Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Woodling: Perkins holds hammer

Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway, left, Head Football Coach Mark Mangino, and Athletic Director Lew Perkins surround the Orange Bowl trophy at midcourt during a halftime recognition ceremony for the football team at Allen Fieldhouse in this file photo from 2008.

Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway, left, Head Football Coach Mark Mangino, and Athletic Director Lew Perkins surround the Orange Bowl trophy at midcourt during a halftime recognition ceremony for the football team at Allen Fieldhouse in this file photo from 2008.


Lew Perkins has Kansas University's students between a rock and a hard place.

Perkins, the man who operates the Kansas Athletics Inc. gold mine, controls the price of the all-inclusive ticket that admits students to the only sports they care about - football and men's basketball.

Perkins says he'll maintain that ticket price at $150 as long as the students continue to pour $1.9 million in fees into Kansas Athletics Inc. coffers. Specifically, each KU student pays $40 a semester to fund women's and non-revenue sports.

What's 40 bucks when you're paying almost $400 a semester in fees on top of about $3,000 in tuition - IF you live in Kansas - and a few thousand more for room and board? Forty bucks. Heck, that's chump change in the overall picture.

And yet some students are beginning to grumble. According to the University Daily Kansan, a resolution proposed last week to rescind that fee barely failed in a Student Senate finance committee ballot. The vote was 11-5 to drop it, but by-laws require a two-thirds majority. In other words, one more vote would have done it.

Looking at it another way, 11 committee members obviously didn't give a hoot whether Perkins raises the cost of the sports ticket while five members were plainly worried.

Should KU students have to pay $40 a semester to fund women's and non-revenue sports? Of course they shouldn't. It's an archaic fee that has been in force since the days when KU athletics was burdened by Title IX requirements.

Today, Kansas Athletics Inc. is a multi-million dollar corporation fueled by lucrative television and apparel contracts, buckets of cash from the Big 12 Conference and barrels of dollars from donors eager to secure the privilege of buying a ticket.

Befitting its status as a corporation, Kansas Athletics Inc. is a top-heavy bureaucracy with multiple high-salaried executives who operate under the titles of coach, assistant coach and associate athletic director.

If Kansas Athletics Inc. were required to field only football and men's basketball teams, oh my : what a bonanza. But, darn it, in order to maintain its status as an NCAA-affiliated school KU must fund a minimal number of men's and women's programs, too.

In essence, Job One of any university athletic director is to enhance revenue, and no Kansas AD has milked the forces of supply-and-demand economics the way Perkins has. Kansas Athletics Inc. is raking in the dough.

Interestingly, for example, the corporation spent about the same amount on its journey to the Orange Bowl - around $2 million - as it receives from those student fees, according to figures released by KU as a result of a Journal-World/6News Freedom of Information request.

Among those comped were members of the Kansas Board of Regents, deans and their spouses, professors, other coaches and the majority of athletic-department staffers, as well as children.

If I were a student, I wouldn't be very happy about those perks. So you have to admire those 11 members of the Student Senate finance committee for attempting to right a wrong. Yet even if they eventually reach the necessary two-thirds majority and wipe out that fee, they can't possibly win.

Not as long as Perkins holds the student-ticket hammer.


slantrox 12 years, 1 month ago

Wow, the JW's sour grapes approach to Lew Perkins and KU Inc. sure was evident in this article. That and the fact that Woodling has been around old man Meyer a little too long because his articles are sure starting to sound like old fart ramblings, remembering when yesteryear you could buy a grape soda pop for a nickle and get change back!

How's about you do a story next that shows some peer schools of KU, you know the ones they always use, Oklahoma, Oregan and North Carolina plus some select others, that show how those schools handle this student cash. That would be.....investigative? I think that is the correct word.

Thanks for the sour spin!

Carter Patterson 12 years, 1 month ago

Only $40 to support the non-rev and Womens sports? Sounds like a good deal to me. "Every athlete at KU should have the opportunity to play for a National Championship."

