletics."

Why is he confident in that? We bring a lot of revenue potential in basketball, but in football we are "iffy" at best. No football conference would really want us. Which conference is a "basketball conference"? Some might say that the BXII once was...

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Rickyonealku 3 years, 10 months ago

All this talk of conference realignment often spurs concerns about Kansas University athletes missing more class time because of increased travel demands, or coaches struggling to recruit athletes without the help of a strong Big 12, or even fans missing out on familiar trips to schools that have become woven into the fabric of KU’s athletics history. This is about football realignment and the Lawrence Journal Record have a basketball photo attached to this realignment. Plus Coach Bill Self has been making statements with no comments or photo's from Kansas University Head Coach Turner Gill. Now why is that???

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bobberboy 3 years, 10 months ago

it's all about the money - you youngters should know that by now.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 10 months ago

OR should we say, she "clued" Lew and he announced his future retirement.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 10 months ago

Chancellor Gray has a clue and Lew announced her first clue with him.

She will make some announcements or have the responsible parties do such. She is not a woman to waste words, nor draw into her inner circle the so called leaders within the city. They become a burden to her to carry out her job assignment.

The Alumni Association is almost broke. They are squanering money and day dreaming and paying people within that organization to not do much. They havn'at figured out, there is nothing fashionable anymore about belong to the Alumni Association.

And yes, "academics" is what Gray is interested in. Get back to that and the other problems will have solutions to enhance KU.

KU needs to be "rightsized" as Dr. Covington in Kansas City MO is doing.

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anon1958 3 years, 10 months ago

KU Athletic Department

Telephone ringing.

Lew Perkins, "Hello?"

Conference USA, "PikaKU I choose you."

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JackRipper 3 years, 10 months ago

If we just went the way of the University of Chicago all this wouldn't matter and let's see, how many Noble prize winners do they have compared to University of Kansas. Call me crazy but that sounds like the indicator a "university" would be more interested in.

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TexiKan 3 years, 10 months ago

The Ranking Web of World Universities lists the top 100 schools in Canada and the United States: Big 12 Schools - Texas #12; Texas A&M #20; Colorado #41; Iowa State #47; Missouri #69; Oklahoma #87 and Kansas #96. Their web site is:

http://www.webometrics.info/top100_continent.asp?cont=usa_canada

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rivercityguy 3 years, 10 months ago

U.S. News & World Report lists the top 400 "world class universities" 4 of the Big 12 schools are listed and KU isn't one of them. http://www.usnews.com/articles/education/worlds-best-universities/2010/02/25/worlds-best-universities-top-400.html. Bloated egos on the hill

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Xwards 3 years, 10 months ago

So in response to the headline and before his morning coffee, the husband says, "Maybe they can get back to academics."

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