Bill Self applauds Kansas University’s response to the secretive ticket scam by several former athletic department employees that resulted in the sale of at least $1.03 million worth of basketball and football tickets to brokers and individual buyers.
“The report being released is obviously big news, but this is something Lew has been dealing with for an extended period of time,” Self, KU’s basketball coach, said Wednesday after a news conference in which KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and athletic director Lew Perkins spoke about the findings of a Wichita law firm looking into allegations of wrongdoing in the athletic department and Williams Fund.
“In the time he’s known about this, he’s handled it in a way to expedite the process. I thought Lew and the chancellor and everyone at the front table (including university general counsel Jim Pottorff and Jack Focht of law firm Foulston Siefkin) handled it the way it could be handled — precisely and matter-of-factly. Certainly you can’t change what has happened,” Self added, “but you can take measures to put different safeguards in place, which he (Perkins) has worked hard on.
“I thought the situation today was handled very well, even though it was the releasing of some negative information, still the message was clear in how they handled it.”
Self hopes a situation in which athletic-department employees manipulate the system never happens again.
“I can’t believe that it will. I’m not in the know, (but) I hope not,” he said. “I know steps are being taken to prevent going through this again. It is a negative for our university and athletic department, but also a day that had to happen. Our administration knew it would happen for a couple months, and they moved quickly.”
One of KU’s most prominent athletic donors, Dana Anderson, said Wednesday night that he was pleased Perkins accepted blame for misdeeds in Perkins’ own department.
“I think he has to take responsibility. I think he did,” Anderson said from his home in California. “He’s done a lot of, I think, really good things for KU athletics.
“Embezzlement is not a relatively uncommon thing. That essentially is what this is, (former employees) finding a way to put money in your pocket illegally. I think he did the right thing to stand up and say the buck stops here, (that) ‘I’m responsible.’
“On balance, unless there’s something I’m unaware of, that he tried to shelter some people, I don’t think it’s grounds to terminate him (Perkins).”
Anderson added: “I think he (Perkins) has done some great things for Kansas athletics in the financial arena — providing impetus for people (donors) to do some things that needed to be done. I give him a lot of credit for that. Certainly this is not a plus on his resume, not a good thing that happened. He said it’s his responsibility. I don’t consider this grounds for termination.”
Anderson stressed that, “people embezzling is not a unique thing in businesses, charities. It happens, but systems can be put in place to make it a lot more difficult. Of course, you could be a critic and say put these (safeguards) in place before some things happen.”