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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The $6,400 question: Should KU Athletics be reimbursed?

Downtown groups asked to pay for post-basketball season changes

Kansas' Darrell Arthur greets thousands of fans during a parade for the National Champion Jayhawks on Sunday, April 13, 2008 in downtown Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas' Darrell Arthur greets thousands of fans during a parade for the National Champion Jayhawks on Sunday, April 13, 2008 in downtown Lawrence, Kan.

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KU Athletics officials ask city to help pay for victory celebrations

KU Athletics officials are asking downtown Lawrence and the Chamber of Commerce to fork it over. The University says they should pay the bill for canceling a postseason banquet planned at the Holiday Inn.

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2008 National Championship Parade

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Video coverage of the downtown parade held in honor of the National Champion 2007-2008 Kansas University Jayhawk men's basketball team.

The weeklong celebration that engulfed Lawrence after the Kansas University Jayhawks won the national basketball championship didn't come without a price.

The final tally: more than $130,000 for the city and KU, most of it spent on police.

And now, the athletics department is asking two economic development groups to pick up a $6,400 bill. That's the athletics department's cost for canceling a planned intimate banquet for players and select donors at the Holiday Inn Holidome. Instead, the department had a parade and public celebration at Allen Fieldhouse.

In an e-mail sent to two leaders of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Lawrence Inc., associate athletic director Jim Marchiony asked "if the Chamber and Downtown Lawrence would team up to pay this invoice."

Attached was the athletics department's $6,400 cancellation bill from the Holidome.

The chamber and Downtown Lawrence encouraged the athletics department to have a parade to celebrate KU's National Championship victory.

Jane Pennington, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc., said the issue would be taken up by its board this morning, at a previously scheduled meeting.

"We'll see what the board thinks then," Pennington said. "We were surprised. It's the first time we've ever had a request like this, that I know of."

Chuck Warner, CEO of the chamber of commerce, didn't return messages seeking comment.

Marchiony said the banquet at the Holidome, first tried last year, was to be an opportunity for the team and select donors to celebrate the season. In the end, it was determined a much larger celebration was appropriate.

Because of the positive exposure generated for Lawrence, Marchiony said Tuesday the department felt it was reasonable to ask the chamber and DLI to share the costs of changing plans.

"We thought it was a small investment the city and downtown Lawrence could make for bringing 100,000 people downtown," Marchiony said.

The $6,400 was a prorated portion of the original bill Kansas Athletics expected to pay to have the dinner at the Holidome. In previous years, the end-of-season banquets also have been set at the Kansas Union ballroom and the Lied Center.

A Journal-World/6News Open Records request showed in the run-up to the championship and the week after:

¢ About $77,000 was spent by KU on public safety, transportation, facilities and advertising. Among the largest expenditures were $36,531 by the Public Safety Office for games four, five and six, as well as the April 8 homecoming celebration at Memorial Stadium and the April 13 parade. The athletics department paid $32,000 for events at Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium.

¢ The city spent $29,052 for the police department and $14,281 for fire and medical services. Of the police department's total, more than $7,000 was for food and lodging for police officers from other jurisdictions who helped with crowd control. About $10,000 more was spent by the Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments.

Comments

BDub 11 years, 7 months ago

Reword that: Marchiony seems to be genetically coded to make the school look bad.

oldrocker 11 years, 7 months ago

DrJHawk...I like the way you think! I don't care how much money the football team makes from playing in Arrowhead....it is bad for KU fans. It was supposed to be a home game for us last year but it seemed to me that every Chiefs ticket holder must also be an MU fan. I hate to see what the crowd looks like this year when it is a home game for MU.Mr. Marchiony...pay the damn $6400.

BDub 11 years, 7 months ago

Marchiony is a tool. That really says it all.

areyouserious 11 years, 7 months ago

are you freaking kidding me???? this is a joke, donors give many millions a year to the athletic dept. and they cant come up with $6,400??? The respect factor for Lew just took a step back..............Lew, open your personal wallet and take out 64 Benjamins and pay the damn invoice....ridiculous!! (or use the Arrowhead payout!!)

davidsmom 11 years, 7 months ago

The parade benefitted Lawrence but it also cost the City over $53,000. I think it's outrageous that KU would ask for reimbursement. The City encouraged it because it's what the fans wanted. KU shouldn't tarnish its image by being cheap like this.