I remember Lew's first 6 months ....article after article from the LJW criticizing how many people he hired, the new seat assignments, etc. The LJW has very little credibility on this issue. Lew Perkins is a rock star in the sports business. We are fortunate to have him.

So many ADs start their job by replacing the head coaches at the major sport. Lew did not hire either Mangino nor Self. He made his mark by dramatically increasing the amount of revenue flowing into the department and keeping KU competitive with other DivI programs.

I think I'll write another check....thanks Lew!

Ryan Gerstner 12 years, 1 month ago

First off, this has come up every year or two since I've started college and I started in '97. There's always some student senator that tries to come out looking like a hero. The reality of the situation is that if they pull that fee, student tickets will be a lot more expensive. They'll probably double (30,000 students paying student fees effectively subsidizes tickets for everyone else) so some students will decide they aren't going to buy tickets, which will cause the athletic department to turn around and sell them to alumni that will donate to sit in the seats. That's a cycle that student senate probably wouldn't want to start. KU has some of the cheapest student tickets of any school in the Big XII.

And as far as Chuck making fun of KU for how much they spent going to the Orange Bowl, I realize KU has not been to very many bowl games, but that's how it works. Travel expenses come out before the revenue is shared so instead of getting 1 out of every 12 dollars (roughly), KU ends up getting a larger share. It's not rocket science. It's the way the formula is set up and KU does pretty much the same thing everyone else does.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

I saw plenty of students at the women's game versus Nebraska (think pink) ...

and the crowds at KU baseball games are always decent.

Students aren't charged to get into either of those venues, because they've already paid - they just show their KUIDs!

You know what $40 equals?

Eight trips to McDonald's - find me a student that doesn't do THAT during a semester ...

Four CDs - show me a student that doesn't have at least that many in their car ...

Two trips to the local movie theater - with a date ...

A month of trips to the Hawk, Wheel, etc - need I say more ...

One night at the Bird - a very unentertaining night, that is!!

The problem isn't that they are being charged, it is that they are paying for something they aren't using!

SO ... get out and support ALL the Kansas squads, get an entertainment value and stop complaining!!!!

slantrox 12 years, 1 month ago

My guess is that very few students are complaining, only a few grandstanding future State Senate interns and Woodling, but we know where his education came from.

This is such a non-article because in an academic setting you are always going to have those that are passionate about sports and those that despise them. Then you get your local rag that likes to bite the hand that feeds it by writing poorly written, researched and even pertinent articles. Is Woodling going back to school now to get a journalism degree?, because this sounds just like a sophomoric UDK article!

DCJayhawk0208 12 years, 1 month ago

This is just like people complaining about taxes because, "I don't my money going to XXXXX." This is part of the deal you signed up for when you enrolled. The money has to come from somewhere, and it's better to spread the load out over all students than to significantly increase the cost to students to see their peers compete.

Mr. Woodling, why didn't you ask the Student Senators why they voted for or against eliminating that fee? There were only five who were in favor, so clearly, it wouldn't have been that tough. What were their motivations?

Were they claiming the populist mantle, protecting less fortunate students? If they were, why didn't they pursue a more reasonable course, for example a fee reduction for those students meeting certain financial qualifications?

Or are they traditional small government conservatives who want to reduce the size of any government?

And what does the Student Body President have to say about the issue? Were those 'aye' votes on the same 'ticket' the President was? (Sorry, reaching back to my days at KU, 97-02...things might have changed now.)

After reading this, there are a lot more questions than answers...or maybe I've just spent too much time in DC.

kevbo 12 years, 1 month ago

Good article. I'm right there with you.

speedy 12 years, 1 month ago

its been a long time since i paid $105.00 tution,$50 student union fee hasn,t it? and i got go to the games for free!
of course there are twice as many students now. so things change. my gripe about lew perkins is his group that fails to get equal air time to duke and n. carolina games. since they have wiped out from the schedule how many games were NOT shown on natl. tv. i cannot back up the fact that ku lost lots of money fron NOT being on the tv nationwide. nevermind the local jayhawk net. or the espn plus and other pay per views. ku lost out by not even being on there with games that would have made up the $40 fee rev. fire lew???????

