Archive for Wednesday, October 5, 2011

KU basketball ‘mini plans’ include tickets for big games

October 5, 2011


Kansas University no longer scores enough points-holding, ticket-buying fans to fill Allen Fieldhouse — a loss of demand that is leaving seats for the season’s most intense rivalries available to the general public.

Officials at Kansas Athletics Inc. aren’t at all worried about the Jayhawks losing their streak of 164 consecutive home sellouts. Instead, they consider the availability of tickets for the 2011-12 season as a prime opportunity for folks outside the Williams Fund to buy in.

“We had the same thing last year, and they were gone well before the first game,” said Jim Marchiony, an associate athletic director. “We anticipate the same thing happening this year.”

To help draw more fans, the department, for the first time, is selling tickets in seven-game “mini plans” without requiring membership in the Williams Fund, the donor organization that finances athletic scholarships and provides “priority points” for seating for men’s basketball games. The department did the same thing last year, but with half-season plans.

Previously, fund membership had been mandatory for everyone outside students, faculty and staff buying season tickets for men’s basketball. The requirement formed the cornerstone of a points system implemented by then-Athletic Director Lew Perkins to drive up donations, using his department’s most sought-after asset.

While fund membership remains a requirement to secure season tickets this year — yes, some 19-game sets remain available, accessible with a $100 donation — the mini plans represent a new approach.

Each of three seven-game plans costs either $300 or $400, depending on seat location, and includes tickets for three Big 12 Conference games:

• Iowa State, Baylor and Texas Tech.

• Kansas State, Texas A&M; and Oklahoma State.

• Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.

That’s right: Without paying a premium, buyers can see the seven-time defending conference champion Jayhawks take on their most heated rivals.

Whether it’s Baylor (picked by many to win the league), K-State (Sunflower Showdown) or both Texas and Missouri (one a big-time program, the other a big-time rival), seats to such games remain available for purchase directly from the department.

And who knows? The Missouri game Feb. 25 just may be the last one the Tigers — mulling whether to leave the conference — ever play in Lawrence, after 121 previous Border War battles.

(KU is 44-14 all time against the Tigers at the fieldhouse, by the way, and 88-33 in Lawrence.)

“It’s a much more affordable sum of money to still get to experience the best home court — the best home court experience — in college basketball,” Marchiony said.

About 300 to 400 seats remains available, as a mixture of either season tickets or through mini plans.

To help market the seats to potential buyers, the department has sent materials to degree-holding KU alumni in Douglas and Johnson counties. Each mailing includes a photo of a basketball locker — one containing a jersey adorned with the last name of a particular degree holder — along with a personalized Web address for degree holders to access information online.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 2 months ago

Hmmm. I guess fans are tiring of the KU NBA training camp that has evolved in the KU basketball program. Maybe your "product" is overvalued. I never thought I would see this problem surface.

John Hamm 6 years, 2 months ago

Could be they have a better idea of how many tickets were "funneled off" by the thieves selling them.....

ljwhirled 6 years, 2 months ago

KU basketball is such a rip. In 2011 multiple federal convictions have shown us exactly the quality of people involved in the "Williams Fund" system of obtaining tickets.

The kids get almost nothing (only 73% actually graduate). The coaches training staff and administrators, however, make millions of dollars off of the talents and efforts of these young men.

If the University really cared about the kids having fun, they would turn the program back into an amateur program.

The alternative is to call it what it is (professional sports) and pay the kids what they are worth. In the NBA the players will end up taking home 51-53% of the revenue. It should be the same at KU.

At KU they would have split $7,400,000 between the 15 players that is $496,000/each.

The argument that a full ride scholarship ($50K-100K) is equal in value to $1,980,000 in unpaid wages is ridiculousness.

I love KU, but I hate the greed, corruption and usury that saturate the KU basketball program.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

"The kids get almost nothing (only 73% actually graduate). " === could be, but this rate is higher than the overall rate for all students, I believe.

