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Archive for Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Biggest, longest lasting impact of ticket scandal at Kansas University may have very little to do with tickets

May 26, 2010

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KU ticket investigation press conference

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little begins the conference, and Jack Focht of Foulston Siefkin discusses the report made of their investigation.

KU Athletic Director Lew Perkins was the last to leave a press conference at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics on Thursday May 26, 2010. He and other KU officials and investigators talks about alleged violations in KU's ticket office that led to the diversion of $1 million or more from the university. Six employees were blamed and are no longer with the university.

KU Athletic Director Lew Perkins was the last to leave a press conference at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics on Thursday May 26, 2010. He and other KU officials and investigators talks about alleged violations in KU's ticket office that led to the diversion of $1 million or more from the university. Six employees were blamed and are no longer with the university.

Kansas University officials and their attorney face a crowd of media as they discuss the findings of an investigation commissioned by KU into alleged misconduct in its ticket operations.

Kansas University officials and their attorney face a crowd of media as they discuss the findings of an investigation commissioned by KU into alleged misconduct in its ticket operations.

Attorney Jack Focht of Wichita law firm Foulston Siefkin explains a report on missing tickets his law firm generated at the request of KU. In the report, released Thursday May 26, 2010 at the Dole Institute of Politics, thousands of misdirected tickets and more than a million dollars diverted from KU.

Attorney Jack Focht of Wichita law firm Foulston Siefkin explains a report on missing tickets his law firm generated at the request of KU. In the report, released Thursday May 26, 2010 at the Dole Institute of Politics, thousands of misdirected tickets and more than a million dollars diverted from KU.

Lew Perkins, KU Athletic Director, prepares to take questions from members of the media after a report detailing improprieties in its ticket office was released to the public Wednesday afternoon. In the report, six employees of Kansas Athletics are described as taking part in a scheme to divert tickets and funds to their own benefit and away from KU.

Lew Perkins, KU Athletic Director, prepares to take questions from members of the media after a report detailing improprieties in its ticket office was released to the public Wednesday afternoon. In the report, six employees of Kansas Athletics are described as taking part in a scheme to divert tickets and funds to their own benefit and away from KU.

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Supporting exhibits for KU's investigation ( .PDF )

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When a scandal hits an athletics department at a major university, its impact is wide-ranging and can affect many different stakeholders of a university, observers say.

Kansas University officials on Wednesday unveiled a report that detailed the illicit distribution of more than $1 million in tickets to KU athletic events.

While members of the higher education community around the country said they were not familiar with the details of the relatively unusual KU situation, turmoil in college athletics is certainly nothing new.

John Thelin, a professor in educational policy studies at the University of Kentucky, has researched major college athletics scandals and has written a book on the topic, “Games Colleges Play.”

“Many people, they don’t understand this, but I do, because I’m here at the University of Kentucky,” he said. “These things are important.”

Like Kansas, Kentucky has a top-flight college basketball team that is constantly on the minds of its supporters.

“These teams, they really are central to the life and pulse of the community,” he said.

The impact scandals have on top university officials can vary widely from school to school, Thelin said, depending on their involvement with athletics.

“Some will try to distance themselves from it, while others seem to revel in it and embrace it,” Thelin said.

T.K. Wetherell, a former president at Florida State University, was in charge during an NCAA investigation into academic fraud at the athletics department.

When there’s turmoil in the athletics department at a major school, that can have all sorts of implications, he said, calling the athletics department a school’s “window to the world.”

On Saturday afternoons, he said millions of people are exposed to Florida State for four hours during football games, and the things said during a telecast can shape people’s opinions of the school.

“While you may do well on the academic side, you don’t have that opportunity to showcase it,” Wetherell said.

When things go wrong, it’s important to identify the issue and move forward, Wetherell said.

“I think for the donors and your boosters and fans, even if you make a mistake, it’s about how you go about rectifying that mistake,” that will restore trust, Wetherell said.

One area in which it will almost guaranteed to have an effect, Wetherell said, is in recruiting of top-flight athletes.

Coaches at other schools, Wetherell said, will sometimes exaggerate a scandal’s impact on impressionable 18-year-old minds, telling them that if they go to a troubled school, for example, they may not have a chance to play in a tournament or bowl game.

“That’s the kind of thing that probably haunts you more long-term than the rest,” Wetherell said.

Members of the Kansas Board of Regents — who oversee the state’s university presidents and chancellors — made it clear Wednesday that the issue is an important one to them, too.

Board chairwoman Jill Docking issued a strongly worded statement that said the board wanted a report on the issue in June from KU’s chancellor detailing how the university would respond to the report and its allegations.

Gary Sherrer, regents vice chairman, said that he had received KU’s internal investigation report on Wednesday morning. He said KU should be sure to pay attention to what the report says should be done, but added the chancellor “certainly isn’t limited” to the report’s recommended remedies.