Ryan Gerstner 11 years, 7 months ago

I understand why KU asked, but it comes off looking cheap. When you have a $50 million plus athletic budget, $6400 is trivial especially when you consider the extra income that has come in this year since football also had an incredible year with extra TV exposure.

KU 11 years, 7 months ago

DrJHawk.......You're a prime example of the "zero sum" crowd, aren't you?The athletic department is looking at the big picture by playing the MU games in KC. They can earn more revenue doing it that way. The revenue is poured into making the football team (and other athletic programs) better.Better football teams mean better win-loss records; better win-loss records mean higher attendance at home games; higher attendance at home games means more people in Lawrence on Football Saturdays; more people in Larence on Football Saturdays means revenue for Lawrence businesses for ALL HOME GAMES EACH YEAR.Now, would you rather forego the revenue generated by one Saturday every other year to generate MORE revenue on 7 or 8 Saturdays EVERY YEAR?I, for one, would. Hands down.Also, local businesses impacted by the one game being played in KC every other year CAN generate revenue that is similar to the revenue they would get if the game were in Lawrence, IF they are far-sighted and ingenious marketers of their businesses (watch parties, etc) rather than "victims" of the athletic department's long-range plan.Economics is NOT a zero-sum game.

FlaHawk 11 years, 7 months ago

While I understand the angle and point. KU Athletics is being very cheap with this request.I like the way they run the department as a business, but sometimes they have little to no feelings for the community!

Jim Pendleton 11 years, 7 months ago

While I think the city, and the Holidome, should help a little with this, one unknown element to many should be brought forward. The "donors" that were to attend the banquet with the team paid $13 a person in advance. When the banquet was cancelled and moved to the field house, people that purchased the banquet tickets had the option to get a refund, or have their $13 applied for a reserve seat at the field house. Looked like a lot of $13 purchases in the lower bench seats that were roped off at the field house that night.Seems to me they could take the numerous $13 purchases from the cancelled banquet (oh, and they sold concessions at the field house as well that night, so more $$$ were shelled out by us) and apply that toward the Holidome bill, and if any is left, then they can ask the city for help, or the Holidome should eat the rest. I am guessing they sold 400-500 tickets for the banquet, which would come close to covering the cancellation.

Chicago_JHawk 11 years, 7 months ago

The city should pay the $6400, then ask that KU cover the $7000 for the out of town police help...

kcphantom 11 years, 7 months ago

Why doesn't the Holidome just eat the $6400?Surely they more than made up the money with room rentals from people coming into town to celebrate the championship.

sevenyearhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

rolls eyesThe Holidome should eat some of it, Lew can pick the rest up with his pocket change ...Lawrence merchants lost money with the Border War in KC ... why don't you shove it?!How much money did merchants make with the THREE EXTRA WEEKENDS of hoops, plus the parade ... I'm sure that balanced things out ...

John Gallup 11 years, 7 months ago

Lawrence should pay the cost i bet they would trade $6,400 for 100,000 people spending money plus final four and final game money this town made. Lawrence shold get over it and be happy that much money came back to this town!

kstrebor 11 years, 7 months ago

Someone send George Bush the bill, he will send the money as part of the Stimulus Package. My cousin flew in from North Carolina to come to the parade, he bought $6400.00 worth of dergoatory UNC shirts from Joe College. My sister gave $6400.00 for four years of used books. Sheesh this is silly. Pay the friggin' bill KU, it's going to cost more then that to build a bigger trophy case at the fieldhouse.

JBurtin 11 years, 7 months ago

It's only $6400 dollars.Either the city chooses to pay it or they don't.Either way, who cares?This isn't bad PR, it's not even news.

