Archive for Saturday, March 27, 2010

KU ticket probe may shed light on athletics point system

March 27, 2010


Perhaps the only good thing that can come out of a truly independent, “outside” investigation of the current ugly mess in the Kansas University athletics department ticket case is that sunshine and openness may expose what really goes on in the allocation of tickets for KU basketball and football games.

A “point system” currently determines how individuals earn seat locations in Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium.

The more you give, the better the seat location. This makes sense, but a vast majority of KU fans wonder just how evenly this formula is applied.

For instance, skeptical fans wonder whether the people sitting next to or near them in the fieldhouse or stadium all have given the same amount of money, in addition to the cost of the tickets.

The surest way to obtain “points” is to give money to the athletics department. At the outset of the points program, it didn’t make any difference if an individual had been generous in giving to various areas of the university: academic programs, the library, a museum or the endowment association. Only gifts to the athletic department counted toward seat locations.

Eventually, a plan was developed where nominal credit would be added to the point total for an individual’s gifts to academic programs, as well as to the athletics department.

Area automobile dealers win points by giving cars to the athletics department staff, coaches and even a spouse. The points system also is used as a tool to try to boost attendance for so-called minor sports (many now referred to as “Olympic sports”).

There’s no question that Athletic Director Lew Perkins has done the job he was hired to do: raise more money to fund a better athletics department that could pay big salaries to coaches and improve facilities, all of which would hopefully improve the win-loss record of the major sports teams and bring in more money for minor sports.

Perkins has, indeed, raised millions of dollars, but the manner in which he has accomplished this has caused problems and some ill will toward the university.

As noted above, there is distrust of how seats are assigned. Some longtime ticket holders report they see different individuals or different families seated next to or near them from game to game. They are not the same people throughout the basketball season. How do they get their tickets? Did they pay the same extra cash to the athletics department, or does the department have many tickets to hand out on a game-by-game basis with no additional cash required?

Others question why some faculty members or administrators seem to be seated in high priority locations when many of their university colleagues doubt that these individuals have the means to pay the extra thousands of dollars needed for seats in these locations.

The KU Endowment Association enjoys a proud history. Past chancellors have noted funding provided by the association has helped KU distinguish itself from other state-aided schools. However, there are growing numbers of association donors, as well as some trustees, who are concerned about how much money may have been advanced by the association to fund KU athletics-related projects, such as buying out salaries for coaches who have been terminated, paying salaries for new coaches and buying out their salaries from their previous employers. Has association money been loaned for other costly athletic uses?

While this is going on, those on the academic side of the university wonder why more money, even more endowment money, cannot be spent on academic needs.

They would like to have equal status with the athletics department in having their needs met.

Again, there is no question that Perkins and his crew have raised record amounts and KU facilities and programs have improved. KU now competes with most any top Division I NCAA school in what it pays its basketball and football coaches and its athletic director. It’s a very successful program and brings much attention to the university. Also a strong sports program frequently leads to added student enrollment and other forms of involvement by alumni and friends with the university.

Nevertheless, the current ticket mess is embarrassing. It should be embarrassing to first-year Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, and it seems she has every right to ask why her athletic director was not on top of this situation. She should be the one asking for an investigation.

A major KU capital campaign has been delayed far too long, for various reasons, but the ticket scam, along with the poor economy, a new chancellor and the highly favored basketball team being knocked out of the NCAA post-season tournament so early all contribute to a lowering of expectations, or, to put it another way, make it even more difficult to encourage alumni and friends to give money to the university.

Like it or not, KU endowment officials, as well as national specialists in overseeing major capital campaigns, will acknowledge that winning athletic programs play a significant role in attracting dollars.

If the Jayhawks had advanced into the Final Four or, best of all, won a national championship, it would have been the best possible send-off for a capital campaign.

Hopefully, the upcoming independent, outside, thorough investigation of the athletic department ticket situation will provide answers to the growing question of whether everyone seated in a given row or section of Allen Fieldhouse has paid or earned the “points” premium (in many cases, many thousands of dollars) to qualify them for the seats in which they are sitting.

Unfortunately, more and more KU sports fans are saying it is cheaper to pay a ticket broker a high price for a well-located seat than to pay the far more costly prices to earn points to buy a ticket for a season of games, some of which the buyer doesn’t have a strong desire to see.

Maybe this is why a number of ticket brokers have been subpoenaed in the KU ticket probe. How did they get tickets to sell? How did others get tickets, and who, in addition to the brokers, pocketed the money?

