Archive for Sunday, March 28, 2010

Scandal may cut deeper

Fans mill about before the game. Selling your tickets on campus property is prohibited, and KU has been cracking down on the practice, even assigning plain-clothes officers to monitor ticket transactions.

Fans mill about before the game. Selling your tickets on campus property is prohibited, and KU has been cracking down on the practice, even assigning plain-clothes officers to monitor ticket transactions.

March 28, 2010


It’s often said and rightly so that an athletic department is the front porch to a university. It’s what forms a first impression for the masses. It triggers the most emotional responses.

In a sense, the athletic department is the style of a university, and it never can become more important than the substance. Similarly, the games played by a university’s teams serve as the front porch, the style, of an athletic department. The games form a first impression for the masses. They trigger the most emotional responses. And they never can become more important than the substance, which is integrity.

That’s why the ticket scandal at KU might not hurt at the moment as much as the No. 1-ranked basketball team’s loss to Northern Iowa, but it has the potential to cut way, way deeper.

Depending on what various investigations, including one conducted by the FBI, uncover, this scandal has the potential to violate thoroughly the trust customers of Kansas athletics have in their athletic department. Once violated, it’s difficult to recover.

The one arrow the athletic department always had in its quiver to use against those who fretted about the points system was that it was fair, based on those donating the most money getting the best tickets.

Now, with so many ticket brokers being subpoenaed, donors are left wondering why seats were sold to brokers, where the money ended up and who knew it was happening? Dishonesty regarding tickets to games easily trumps other disappointments in what has been a tough year in a lot of ways for Kansas athletics.

The on-campus fights on consecutive days smack dab in the middle of the football season pitting football players against basketball players brought the school embarrassment on a national scale.

The football team’s season-ending, seven-game losing streak, which featured popular head coach Mark Mangino walking the plank very publicly in the last few weeks of it while some former players went public with unflattering stories about his coaching style, brought negative publicity and resulted in a $3 million buyout for the coach.

The women’s basketball team, in part because of injuries, fell far short of expectations and again was not invited to participate in the NCAA Tournament.

The Gridiron Club, still officially but not realistically on course to open in 2010, so badly missed the mark in terms of pricing that if it does eventually come to fruition, it will be a scaled-down version of the original model.

All those disappointments pale in comparison to the ticket mess, which athletic director Lew Perkins must clean up with transparency and a quick trigger finger for anyone involved. Perkins, whose retention bonus he was paid in 2009 routinely has been reported in after-taxes terms, earned $4.4 million before taxes in 2009, according to a published report. His pay will be back under $1 million in 2010, and to earn it, he’ll need to find a way to fix the points system and sever ties with any disloyal employee responsible for eroding the trust the public has in his department. Just two years after an Orange Bowl victory and national championship in basketball, the front porch is in need of repairs.


Wayne Propst 8 years ago

Ask mister Perkins what the total comphensation was for his son-in-law, Brandon Macneill during his final year at KU, before he was transfered to Tulane. It should include any ticket "deals" he received. Wake up....... it's a carnival game.

Steve Clark 8 years ago

I can hear the carnival music in the background...

OutlawJHawk 8 years ago

Step right up folks...and buy a ticket (and points) to the greatest show (KU basketball) on earth.

"There's a sucker born every moment..."--George Hall, competitor to PT Barnum

Too bad our chancellor is the newest audience member and sucker in the KU big top.

New name for AD Perkins, Big Top Barker Lew. Oh, and the cigar is perfect.

Wayne Propst 8 years ago

note mister perkins' cigar has a "Cuban" band .......illegal in USA

lawthing 8 years ago

"It’s often said and rightly so that an athletic department is the front porch to a university."

If there is a front porch, there is also a back door!

cowboy 8 years ago

Self and Mangino brought this latest success to KU , but Perkins and his cheerleaders have taken credit for it lock , stock , and barrel. I fail to see how he played any role in it other than making dollars the prime element in accessing KU athletics. One could argue he has brought a lot of bad PR to KU thru the actions of the last few years and has the money improved anything other than some expensive window dressing and the complete sell out of KU.

One only need to look at this fat cat holding court at KU games with his private table and stogies to get a real distaste for the era of PT Perkins.

Graczyk 8 years ago

I'm not really a fan of Perkis, but I'm pretty new around here so I don't know what it was like before he got here. It does seem like he's modernized KU's athletic revenue stream, but I still wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. He's a big boy.

tomatogrower 8 years ago

Hey, the conservatives would tell you that it's all about capitalism, and if you aren't corrupt enough to play the game and get rich too, then you should quit whining.
I'm glad there are some of us with ethics though. I will only give to non athletic scholarship funds, especially for study abroad programs. And the only thing I get in return is the knowledge that I'm making someone's life better. I don't think donations to the athletic department should be tax deductible.

rgh 8 years ago

Lew better take this has his top priority right now and forget the stupid Gridiron Club seating. He's brought a lot of money to KU athletics but has also lost the respect of a lot of long time loyal KU fans.

Tell us the truth to what's going on Lew and quit passing the buck down.

Uhjh 8 years ago

This is s sad state of affairs. No one expected Lew to micro-manage ticket sales but considering his amount of compensation he had responsibility for oversight of the system. A strong control system should have been implemented and maintained. When things get to the point that an investigation is warranted then management did not its finger on the pulse of program. If this investigation is not forthcoming and transparent then there will continue to be a dark cloud over ticket sales. Hopefully a thorough review of the point system will conducted in addition to it being gamed. Limited information to the public is not an option and Lew must not filter information.

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