Archive for Saturday, June 12, 2010

What does it mean for KU?

June 12, 2010


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.


Xwards 7 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."

rivercityguy 7 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. Bloated egos on the hill

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 10 months ago

You have to read the ranking carefully to see if you can trust what they're doing.

In their ranking (QS), they put KU as B-1, and not A-1... A-1 has all 5 faculty areas with a medical school, and B-1 doesn't seem to have a medical school.... which means they assume that KU doesn't have a medical school... really? If they can make such a mistake.... I wonder how reliable is their so-called ranking?

These rankings are all biased. I won't trust anyone, not even US News. It's a way of saying that I'm better than you.

Read KU ranking carefully, this is where US news gets it ranking from:

Don't trust anything you see.

TexiKan 7 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:

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 10 months ago

After reading some MIT and Cornell research, and Al Gore won the Nobel Prize, and Obama won it (before he even started his term), I won't trust Nobel Prize afterall.... cheers.

I'm sure these Nobel Prize selections are so bias that they never select any professors from the top ranking universities from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India..... and the universities in some of these universities were ranked really high.... sometimes, it just made you doubt who are all these people who call the shot....

anon1958 7 years, 10 months ago

KU Athletic Department

Telephone ringing.

Lew Perkins, "Hello?"

Conference USA, "PikaKU I choose you."

rivercityguy 7 years, 10 months ago

What makes you think the alumni association is broke? Do yo know something the rest of us don't know?

Rickyonealku 7 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???

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 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...

Rickyonealku 7 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....

Rickyonealku 7 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.

Tom Wilson 7 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!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 10 months ago

The thing is, even a sorry conference means increased revenues. Notre Dame remained independent for a long time, but while entire conferences usually have network contracts, ND had it's OWN exclusive contract with CBS for a number of years. If you have THAT kind of fan base (coast to coast), it's best to remain independent. No one team has that kind of following these days. We need a conference.

Uhjh 7 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.

weeslicket 7 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?

Brian Wilson 7 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.

Rickyonealku 7 years, 10 months ago

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


IF you need some photos 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.


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