Originally published August 19, 2010 at 10:11a.m., updated August 19, 2010 at 05:47p.m.

KU restructures athletics board; chancellor considering non-university members

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little made the announcement. She said a faculty member would hold the position.


— State higher education officials on Thursday agreed with a decision by Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to remove Athletic Director Lew Perkins as chairman of the Kansas Athletics Corp. Board of Directors.

“I thought it made sense regardless of who the athletic director is,” said Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer. “Consolidation of power often leads to troublesome issues. This is putting some balance in there,” Sherrer said.

Kansas Board of Regents Vice Chairman Ed McKechnie said the chancellor reports to the regents, and she needs independent information.

“The chancellor is in charge of university athletics. The buck stops with her,” he said.

Gray-Little quietly made the change on the six-member board earlier this month. She informed the regents about it during the regents retreat on Wednesday in Overland Park. The athletic corporation is a non-state organization that operates and manages KU’s sports programs

Gray-Little said she had been in discussions about the structure of several boards.

“I realized that with athletics in particular, the board which is supposed to bring some perspective and point of view that wouldn’t come from staff, was chaired by the athletic director. It seemed the board could be more effective if the chair wasn’t the athletic director,” she said. She said that Perkins agreed with the move.

Athletic departments at both KU and Kansas State University have been under fire.

A ticket scandal rocked KU Athletics earlier this year, and last year an audit raised questions about financial dealings at the KSU athletic department.

Gray-Little said the controversies surrounding the KU athletics operation were “relevant to perceptions,” but she added she would have wanted to make the change regardless of that situation.

Perkins is retiring as athletics director at the end of the academic year. Although he no longer is chairman of the board, he will continue to serve as a member this year. Jerry Bailey, the faculty athletics representative, will serve as chairman at least for this year. Bailey is an associate professor in KU’s School of Education.

The board also includes the provost, student body president, a vice provost and the university’s chief business and financial planning officer.

Gray-Little said she is studying the bylaws of the board and may make some further changes. She said in the long term it may be best to have the provost lead the board.

Regents Chair Sherrer asked Gray-Little and Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz to consider adding members to the athletics boards who are not affiliated with the universities.

Schulz said he didn’t think that was a good idea because outsiders may have trouble keeping certain matters confidential, such as contract negotiations. But Gray-Little said she was considering Sherrer’s proposal.


swunruh 9 years, 6 months ago

That should have been obvious from the beginning! Good move Chancellor!

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 6 months ago

the relationship between the chancellor and the athletics department has always befuddled me. But I guess that Lew was President and CEO, and now is just the CEO. But BGL is not the president. So I guess that makes her more like the Owner. Because she has authority over the President and CEO.

Dyrk Dugan 9 years, 6 months ago

the good news is, finally, the fox is not guarding the hen house any longer.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 6 months ago

Perkins under questionable action including "allegations of being blackmailed". I want to point out that in the case of being blackmailed, he would be the victim. Blackmail is a crime, being blackmailed is not.

Be careful the way you write things.

Oh and expense reports are always scrutinized by people that don't get to spend the money. Also, I read that article, and there wasn't anything that as an auditor I was surprised about. Now if he expensed things and wasn't on the plane or didn't actually use the car services that would be fraud. Spending money that was allocated to him to spend is not an issue. Again be careful the way you write stories. It leads to interpretation and the way you have been writing stories recently lends it to a mis-interpretation.

Fredmandu 9 years, 6 months ago

This is a good sign that B G-L is not as clueless about collegiate athletics as she's demonstrated thus far.

In the wake of the travel scandal that recently emerged, what B G-L needs to do next is show Lew the door. Immediately.

kwahyajjj 9 years, 6 months ago

I keep hearing that Lew Perkins won us a national championship in basketball and an orange bowl win in football.

Can someone tell me what position he played, I can't find him in the program anywhere?

gardenjay 9 years, 6 months ago

Thank you Chancellor Gray-Little.

The University needs to dictate the amount of staff and structure at KUAD. It should always have been a solid University Institution, instead of what it looks like in the field. That's where much of your base is, in the field.

Certainly more of the money students and alumni spend on KU sports appropriately should be plowed back into the University. That money originated from KU careers in the academic sector. Not the pro sports sector.

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