Why not print a seating chart of Allen Fieldhouse showing how much each ticket owner has paid in premium “points” money?


davidsmom 8 years, 1 month ago

The suggestion in the very last sentence is idiotic. It is not anybody's business how much I donate, I don't care how much anybody else donates (I am well aware that a lot of people can afford to give a lot and I can't) and I guarantee that a lot of people will stop the generous giving if their donations are made public. Good grief. It is just seats to a game. I've bought my tickets online and had a ton of fun no matter where I sat, both basketball and football. It's the attitude and the atmosphere, not the seat that matters.

cowboy 8 years, 1 month ago

This is what you get when money is the main denominator in college sports. I find it dishonest when Big Lew lists his accomplishments of sports championships in his resume. What did Lew actually do other than sit back and watch from his courtside throne. The successes are the student athletes and the coaches alone. It is high time to send Lew and his band of money grubbers packing and to move some of the financial returns back to the university general fund. The sports programs are a resource of the people of the state of Kansas and the University and not the sole possession of these yahoo's from UConn.

During Lew's accomplished career he has sold out the elder folk at KU , sold out the faculty at KU , made it near impossible for any common person to get into the game , put a clowns name on the football field , and placed morons in charge of PR , ticket sales , Williams Fund , moved football games to KC for money. What are you going to sell next Lew ?

Ku is solid enough to stand on its own merits without having PT Barnum as Athletic Director. The game atmosphere has become the LA Lakers with sideshow entertainment at halftime. surprised he hasn't brought in the wrestling midgets yet. Is the video , while cool , the reason our guys think they can just walk on the court and win ?

Time for a change and some sensible management at KU Athletics.

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 1 month ago

Dr,.Gray-Little better get a handle on this ticket scandal. I for one an waiting to see if they take it seriously and make the entire process transparent and come clean with the fraud. I have put everything on hold until I am satisfied with the outcome.

Be forewarned Dr. Gray-Little!

jhkfan 8 years, 1 month ago

There may be a reason you see different people in the seats around you every game. Did you ever consider that a grandparent may buy the seats (and make a substantial donation to the Williams Fund) and let his family members use the tickets? There is nothing wrong with this use of his tickets. Don't be so quick to judge. Not everyone who buys season tickets can go to every single game. If I want to give away my tickets (& not make any money off of them) I should be able to do so without everyone looking at me like I am breaking the law. People do pool their money to buy tickets for their families to use.

Uhjh 8 years, 1 month ago

I’ve have always thought some mischief has accord in the point system. A summary of how tickets are allocated and the number of points, actual location and number seats this gets a donor needs to be made public. This needs to include seats for athletic personnel including players, coaches and administrative. The system must be based on points per seat so the little guy who wants limited seats is not neglected. Seats for athletic personnel including players, coaches and administrative should also be made available. There needs to be absolute sunshine on this situation and an independent control system established or it will reek of favoritism, secrets and malfeasance again.

somebodynew 8 years, 1 month ago

A little off topic, but still KU sports related - - The Star has a very interesting article on Big Lew and his "salary" today. We sure did pay him well this past year. Not that he hasn't done what he was hired to do, but Wow !!!

pace 8 years, 1 month ago

"There’s no question that Athletic Director Lew Perkins has done the job he was hired to do",

Which was to escalate the ever spiraling corruption of sports and complete the atmosphere of usury and abusive treatment of the athletes, alumni, students, and community. If it was a corporation it would be considered a Johns-Manville. I am ashamed no reform movement has been initiated. That winning and money are the only things important in amateur collegiate sports has reached its ulcerated head under Lew.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

A “point system” currently determines how individuals earn seat locations in Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium.

The more you give, the better the seat location. This makes sense, but a vast majority of KU fans wonder just how evenly this formula is applied."

What a load of crap. The above makes no sense. It is strictly preferential special interest treatment = unethical. Who sits where in my mind should be determined by who gets to the ticket window first.

If any preferential treatment goes anywhere it would be faculty and students. Without them there is no university.

Are we saying these donors will not donate if they do not get their special seat? How childish. Where is the loyalty...... obviously to a seat not the university. Too much ego not enough in depth loyalty to education.

Are we saying these so called fans will not be fans without their special seats? Is there fear that they may be seen sitting next a student, a professor instead of being seen in the "country club seating? Sports along the way may have taken a few steps down in the past 15 years.

This is a great system. Some new high dollar family who has never been a Jayhawk fan can waltz into town wave a few thousand bucks around and get treated to a best seat over a lifer Jayhawk who simply is not wealthy but could afford seats under a previous system. It sucks!