Don Whiteley 6 years, 2 months ago

...And far above the graduation rates at Texas and Oklahoma where they've given up the sham of educating football and basketball players and are now in an asthetically pure farm system for the pros.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 2 months ago

LJWhirled, to your point about paying players, a full ride scholarship is exceptional payment. The athletes are not ignorant about how much money is generated. They accept the arrangement in exchange for a variety of wonderful opportunities.
I wish I was subjected to such usury because I'd jump at the chance. Then again, my vertical leap number is smaller than my shoe size....

firebird27 6 years, 2 months ago

Given these criticisms of collegiate athletics (and how in principle they have distorted the purposes of university education, is there anyone with sufficient bravado to say we should get rid of collegiate athletics altogether? Or if we keep collegiate athletics, we adopt the criterion of Division III - no athletic scholarships (which have become an oxymoron if you think about it)?

ljwhirled 6 years, 2 months ago

Don't get rid of it, just make it an amateur sport again.

Pay coaches a fair wage and take the money out of the sport, or pay the kids fairly.

This in between thing where coaches, athletic directors, etc. get rich while 27% of the kids don't even graduate is unfair, unethical and problematic.

Vaildini 6 years, 2 months ago

Face facts: college athletics are here to stay. They will create a huge influx of revenue. The graduation rate will be higher for athletes than the general student population. People don't rally around a math class, they show up to sporting events to be entertained. If you don't like athletics don't support them with your money and don't be pissed if they generate more money than academics. Reach into your pocket and round up your buddies and supply the academic projects with more money.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

Vaildini: Good points. Bread and circuses have been with us for millennia. The third chimp likes organized competitions. If people would fight to go watch a brilliant professor teach a class and pay $150 a seat if they were allowed in, academics would generate the money and athletics would be intramural. Hasn't been that way since ancient times, but one never knows; things may change. America is proud of its anti-intellectual traditions (see presidential elections in just about any recent cycle for examples) and we are not likely to change. Think we are nuts? Try soccer in much of Europe or Latin America.

jonas_opines 6 years, 2 months ago

I think that it's likely that without the cathartic release of emotion surrounding being a spectator to an utterly meaningless event such as a sports venue, we'd all go psychotic and just beat the hell out of each other, with sticks, rocks, guns, bombs, or nukes. whatever we found lying around.

The curse/blessing of self-awareness is the need to put meaning on the potentially meaningless. That may reach far beyond sports and into simply life in general, depending on how you look at it.

Graczyk 6 years, 2 months ago

This article was written like an advertisement. Sounds more like a press release than a news story.

Doug Fisher 6 years, 2 months ago

Could loss of demand have something to do with lower expectations on the team this season? This KU team might clench the Big 12 title if they are lucky. I just don't see the talent here. Hopefully, I'm wrong!

jonas_opines 6 years, 2 months ago

Heard the same thing in 2008-09, right up through December and beatdown we took at Arizona.

But maybe we won't win the B-12 title. They very fact that its up for discussion as a detriment, that we potentially won't, for the first time in many years, dominate our division, only really shows how perennially dominant a force that we are.

firebird27 6 years, 2 months ago

What many of you say is very true. The sad point today is that I have heard of research in which the findings show that increased donations for collegiate athletics is now negatively impacting contributions to university non-athletic endowments. One should ask how do athletics improve the university, and although I had a child who earned a varsity letter in Division I athletics, I cannot say that athletics have improved the university. Admittedly, students want athletics, but in Europe university students have athletics, albeit the system is different and does not impact campus life as much as it does in the USA.

Vaildini 6 years, 2 months ago

One way I like to think it helps the university is by giving kids opportunity or purpose that might not have had it in the environment which they were raised. Also, as stated before, students don't rally around a math class. Whether it is what you like or not it seems like it effects many peoples lives. I think it is wrong for people to dismiss either side. Although some people may not see the reason for sports, I don't see much reason for spelling B's and Geography competitions. Everything has spell check so whats the point? My phone has a GPS. Thats just my take so I won't jump on articles with absolutes and try and diminish what other people like to do with there time. If you don't like it don't support it. If the politicians support it, don't vote for them. If it goes through anyway then more other people probably support it. If you aren't OK with that system move to a place that you can live comfortably with in a system. Lifes to short.

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