KU students can join new Junior Williams Fund to begin earning priority points for athletic events

A crowd of more than 16,000 basketball fans watch the women’s Kansas University basketball team prepare to take on the South Florida bulls in the WNIT championship game Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse. The crowd was the largest ever to watch a KU women’s game in the fieldhouse.

A crowd of more than 16,000 basketball fans watch the women’s Kansas University basketball team prepare to take on the South Florida bulls in the WNIT championship game Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse. The crowd was the largest ever to watch a KU women’s game in the fieldhouse.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

KU students get chance to earn post-grad sports tickets

The Junior Williams Fund will give KU students the chance to donate money will in school and earn points toward sports tickets after they graduate. The quality of the seats depends on the amount the person donates to the fund.

Kansas University students can start earning priority points for better seating at KU athletic events once they graduate — and at a much cheaper rate.

It’s part of a new Kansas Athletics program this year called the Junior Williams Fund. For a $25 yearly fee, students can earn permanent points in the Williams Educational Fund that will be used to determine priority seating for football and basketball tickets based on donations.

“It educates these students as to what the Williams Fund is,” said Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director. “They will naturally, we think, become more familiar with the athletic department.”

And, he said, they would potentially donate later on to the fund.

The Williams Fund provides money for all aspects of the athletic department from student scholarships and facilities to salaries for coaches and personnel, Marchiony said.

The more money a donor gives, the more points they earn, moving them up on the priority list to purchase and select football and basketball tickets. Where exactly a donor would fall on the list varies from year to year based on how much others have given, Marchiony said.

Students who donate $25 will earn:

• Ten permanent Williams Fund points per year — an equivalent to a $1,000 donation.

• Another 20 permanent points if they join the Williams Fund as an active donor with a donation of at least $100 within a year of graduation.

• Priority seating for student seats for postseason basketball and football games.

• Five permanent Williams Fund points for each purchase of a season ticket combo package for men’s basketball and football games.

• Gifts after each year of participation. The first year’s gift is a Jayhawks flag, then a T-shirt after the second year and an invitation to a Kansas football tailgate in the third and fourth year.

Participation in the program is open to undergraduate, graduate, medical and law students, but is capped at four years.

Banks Floodman, a former KU linebacker who now works as a development associate for the Williams Fund, came up with the idea.

“Being a recent graduate of KU, the Williams Fund was not something I was aware of,” Floodman said.

About 600 students have already signed up, he said.

He said the program could give students an extra boost over other recent graduates when they transfer their points to the permanent Williams Fund.

It’s a program Brian Mills, a sophomore from Leavenworth, said he might consider joining. He has a sports package, and goes to most KU football and basketball games.

He said he has some interest in buying tickets later after he graduates. The $25 annual fee also appealed to him.

“After I get my student loans paid off, I’ll think about donating,” for better seats, he said.

Students had the opportunity to sign up for the fee as an optional campus fee during enrollment, Marchiony said, but can still sign up for the program online at kuathletics.com.

Luke Chowaniec, a sophomore from Chicago and a student ticket holder, said the program is a great idea, but probably wasn’t for him.

“It’s not on my mind right now,” the pre-med student said. “I’m going to be in school for a long time.”