11 years, 7 months ago

I wonder if the Red Lion will be boycotting the 2008 KU vs. MU game at Arrowhead...Regarding the subject at hand, I agree with KU's post. The city should cover the banquet cancellation tab for changing the celebration venue. I think this article may provide some insight as to why Marchiony was reluctant at first to agree to a downtown celebration and parade.

Timmay97 11 years, 7 months ago

They are only asking for the $6,400 to be paid so they can just go ahead and give it to Xavier Henry........CRAP!!! Did I really type that? :-)

meremy 11 years, 7 months ago

I appreciate the opinion that the decision to cancel the banquet wasn't tied to the parade decision, but I differ on that one. The basketball staff and players have a finite amount of time to spend on the celebration events. You can't just agree to every request to hold a celebration event.IF the city and/or Chamber requested a downtown celebration and the staff at KU felt that in order to accommodate, they would have to cancel the banquet, it would have been reasonable to ask for reimbursement of cancellation fees at the time of the request. You don't grant the parade request then come back later and say, "By the way, you owe us 6400 bucks," That would be petty, but the article doesn't say it went down that way.Don't you guys who think KU is being cheap think that it would make a difference if KU had said to the parade request, "sure we'll consider a parade, but because of schedule restraints on our players and staff we'll have to cancel the banquet at the Holidome. Will you guys consider chipping in on the cancellation fees that will ensue from the banquet?"? To me, that's not being petty.

Gary McCullough 11 years, 7 months ago

Is the athletic department going to reimburse the city's merchants for revenues lost due to moving the MU game to Arrowhead Stadium?

jayhawk393 11 years, 7 months ago

I think KU needs to pay the amount. They sold food and merchandise at Allen Field House. I am sure the cleared a profit of $6,400 and then some. They would not have made any of that $$$ if there was a banquet instead of the parade. KU is making Millions off of the National Championship. This money is a drop in the bucket. KU should do the right thing.

Eric Dawson 11 years, 7 months ago

Even without including all the previously mentioned offsets KU got from the other events to help defray the cancellation cost, here's the bottom line up front, from a former CPA and CFO who annually dealt with multimillion dollar budgets that were NOWHERE as big as as the KUAC's -- $6,400 is BUDGET DUST.The "good will" alone from having the parade more than covers that cost.The KUAC admin comes off as cheap with this request.Even more so than the bad PR is the fact that the bill does not appear to be related to the parade! The decision to have the parade was, to the best of my knowledge, separate from the decision to cancel the banquet and move the banquet celebration to AFH. I found nothing in the LJW archives tying the parade decision to the banquet cancellation decision, and I do not remember hearing anything to that effect while the KUAC was pondering the parade decision. (If I missed an article that does, please provide a link, thanks!) The KUAC tied the two events together on the same day as part of the decision to have the parade.So, tying the cancellation costs directly related to the decision to move the banquet celebration to AFH -- which was going to happen whether there was a parade or not -- to the parade and asking the Chamber and Downtown Lawrence to cover it is ridiculous, and REALLY makes the KUAC look cheap! So, Marchiony and the KUAC are WRONG. Asking is NOT reasonable AT ALL. In fact it is STUPID economically (both short and long run) due to the bad press it is generating and its negative impact on university-community relations.And to restate my bottom line again, even if it WAS a legitmate parade cost for the KUAC (which again, it is NOT), it is BUDGET DUST for the KUAC!I gotta ask, who does the financial advising for the KUAC? Because this was a BAD financial and PR decision, especially given the miniscule amount of potential return.SUCK IT UP, MARCHIONY! You cheapskate...

tis4tim 11 years, 7 months ago

Just give Bill an 8-year $9,993,600 contract and this whole thing can be put to rest.

KU 11 years, 7 months ago

My family and I went to the parade and spent over $150 in downtown Lawrence that day. If a family of 5 spent that amount, on average, that's $30 per person spent. If there were 100,000 people, that's $3,000,000 spent downtown that day. The city of Lawrence has a 1% city sales tax, so if my numbers are in the ballpark they generated about $30,000 of tax revenue from that day alone.My point is that while, YES, the city spent money to make the event safe, the city didn't spend THAT much more than it took in for extra sales tax revenue that day.And besides that, the revenue stream for downtown businesses OVER TIME directly attributable to KU winning the National Championship (and the sales tax revenue on it) will MORE than pay for the extra cost of celebrating KU's victory. It's the people who see economics as a "zero sum game" that get upset over things like this.

