An adult film actress by the stage name of Samantha Ryan had the Internet world buzzing Thursday after posting on her Twitter account that she attended Wednesday’s Kansas-Kansas State basketball game with tickets provided by KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend.
The story first received play on insidestl.com, then hit thebiglead.com, deadspin.com and huffingtonpost.com.
In explaining the matter, Townsend told the Journal-World he did not know that a KU fan he met on a December flight from Los Angeles to Kansas City worked as an adult actress.
“I meet so many people. I can’t tell you how many people ask about tickets,” Townsend said. “This person was a KU fan. We talked. She said she loved KU and went to school there and said, ‘I’d love to see a game with my brother on my birthday.’ I gave her my card. She ended up following up about a month ago and we left her tickets. Maybe I’m too nice a guy, but that’s what happened.”
The tickets were under her real name — not the name she uses as an adult actress.
“We never talked about where she worked. I never asked if she had a stage name. Maybe I should do that in the future,” Townsend said with a laugh.
“The plane is the only place I’ve seen her in my life. I have never seen her since. I didn’t see her at the game,” Townsend stressed.
KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said Townsend “didn’t do anything inappropriate.
“I don’t know anyone who ever asked anyone on a plane whether they are using a real name or a professional name. Kurtis was doing a good deed for what he thought was an average KU alum,” Marchiony added.
KU coach Bill Self indicated that it was a “non-issue.”
“Kurtis explained to me what happened. I’m totally comfortable with it. The only thing unfortunate is I think it’s been a little bit of an embarrassment to the Townsend family, but in no way, shape or form should it be,” Self said.
He noted that “we as coaches a lot of times leave tickets for people we don’t know well or as a nice gesture.”
Actress Samantha Ryan (Townsend said her real first name was Jamie), who said she is a KU grad from the Roy Williams era and hails from the Kansas City area, did not return phone calls to the J-W.
She responded to the flap late Thursday night — believe it or not — via several tweets on Twitter.
“For those who seem to care, Samantha didn’t get the tix from coach, I did as myself (Jamie). We were seated next to one another on a plane and spoke,” Ryan wrote. “As an avid KU fan I had to say something to the person seated next to me in a KU jumpsuit, duh. Wow to my surprise he was coach T.
“After seeing that KU was playin rival KSU on my bday, I had to ask for tix, who wouldn’t? He was nice enough to help me out. Much ado about nothin,” she continued. “I meet the most interesting people and travel alone so sue me for being friendly and talking to my neighbor. I thought that was what being from Kansas was all about. I thought it was what makes me stand out from the vultures around me.
“You can waste your time making this into something it is not, but all I can say is that I do great things for people, strangers, my friends. And charities, including local KC charities. What have YOU done for someone else lately?” she added on Twitter.
In fact, Ryan was in town this week for a charity event in K.C.
She said earlier in the day on Twitter she was “so excited for my floor seats at the KU/KSU game! Coach Townsend kicks major (butt)! Rock Chalk Jayhawk Go KU!”
She also said later: “Big thanks you know who for gettin me the tix from Coach T! Best Birthday Present Ever! :) Can you say, I owe ya one!”
Townsend said he regrets any embarrassment the incident has caused his family and the university.
“I guess it’s all over the Internet,” Townsend said. “In no way is this what everybody is making it. I’m not trying to hide anything. I don’t want to ever make the university look bad or take away from what we’re doing.”