“We expect these recommendations to be dealt with along with others that may be necessary,” Sherrer said.

He said he was “confident” that Gray-Little and KU would address the issue and do it right — so the focus could return to other pressing issues facing higher education institutions in the state.

Comments

ralphralph 4 years, 6 months ago

Lew brought a "grab the money" mentality to Lawrence, throwing the most loyal fans aside in favor of the ones he could squeeze for the most cash. This can't be considered that big a surprise.

Top Kill.
Fire Lew.

Jock Navels 4 years, 6 months ago

i agree...it was lew who created the 'candy store' mentality...lew should be running a pea-pool carney game in new jersey.

Majestic42 4 years, 6 months ago

Amen. Lew's the Godfather of KU and should be booted.

Robert Rauktis 4 years, 6 months ago

Has anyone consulted Jim Marchiony to see what the heir apparent to the KU Athletics, Inc. presidency thinks?

John_Brown 4 years, 6 months ago

Jim Marchiony isn't thinking about the past, SFBayhawk. It's all about fixing the problems, taking care of the 'kids' and the future. Jim wasn't involved. Rather, it was the ubiquitous 'them'. And 'thems' is already gone.

PBRFAN 4 years, 6 months ago

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PBRFAN 4 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

ralphralph 4 years, 6 months ago

Some of the players might need a drink ... if they searched for their dad's name on Yahoo! Sports.

Bob Harvey 4 years, 6 months ago

How sad. A great school, some great college athletes and a community that cares so much for the institution, besmirched by the almighty dollar. Regrettably it is not just these few...in some small way it is all of us.

Shardwurm 4 years, 6 months ago

They wear a mask and gun at KU every day and take $1,000 for a 3-hour class taught by a grad student. The University is already 'besmirched by the almighty dollar' and it's getting worse. In time you will have to be poor, a minority, or rich to go to college as the middle class will not be able to afford it.

The Education Industry is just that - and if you think it's about education or the youth of our country you're seriously living in another world.

Bladerunner 4 years, 6 months ago

I can assure you....It's not me! Soooooo Wrongo!

fundamental 4 years, 6 months ago

Some of the comments on here are downright foolish. Lew Perkins, for all his faults (as many are plenty eager to point out), had nothing to do with this situation. KU Athletics is the victim here. Lew and KAI lost millions of dollars! How could any of you think Lew is somehow complicit in this? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Shardwurm 4 years, 6 months ago

For the same reason people blamed Bush for everything I suppose. I will say this - usually when you're in charge of an operation you are ultimately responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen. That's why you're paid buckets of money.

Steve Jacob 4 years, 6 months ago

KU does not owe anything to the fans, but they have a lot of butt kissing to everyone in the Williams fund. And lets not forget some had to been mad still about the Mangino situation. Why give KU you money after all of this?

riverdrifter 4 years, 6 months ago

And what, precisely, has Gill done wrong that he should be dismissed?

Please cite. Moron.

Graczyk 4 years, 6 months ago

Beobachter just hates Gill because of his faith orientation. Yet he has provided no evidence that Gill has done anything improper.

whats_going_on 4 years, 6 months ago

yes, the fear of not being able to draw the best recruits is CLEARLY the biggest problem here.

6thstreet 4 years, 6 months ago

per Oklahoma newspaper, Charlette Blubaugh has resigned from her current position.

So it looks like not only is the going to possibly involve many members of the KUAD, but also even the basketball programs. Plus all the other schools that may have been doing similar things with the help of the Pump brothers. This could turn out to be the biggest story in college athletics... making conference realignment look miniscule. If they follow the money far enough you could possible see many universities in some trouble.

Also how deep is this involved in Lawrence.... looking at the LJW mugshots...woops I mean thumbnails, they have all the big wigs in town involved in some way with this scandal. Self, Lew, and Compton. How funny would it be if all the big boys running this town found themselves doing time in Leavenworth? Send the paddy wagon out to baur brook !!!!

Lets stop all this bashing of N. Lawrence, East Lawrence, Topekean's, KC'ers and focus on the true criminals in this town ---the big $ developers who living out in West Lawrence in their nice mansions.

BruceWayne 4 years, 6 months ago

dump the entire staff. do as Michigan State does and give the the lower level to the STUDENTS. what year did Compton graduate from KU? I assume he is alumni based on his seat. Andrew, any chance we can now get the follow up story on the Zebra mauling ?

svenway_park 4 years, 6 months ago

Just as soon as someone pays his neighbors back for spending their money on a frivolous lawsuit against the school district.

betti81 4 years, 6 months ago

OK people, I get the Lew-bashing and hating going on. You don't like him, fine. But he did what some many managers and bosses do (and have to do to run a company). He hired the people he felt could do the best job at the time. There were checks-and-balances in place amongst those positions. The problem was, this is where the surprise comes from, is that ALL of them were in on it. ALL of them. Can you imagine if all of your employees were in on a scheme? That means the person responsible for the check, knows there isn't going to be a balance and can look the other way. Or make the balance magically appear. Lew does shoulder the blame of a man who was hosed by those he put his trust with, and for that the University lost and I'm sure he lost as a person.