DSommersby 11 years, 7 months ago

I agree with LTCUSARet. This is just bad, bad PR for the KU athletics department over budget dust and chump change. I stand up for Sweet Lew and his crew in most cases and understood their reasoning for moving the football game to Arrowhead for the overall benefit of KU athletics, etc. This latest move strikes me as very lame. The Lawrnece Merchants are operating on a pretty bare bones budget and it strikes me as counterproductive to hit them with this newest bill when KU Athletics has a $50 plus million dollar operating budget. The parade and the post season awards event at Allen was great PR for the program. Look at the $6400 as the cost of promoting this incredible program. I am sure the Lawrence Merchants did do well from the parade, but give them a break. Should they really foot the bill on the hotel cancellation? They only wanted to help with a parade. THey technically did not make you change the venue of the banquet. I looked at the parade as a nice way for KU to throw the Downtown Merchants a bone for all the bad mojo about moving the football game. They kind of wreck the good mojo attained by then sending the Merchants the bill. Let's all work together people! Go Hawks!

shabbasuraj 11 years, 7 months ago

Ku should just pay it. How is this even a story?

KUbsee69 11 years, 7 months ago

This story made a big splash on the 10:00 TV news in KC last night, and as usual, the presentation made KU look bad ... and really cheap. Just remember, all accumulated positives can be blown away with just a few negatives. There's an old saying that "100 attaboys" can be distroyed by just one "ah-sh*t".Marchiony usually seems to be the quoted culprit. Maybe he's just the mouthpiece for higher-ups. Maybe that's why he still has a job. Then again, maybe he has nude pictures of somebody higher up. I don't know, but I really get tired of the bad press for KU.

ravenjayhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

selling 20 more season football tickets, or 10 bball season tickets will catch it "march". The parade was for the players as much as the fans. I'm sure recruiting video shows the excitement of the parade. Some of the athletic dept. personel could forgo the expenses of getting perks to also attend bball and fball post season games if money is an issue

KUbsee69 11 years, 7 months ago

Some are calling the KU Athletics Department cheap ... NAH they're not cheap.That would be like calling the requirement for an infant to have a full-price adult ticket to attend a KU home football game cheap. And nobody would ever do that ... except for the Chiefs, KSU, MU, & ISU in their KC Star and TV news comments on that subject.Every once in a while, the KU staffers just seem to be genetically coded to make the school look bad. Seems they just can't help it.

smitty33 11 years, 7 months ago

For those saying this $ is chump change for KU, you're right!! HOWEVER, that doesn't mean they should pay for everything! KU should say Kiss My *ss to the Holidome. By god that place is ancient anyway. I REALLY sure they would have had another banquet then. How many rooms did they rent out for KU Basketball games this year??? If KU gets stuck with this bill.. fine, another venue it is next year. As for the police... YOUR TAX DOLLARS pay for them. How much MOOLAH in sales tax did Lawrence Rake in over the basketball season and celebrations? What does KU get in return? A public arrest for Brandon which should have never hit the media.

hs_reader 11 years, 7 months ago

I'm so glad that other people are sick of Marchiony, too. He just generates bad press, how does he still have a job? It's $6400, it's ridiculous that KU asking the merchants for it. The Athletic Department will be getting even more money for the budget after this year, so why stick the merchants, the little guys compared with KU, with a little drop in the bucket of the AD budget?And flip side, if the $6400 is spread out enough with the Chamber, it won't be that big a deal for everyone to pay a little, but it's the point that counts.

PhogOnTheWater 11 years, 7 months ago

I am amazed! What you all are missing is the fact that those of us who had planned to attend the banquet paid for this event, and we didn't receive our money back when it was cancelled. Instead we received "reserved" seating in Allen for the awards ceremony. It is incredulous that they now want someone else to pay for what they have already received money to cover. Talk about cheap! When does it stop?

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