KU 12 years, 1 month ago

The real problem: Title IX.

I know that's not politically correct to say......but I'm just sayin'...........

Ben Kane 12 years, 1 month ago

title ix does stink, why they don't put in an exception for football scholarships is beyond me.

Jacobpaul81 12 years, 1 month ago

I think it's crap. Students can't even get good seats at the revenue games, cause Lew "Abe Bagoda" Perkins and previous AD's have sold out the court seats to Corporations. I say, rescind the fee, and make Lew up the ticket price. Make the Williams fund people pay Lew's Salary.

walkdog262 12 years, 1 month ago

It would be interesting to put the $40 fee as an enrollment "add-on", kind of like that box on your tax return for whether you want to contribute to the election fund. I wonder how many students would choose to pay the fee. My guess is, those whose parents are paying their tuition would check it, and those with student loans would not.

KU 12 years, 1 month ago

walkdog262.......Who in their right mind would pay an OPTIONAL fee (chicadee check-off or federal election fund) to an already bloated, irresponsible government?

John Stowell 12 years, 1 month ago

As much as it may suprise us, there are student's who couldn't care less about athletics at KU. Fourty dollars isn't much, but I'm not too old to remember how far I could stretch $40 when I was in school. We have to put this into context of it being $40 on top of every other expense students have from tuition to books to lab fees. It's pretty easy to look at that list and see the $40 as the least essential fee.

Also, I doubt Lew will get very far trying to increase ticket prices for students too much. If student attendance at games drops off, the atmosphere at games will be ruined. He has to be aware of how close he can come to killing the golden goose.

jayhawkish 12 years, 1 month ago

I find these arguments from the long-since graduated to be quite silly. I don't see any of you beating down the door to buy tickets to women's basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, etc. I don't see you donating the big bucks to help propagate these programs to ensure their survival. But I do hear the "it's the students obligation" to fund them through a $40 student fee regardless if they attend the events or not?

If these programs are all so important like many of you lament, then why isn't your money where your mouth is? Why is it the burden of the people who can least afford to fund these programs? 85% of students receive financial aid in some fashion. Why aren't the alumni beating down Perkins' door to ensure their survival? Oh wait, it is easier to chastise and speak from your soap-box than actually be the ones who pay up.

It's just $40, sevenyearhawk. I mean, that's what? A tank of gas for your car? How much from your paycheck every two weeks? Let's put in perspective of the alumni that don't have limited means of income. Why isn't Perkins lobbying hard to build a $500,000 boat house from the alumni at the same time he lobbied for millions of dollars for an athletic center? Why did the students pay for that at the same time Perkins shook hands with the multi-millionaire donors for this football and academic facility. Surely, another two or three weeks and he could have put together enough to build a tin-boat house.

The KUAC is there for all athletic programs, not just football and men's basketball.

William James 12 years, 1 month ago

Just in case there are still people out there who take this journalist seriously, take a look at what he had to say in this article about our football program last summer. Are we really that desperate for journalist in Lawrence that we let guys like this stick around.

number1jayhawker 12 years, 1 month ago

Fabio, I read the link from last July and you pretty much nailed the season before it started.

I used to half agree with Woodling, but now I haven't seen anything from him that I can agree on.

Brian Skelly 12 years, 1 month ago

They charge the 40 bucks simply because they can. I dont remember what it was when I was a student there (early 90s), but I certainly dont ever remember it becoming an issue.

 Im not for the fee,  but acting like this is some sorta major issue, as Woodling would have you think it is folly.

 For roughly a dollar a week that most Students are on Campus is what the cost breaks down as.   Should they be forced to pay it?   No.   Should some old coot of a writer turn into this weeks "issue"?  No.

 How good do people have it when this becomes an issue?   Case Closed.

slantrox 12 years, 1 month ago

Lew listens to the Jayhawk Network feed of the game with Chris Piper and Bob Davis.

When I was in school I would have gladly paid the money. I did in fact. Got the all sports pass the minute it was available, waited outside AFH in freezing cold for the best seats, went to every BBall and FBall game for 5 years! I buy 4-8 tickets for every KU event that comes to my neck of the woods (Denver/Boulder/Laramie) for the past 19 years. Donate to the university to this day!