All that being said, this isn't going away and it is going to hurt KU and the community as a whole. I am not all pro-Lew, but I just don't think it's ALL his fault. This really sucks for those of us who are huge KU Athletics fans and alums.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 6 months ago

"The problem was, this is where the surprise comes from, is that ALL of them were in on it. ALL of them."

And Lew hired or promoted ALL of them. Do you really trust him to hire replacements that will be any better?

betti81 4 years, 6 months ago

I don't think he'll make the same mistake twice.

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 6 months ago

Yes, but as the administrator, he must assume the responsibility...one of the burdens of leadership.

Majestic42 4 years, 6 months ago

So all his employees were in on it, and he DIDN'T know? Bull. He was in on it too, no question. The man's the Godfather of KU.

sciencegeek 4 years, 6 months ago

There's a quick-fix to the financial loss, reported at from $1.3-3 million. After the true cost is determined, the man at the top can reimburse the university. Since Perkins' salary is $4 million, he can pay for the monetary damages and work on repairing all of the other damage done to KU. Using the point system put in place on his watch, an up-front payment is preferable to a long-term pledge; an immediate check for a million seems appropriate.

Zerrubabel 4 years, 6 months ago

One of the consequences, I suppose, of placing such an emphasis on the athletics program. We have a top-ranked basketball team but we're on the verge of becoming a Tier 2 school.

Majestic42 4 years, 6 months ago

Careful, if you admit to not caring that much about KU sports, or if you say they're not that important, you'll get branded as a crazy anti-KU nutjob.

nekansan 4 years, 6 months ago

So the bulk of the staff at the ticket office is stealing millions of dollars worth of tickets to the ADs premiere product and it went completely unnoticed by the AD. I find it hard to believe. Beyond that the official KU report completely omitted the allegations raised in the Yahoo sports article. Something is being spun, glossed over or omitted consciously at the senior levels of the athletic department.

I'm just wondering when the lawsuits will start piling up against the Williams fund /Athletic Department for not properly distributing tickets according to the "points" system. Never mind that donors are are going to scale back what they are willing to give if they don't have confidence in the departmental leadership. Let's also not forget that Lou is the guy who signed Mangino to a new contract the year before they canned him. Seems to me that the only thing he has really been successful with is hiring Self.

Steve Miller 4 years, 6 months ago

Keep the house cleaning going, good start .. If you look hard enough, you'll find some more trying to flick the burger off their finger. !!

svenway_park 4 years, 6 months ago

That's about the year that someone dropped out of school because he couldn't handle the classwork.

4everahawk 4 years, 6 months ago

He didn't hire Self..............that was Drue Jennings, an interim AD, who accomplished that major feat! Complicit????.....Oh, surely not, with all the integrity and trust and controlled environment that is athletics! How could anyone think like that???? Thanks for the posting - it was my first really big laugh of the day...

AND, I would also love to hear more on the Zebra mauling......

Tab 4 years, 6 months ago

HOW EMBARRASSING AND DESPICABLE. Hope all of those thieving *ucks lose thier livelihood, homes, friends and any respect that they may have ever earned.

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 6 months ago

The sad part for KU is that no matter how many good things they've done in the past, this incident kinda wipes a lot of that away...just or unjust.

KU will have a big ugly scar from this for a while...people won't forget easily.

ilovelucy 4 years, 6 months ago

6th st: if you would have bothered to read the article instead of looking at the pretty pictures, you would realize that the fact that Compton and Sinks' names and pictures are just conjecture, nothing more. Don't be so quick to do your share of bashing. Surely you can find better things to do with your time.

PapaB 4 years, 6 months ago

News of the lack of integrity of everyone involved needs to be spread as far as possible. I want their associates, employers, employees, clients, etc to know that these men can not be trusted.

I hope we all use this as an opportunity to measure our own integrity. What do we do when no one is watching or we believe no one will ever find out? In these days, employers check facebook pages, google, or whatever else they can to find out their risks when dealing with anyone new. Maybe we should all be more careful.

George_Braziller 4 years, 6 months ago

Lew is toast. The University will have to get rid of him for damage control.

anon1958 4 years, 6 months ago

Like my grandma warned me,

"Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas."

Lew and his cronies are the personification of greed and high handed administrative tactics. Jayhawk nation is now a flea infested circus side show, this is almost as good as the brawlin in the fall and bawlin in the spring basketball drama.

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