Archive for Thursday, September 16, 2010

KU Chancellor Gray-Little says school may pursue civil litigation in ticket scandal

September 16, 2010, 8:01 a.m. Updated September 16, 2010, 2:44 p.m.


KU chancellor addresses ticket scandal

KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little addressed the Kansas regents Thursday regarding the ongoing investigation into the KU ticket scandal. She also highlighted the action she's taken to help resolve the situation. Enlarge video

— Acknowledging the public relations nightmare created by the ticket-scalping scandal at Kansas University, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on Thursday said the school is increasing control of the ticket system, transparency of seating allocations, and oversight of the athletic department.

In a briefing to the Kansas Board of Regents, Gray-Little also said that KU is reserving the right to pursue civil litigation against those involved in the ticket scam, and that she was close to finalizing appointments to a search committee to help hire a new athletics director.

Regents members heaped praise on her actions.

"You have taken an issue not of your making and provided positive and very substantial steps to address it," said Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer of Overland Park.

Six people — five former KU athletics department employees, and a consultant — were implicated in an internal KU investigation that documented the theft and sale of KU football and basketball tickets for personal gain, a scheme officials say involved at least 19,000 tickets and cost Kansas Athletics between $1 million and $3 million — and possibly more. Two men have already admitted to stealing tickets and are cooperating with prosecutors.

In regard to civil litigation, Regent Ed McKechnie said, "I certainly hope that you do pursue that and retrieve whatever money can be retrieved."

Gray-Little also informed the regents that KU had notified insurance carriers that the university may file claims on the ticket losses.

Gray-Little told the regents she was changing the athletics department, including the possibility of adding outside representation to an advisory committee to provide better oversight. She earlier had removed the athletics director as chairman of that board of directors and named Jerry Bailey, associate professor of education and a faculty representative, as the chairman.

Regent Tim Emert of Independence praised the selection of Bailey, and Sherrer encouraged her to add outside representatives to the committee.

KU also has hired a forensic auditor focusing on the athletics department. And KU has established a system that allows people purchasing football and basketball tickets to view the point system for seating to see how many points are needed to get seats in specific areas of Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium. Points are determined by donations and other factors.

In addition, the school has instituted more control over complimentary tickets and segregated duties in ticket-handling procedures, Gray-Little said.

On another topic, Gray-Little was asked about the search for a new athletic director after the sudden retirement Sept. 7 of Lew Perkins, who originally was scheduled to retire in 2011.

Gray-Little said she would have a search committee appointed within days. She joked that she has received a lot of recommendations on who should serve in that group, adding, "I have not heard from the Vatican yet and have not heard from the White House."


Mary Ellen Hall 7 years, 8 months ago

billybob1, I think you misread...."In a briefing to the regents, Gray-Little acknowledged that KU has received negative publicity over the matter."

verity 7 years, 8 months ago

"a community that is fixated on the civil war"

Now that's just funny---and so true.

tao7 7 years, 8 months ago

And who gets the money if KU wins a civil suit? This is athletic money that was stolen and they are a separate corporation from the University. Why isn't the athletic department bringing the civil suit and the costs that will accrue from lawyers and such related costs?

HogJiver 7 years, 8 months ago

I'd love to see Tony Soprano as the new Athletic Director.

jvinland 7 years, 8 months ago

If KU files a insurance claim for reimbursement of the stolen ticket money the right of recovery is transferred to the insurance company. The insurance company in turn will subrogate against the responsible parties to recover the money paid out on the claim. Thus, once a claim is filed KU can not legally seek reimbursement from those responsible for the stolen tickets.

jvinland 7 years, 8 months ago

Civil litigation for damages to KU could be taken separate from the insurance companies subrogation.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

"Why isn't the athletic department bringing the civil suit and the costs that will accrue from lawyers and such related costs?"

Prosecute their own? Perish the thought.

Sweeping this matter under the rug will be like propagating seeds for the next round of corruption.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 8 months ago

The civil route is probably the way to go. If KU can win, they can tap the incomes and assets of those responsible, maybe for the rest of their lives. The Chancellor seems on top of this; we need to give her time to work it out.

Jim Williamson 7 years, 8 months ago

Why isn't Hemenway getting slapped around?

If the new chancellor is getting credit for implementing steps to fix the current mess and prevent it from happening again, shouldn't the man better known for wearing silly hats than being a good chancellor catch some flak for sitting by idly as it all happened?

ralphralph 7 years, 8 months ago

Good point, P'fan86 .... The things being reported as Do-Little's response are things that SHOULD have been in the system from the get-go .... separation of duties, audits, etc.

Easy example of prudence: Every little bank in the country has some old teller that has been working there for 40 years and is their most trust employee ... you know what? They still count the money in her drawer (lest some be missing); they still make her take vacations (so the plates will stop spinning and fall off if she's up to something sneaky); and it is the best thing for the bank and for the teller ... there's really no way to steal and get away with it, so there is no real temptation to even try.

A ticket office, dealing with BIG bucks worth of easy-to-sell tickets, would have to have the same kind of mindset from the start. If KU's didn't, then the responsibility doesn't fall just on the genius-felons who ripped off the system, but also falls squarely on those who set up the system ... or failed to set it up. This is a failure of the incompetent captains, not just the crooked deckhands. (unless the captains turn out to be crooked, too. We'll have to see what the apparently ongoing investigation reveals in that regard).

The people who allowed the thievery need to go down with the thieves.

onceajhawkalwaysajhawk 7 years, 8 months ago

Where is Roger Morningstar in this mess? He was mentioned at the start by the snitch and then he has not been since??

Kontum1972 7 years, 8 months ago

roger is probably ratting a bunch of others out....

and does this mean that we will not see people with their hats on backwards standing on the street corners with hand fulls of tickets on gamedays?

4everahawk 7 years, 8 months ago

Not sure why so many are hoping for a female AD. That would definitely change the atmosphere of the 'good ole boy' network of late, but what else? Enlighten me please.

thepianoman 7 years, 8 months ago

My god, could they possibly photograph this woman ANY CLOSER??? GEEzz...Back it off....

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