I don't have extra money, but I want the students AND the student athletes at KU to do well and I send my support. I also buy hundreds if not thousands of dollars of KU STUFF every year! The Full Court package on DirecTV.

All I see from the student sections is the free T-Shirts that are given out! Nothing wrong with that, all for it, but since you aren't spending $40 for KU clothing, spend it on supporting hundreds of athletes, not just Lew's salary!

There are major universities a mile deep waiting for a guy like Lew to come available and WILL snap him up in a heartbeat should he leave! KU has a HUGE athletics budget compared to years past, nothing like the truly big spenders like Texas, Ohio State etc, but as competitive as we have become since Lew came, let's give him the benefit of the doubt and support his programs!

ps. I hate the fact that I can't get good tickets to any event becuase my Williams fund numbers are too low, but I support the Jayhawks anyway!

Did any of you go to the Orange Bowl????? The absolute most proud of KU Athletics EVER! and I was at KU in 88!

Ryan Wood 12 years, 1 month ago

I think it makes more sense to eliminate the fee and increase the ticket prices. That way, those who want to support KU athletics can choose to do so. And those who don't want to can choose not to.

Forcing someone to isn't the right way to do it, is it?

LAJayhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

This article is pretty clear in it's negative slant towards Lew and the athletic department. And, honestly, the title is incorrect. The students actually have Lew stuck between a rock and a hard place. Let me explain.

Charging all students a fee for the athletic program clearly isn't fair. Whether you want to believe it or not, there are many students that attend college who care nothing about athletics, they are there for an education and a degree in order to better prepare themselves to obtain the type of job that will sustain them financially. The amount of the fee certainly is not the issue. If they care nothing about the athletic programs, should they be required to finance them? Toll roads are put in place in order to charge those who actually use the road, rather than the community as a whole.

That being said, if the fee is withdrawn, and Lew is forced the raise the student ticket price, then undoubtedly the student attendance (which an article earlier this year said was already declining) will suffer. We would all have to assume that is something Lew does not want even if he could add another section of Williams Fund seats or sell more GA tickets, two options that would raise even more revenue. Students add a level of atmosphere to the event that no amount of money can match. Many agree with this, including Duke and Coach K which is why the students in Cameron indoor have some of the best seats in the house. Lew and the athletic department does not wish to alienate the student base, and yet the student senate has a responsibilty to represent the entirety of the student body, not just those that support athletics.

Clearly this is a difficult issue, and, while I no longer live in Lawrence, I don't want to see the students have to pay higher ticket prices. But I also understand those who oppose a financial responsibility toward something that has nothing at all to do with why they are at the University of Kansas. Yes, they can find out the fees before they enroll, but that doesn't mean they have an option to go somewhere else. Or even if another school would be different.

Personally, I would pay the fee (and did), but I am also an enormous fan of Jayhawk athletics.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

I was all set to have my daughter's birthday party at Allen Fieldhouse for the women's game versus Nebraska (THINK PINK)

Fifteen kids, plus parents and siblings - a couple hundred dollars!!

This would have been an unusual outing, a show of support for the program, and hopefully cultivate some new women's hoops fans ...

Everything was great until the weather got freaky and everyone canceled, but I braved the ice and snow and we trekked to Lawrence, and was it ever was pathetic, to see an empty party table with all the decorations ...

But my lil' girl never complained once!

Then following the Jayhawk victory, my daugther got an autograph from every member of the women's basketball team - and she charmed them all!!

The marketing department was kind enough to give me a deal on the price, because of the circumstances ...

I also plan on rallying many football fans to attend the baseball conference opener and tailgate beforehand ...

So there's my support of these programs!!!

actorman 12 years, 1 month ago

"The vote was 11-5 to drop it, but by-laws require a two-thirds majority. In other words, one more vote would have done it."

I can't believe no one else has mentioned this, but was Woodling a math major????? Since when is 11 out of 16 NOT two-thirds????????

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