CLARKKENT 8 years, 1 month ago


number1jayhawker 8 years, 1 month ago

The guy that wrote this article sounds like a jackass. Why isn't he also asking where's the transparency with the Obama administration?

smercer 8 years, 1 month ago

The National Collegiate Athletic Directors' Cup ranks institutions on a broad-based athletic program, measuring achievemnt in men's and women's sports.

Lew's pay is #1 in the nation. So how did he do on the Directors' Cup in 08-09? #72.

The details are at

pace 8 years, 1 month ago

Jayhawk 1 seems to want to blame Obama for the Lawrence athletic corruption. Maybe there will be a new crazy diagnosis. In 2010 the GOP went insane and blamed Obama for everything the conservatives did that turned out terribly wrong.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 1 month ago

The real scandal here is the KU Endowment Association, which seems to only value building its endowment and spending on athletics.

KU is far behind academically compared to neighboring institutions. Most notably is the lack of involvement of the Endowment in improving research facilities. The School of Pharmacy has been successful in generating state and private money for new facilities, but the rest of the university has bee neglected, including chemistry, geology, biology, and physics (Malott and Haworth Halls, basically, which are decrepit.

sad_lawrencian 8 years, 1 month ago

I would say there's a lot of distrust in general toward Lew Perkins. The man has too much power. To read stories about him in the newspaper makes it sound like he runs half of Lawrence.

sad_lawrencian 8 years, 1 month ago

And, whatever happened to just charging X dollars for a given seat? Like any other venue? The better seats are more expensive. The current system as described in this article sounds like bribery and favor-giving. Any other major universities selling their tickets like this?

freighttrain221 8 years, 1 month ago

"And, whatever happened to just charging X dollars for a given seat? Like any other venue? The better seats are more expensive. The current system as described in this article sounds like bribery and favor-giving. Any other major universities selling their tickets like this?"

Many schools do it. It's a smart way to raise money. Here's just a few:

University of Massachusetts Rutgers University of Iowa LSU Georgia State University of Florida Kansas State Marquette Purdue University of Oklahoma University of Miami Butler The Ohio State University of Kentucky Many, many more

Linda Aikins 8 years, 1 month ago

Then there is the ticket marketplace on the KU athletics website. I believe last year season ticket holders could sell their tickets at face value on the athletics website, but now they can mark then up as much as they want and athletics no doubt gets a piece of the action.

If you see a stanger in the big time seats, they may have purchased them from the ticket marketplace for $300 or more each from a season ticket holder who couldn't be there that night. Nice way to make a profit.

Oh if you are a Williams Fund member, you can purchase these for no administrative fee. If not, you have to pay $50 (?) to join, THEN you can purchase tickets from there.

RiverCityConservative 8 years, 1 month ago

Occasionally I have remarked in a KU alumni or similar gathering that I don't understand why it is necessary to be arrogant--isn't it enough to be proud of our tradition and success? I think the fisticuffs between the football team and the basketball team outside Burge Union last fall was a warning that there is an excess of arrogance that fans and the athletic department are fomenting and reinforcing. Both teams ended up failing to achieve on the levels anticipated early in the season. Get these kids straightened out by straightening out yourselves, adults. Aspire to excellence and feel good about success. But keep the pride at a healthy level. This will also help with relations and recruiting (academic and athletic) inside the state.

Austin Bergstrom 8 years, 1 month ago

area automobile dealers earn points by giving cars to the athletics department staff, coaches and even a spouse. kind of ironic athletes cant accept anything from boosters legally but coaches and staff roll around in the latest new lincoln courtesy of Laird Noller! the old adage do as i say not as i do works well here! heres another thought...lets put the students all around the court and take the phog to a another level of intensity!

promitida 8 years, 1 month ago

What's dolph complaining about? His snotty butt has been given plenty of preferential treatment for games. Box seats dolph? I despise this man's self-righteousness and the way he uses this newspaper like a 13 year old girl uses her diary... To whine about perceived injustices and petty vendettas.

golfpards 8 years, 1 month ago

Hey guys! This whole scandal is right at the office door of Lew Perkins himself. He is the AD and therefore he is ultimately responsible. Fire Lew!!

We have been long time season ticket holders and have given many many thousands to WF. Our seats have continued to get worse and there is NO WAY the point system is fair. I have done the math. I have calculated where are seats should be in relation to our giving level and we are getting screwed!

This process needs to be transparent. Every donor needs to have a clear understanding of the process and what it takes to earn better seats. Since Lew Perkins has been at KU it has been just the opposite.

I believe WF donors and season ticket holders must have the right to understand what happened in this scandal and how it could happen. The blame must lie with Lew Perkins directly.

If we do not get a satisfactory conclusion to this mess then a class action legal action should be considered!!!!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.