Archive for Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why wasn’t ticket scam caught sooner?

January 22, 2011


All but one of the seven men and women charged in connection with the ticket scam in the Kansas University athletic department have pleaded or are expected to plead guilty.

In most every case, the individuals, with their attorneys at their sides, have issued statements in which they say they regret their actions and the embarrassment they may have caused the university or Kansas Athletics.

It’s more likely the only thing they really regret is that they got caught. They probably would still be wheeling and dealing in the sale of prized tickets to KU football and basketball games if they had not been caught. They were making big bucks and probably were trying to figure out how they could make more.

Even though it may look like the investigation is wrapped up, it is difficult to believe others were not involved, either inside the athletic department umbrella or on the outside.

Long-time basketball and football ticket holders, individuals who had been generous in their fiscal support of the athletics program through the Williams Fund and others, were extremely upset by the manner in which seat locations were assigned. The continuing concerns expressed by long-time KU basketball and football season-ticket holders about the changing stream of “strangers” seated near them, the arrogant manner with which long-time fans were treated by athletic department officials, the fact that many fans changed their giving plans to the university because of their anger and disappointment with the athletic department and its leadership, the disappointment of many faculty members over athletic department actions and policies all combined to make long-time, loyal Jayhawk fans wonder what was going on over an extended period of time.

Time and time again, spokespeople for the athletic department claimed everything was on the up and up, that there was no justification to question anything in Allen Fieldhouse.

Doesn’t it seem reasonable that senior athletic department people would have launched an investigation to try to find out what was behind all the anger and frustration directed at their department or its leader, Lew Perkins? Wouldn’t any employer in most any other business try to find out what was going on, why all the complaints, why the unknown people were sitting in high-priced seats and whether everyone sitting in a defined area had indeed donated the same hundreds and thousands of dollars, plus the regular ticket price, to obtain seats in a supposedly sold-out arena?

Over and over, those asking questions were rebuffed and told to stop complaining. If they wanted better seats, they would have to come up with more dollars.

How could something like this go undetected for such a long time? Either people within the department were blind, deaf and arrogant, or they really didn’t want to dig and find out why all the complaints.

Could those who ran the scam have operated without help from the outside? Who was taking care of all the $400 and $500 money orders? How many ticket brokers or scalpers were involved? Are there others who used the availability of tickets to gain personal or business favors from others?

It may be that each and every person directly involved in the scam has been identified and is facing the possibility of severe penalties. At the same time, could there be others who weren’t directly involved but helped make the scam workable and profitable? Could there be others in the fieldhouse, or outside the fieldhouse, who knew something was wrong or illegal but didn’t say anything or “blow the whistle”?

How could so many people so close to the situation, individuals who were hired because of their knowledge and expertise in intercollegiate sports, be unaware of what was going on under their noses?

It will be interesting to see whether the investigation is indeed over and everyone involved in the embarrassing and illegal scam has been identified.

What assurances does incoming KU Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger have that there will not be additional disclosures to rock the KU sports scene? Are there others inside Allen Fieldhouse who played a role in the embarrassing and illegal ticket scheme who are holding their breath, hoping they will not be exposed?

Again, how could something this big be hidden so that no one in the department knew or suspected something funny was going on?

University officials must be hoping everyone will plead guilty so there is no trial. A trial that hangs the athletic department’s dirty laundry out for the public to see could be extremely messy and embarrassing for the entire university.

Zenger and all those genuinely interested in the welfare of the university need to be assured all law enforcement agencies have finished a thorough investigation into the ticket situation and that all those involved, directly or indirectly, have been identified and will face punishment.

On the other hand, if further investigation is needed, it is hoped it will continue until there is no question that all guilty parties have been exposed.

Were there only seven people involved in what was going on — both on and off campus?


Paul R Getto 6 years, 10 months ago

JW: Good point. It's a mystery, of course, but someone with the initials L. P. knew, or should have know, what was happening. The fish rots from the head.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 10 months ago

It would seem that this would require some big bucks to get off the ground. Plus continued financial backing to keep the project "hidden".

Who was handling the money orders?

Was there creative accounting?

Who was putting up the money for the tickets to make them available?

OutlawJHawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Of course there were others... Perkins was making too much money to give a crap. The spokesperson to whom you refer, Jim Marchiano (sp), is way too cocky for his job...he needs lessons on humility and humbleness (a prison term, although he was not part of the ticket scandel, would go a long way toward fixing his ego). It was developer and sleaze-bag Dave Freeman who opened this can of worms. He was the recipient of some tickets. Many other Williams Fund big hitter wanna-be's would often buy these tickets so they could act like big shots and sit around rich people. Sounds like all of the AD ticket people ratted each other out trying to get plea deals, aside from one. Usually the one not offered a deal is the highest ranking person involved as the feds want to get media mileage on his status. Greed and the need for status drove all of this.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 10 months ago

A prison term for not being humble enough?? What the heck country do YOU want to live in?

OutlawJHawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Or a good butt whipping, but that would land an undeserving person in prison

nedcolt 6 years, 10 months ago

Hey Dolph,,you should have ran for AD,I think you have more sports and business knowledge than anyone,and you dont need the money so you could have done it for less,,,a big fan Ned Colt

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 10 months ago

Right. And then he could spend all his time running around 'Monday morning quarterbacking', asking rhetorical questions of everyone, and looking for his quart of strawberries.

Oh, as well as referring to himself as "this athetic director". I can hear it now. "This athletic director wants to know if we should have fouled a different player with 3 seconds to go. It is difficult for this athletic director to believe we couldn't have fouled another player. Doesn't it seem reasonable that we would have won the game had we fouled another player? What did the KU administration know about the player we fouled and when, and why didn't they say anything?"

SWJayhawk13 6 years, 10 months ago

They probably would still be wheeling and dealing in the sale of prized tickets to KU football and basketball games..."

Prized KU football tickets? Ha ha!

sr80 6 years, 10 months ago

you know they are going to walk, the elite can't be prosecuted, their feelings might be hurt.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 10 months ago

Did Dave Freeman have that much money? In that Junction City fiasco it seemed like this guy was more of a message man..... cook up a deal then find the money.

JustNoticed 6 years, 10 months ago

This is nothing but innuendo hiding behind indignation. Your screed is so loaded with qualifiers - "probably ... more than likely ... difficult to believe... etc." - that you really say nothing at all except that you're really pissed off. Maybe you should do some investigative reporting.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 10 months ago

Yet another example of the diseased state of college sports.

What once was a quaint little way to get your tuition paid has become a commercial and monetary juggernaut.

The industry has outgrown the structure imposed by the NCAA.

It is time to treat college sports like the industry that it is. Admit that it is a business with a huge demand and cash flow. Pay the players a decent stipend over and above their scholarship, and do away with the silly and anachronistic NCAA rules..

Or do away with college athletic sholarships altogether and make all college athletics league based like men's volleyball and ultimate frisbee.

A disconnect has formed between the origins of NCAA sports and the realities today. The NCAA structure is still based on the quaint realities of 75 years ago.

beaujackson 6 years, 10 months ago

Considering the cost for the privilege for purchasing many of these seats, one would think Mr. Perkins would have known many of these fans on sight, and would have been curious why he did not.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 10 months ago

Why would you think that Lew Perkins would have known by sight 'many' of us fans who pay an arm and a leg for our seats? Sure. He might have seen the 'bigtime boosters' who ALSO happened to choose to sit down close to where he he sits and to make themselves personally known to him. But it's not like all the "great" seats were stolen. Or that these relatively few people were given lousy seats.

Regardless of Dolph's screeching, the fact is that most people (including these 'bigtime boosters') simply don't like the process we're made to go through to get our seats now.

Having to go to campus every 2 years to "choose your seats" is a pain in the neck for those of us who simply want to keep our same seats and who qualify to do so. We get no benefit from going up to campus to choose the same darn seats.

Many of us also hate the fact that we are no longer able to sit with longtime 'section friends' the way we used to.

[KUAC was soooo responsive to complaints that they changed the "choose your seat" requirement from every year to every two years, but they still need to offer a "keep the same seats" option for those of us who are happy with our seats or who simply can't be bothered...and who still qualify for those seats.]

Oh...and Dolph's "they [season ticket holders] want to know why unknown people are sitting in these expensive seats" routine is yet another product of his slly imagination. (Probably one person said something to him and he extrapolated from that wildly.)

The fact is that, also thanks to the 'choose your seat' requirement, lots of people won't be sitting in the same seats over any length of time, so we simply don't get to know the people in our section like we used to. The system itself has guaranteed that. The same system that also made it possible to get away with this ticket scam in the first place.

And let's not forget (like Dolph apparently has) that we season ticket holders get to give away our tickets to whomever we want. And that, since every game is on TV, many of us don't go to anywhere near as many games as we used to. Many of us, particularly as we have gotten older, are more and more willing to give away game tickets to friends and family so that they, too, can watch a great game in Allen Fieldhouse. And, no, this doesn't mean we aren't still fans. Or that we should stop buying season tickets.

Frankly, had KUAC's own greed not led to the "choose a seat" option, it's highly unlikely this ticket scam would have happened. After all, back in the 'old days', we didn't think twice about asking a stranger in the next seat "So where's [ticket holder's name] tonight?" as well as learn all sorts of details about that stranger.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years, 10 months ago

Here's a reasonable explanation for why no one dug any deeper: Because the idea that over half a dozen trusted employees had been conspiring for the better part of a decade to steal and sell millions of dollars worth of basketball tickets is somewhat unbelievable. I have a good friend who holds a senior position in KUAC (and who has had no involvement in this scandal) who was just as surprised as I was to hear the news about these crimes.

1 - It wasn't something expected. 2 - Those who complained were REALLY just complaining about the quality of THEIR seats.

Who said "I have reason to believe that someone is stealing tickets"? No one.

caddyshacks 6 years, 10 months ago

I would love to see a trial, personally.

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