Originally published September 16, 2010 at 08:01a.m., updated September 16, 2010 at 02:44p.m.

KU Chancellor Gray-Little says school may pursue civil litigation in ticket scandal


KU chancellor addresses ticket scandal

KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little addressed the Kansas regents Thursday regarding the ongoing investigation into the KU ticket scandal. She also highlighted the action she's taken to help resolve the situation.

— Acknowledging the public relations nightmare created by the ticket-scalping scandal at Kansas University, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on Thursday said the school is increasing control of the ticket system, transparency of seating allocations, and oversight of the athletic department.

In a briefing to the Kansas Board of Regents, Gray-Little also said that KU is reserving the right to pursue civil litigation against those involved in the ticket scam, and that she was close to finalizing appointments to a search committee to help hire a new athletics director.

Regents members heaped praise on her actions.

"You have taken an issue not of your making and provided positive and very substantial steps to address it," said Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer of Overland Park.

Six people — five former KU athletics department employees, and a consultant — were implicated in an internal KU investigation that documented the theft and sale of KU football and basketball tickets for personal gain, a scheme officials say involved at least 19,000 tickets and cost Kansas Athletics between $1 million and $3 million — and possibly more. Two men have already admitted to stealing tickets and are cooperating with prosecutors.

In regard to civil litigation, Regent Ed McKechnie said, "I certainly hope that you do pursue that and retrieve whatever money can be retrieved."

Gray-Little also informed the regents that KU had notified insurance carriers that the university may file claims on the ticket losses.

Gray-Little told the regents she was changing the athletics department, including the possibility of adding outside representation to an advisory committee to provide better oversight. She earlier had removed the athletics director as chairman of that board of directors and named Jerry Bailey, associate professor of education and a faculty representative, as the chairman.

Regent Tim Emert of Independence praised the selection of Bailey, and Sherrer encouraged her to add outside representatives to the committee.

KU also has hired a forensic auditor focusing on the athletics department. And KU has established a system that allows people purchasing football and basketball tickets to view the point system for seating to see how many points are needed to get seats in specific areas of Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium. Points are determined by donations and other factors.

In addition, the school has instituted more control over complimentary tickets and segregated duties in ticket-handling procedures, Gray-Little said.

On another topic, Gray-Little was asked about the search for a new athletic director after the sudden retirement Sept. 7 of Lew Perkins, who originally was scheduled to retire in 2011.

Gray-Little said she would have a search committee appointed within days. She joked that she has received a lot of recommendations on who should serve in that group, adding, "I have not heard from the Vatican yet and have not heard from the White House."


jaybate 10 years, 5 months ago

"In which Chancellor Bernie Solves the Problem of a Few Bad Apples by Imposing Mediocrity by Committee with Members She Will Have More Influence Upon"

Let's look at the pros and cons of creating oversight bureaucracy.

The pro is singular and clear.

Chancellor Bernie can probably leverage her influence within KUAD by creating a few overseers that she has considerable influence, directly, or indirectly, in selecting.

The con is not singular, but equally clear.

Increasing oversight with bureaucratic overlay, rather than by hiring top notch persons with the skill of detailed oversight, tends to be a step to increased stasis in any organization.

C'mon Chancellor Bernie, hire someone like yourself, someone that is bureaucracy saavy, a real player, and one who is a detail freak, and forget the bureaucratic overlay that will only ensure a rising tide of mediocrity. No great, dynamic AD is going to want the job if he has to please half a dozen masters with all sorts of political agendas unrelated to fielding the best teams in the best facilities making the most money and building the most political cohesion in the state possible. There is much evidence supporting the former notion that oversight committees quickly become dead wood and are used primarily by administrators to leverage influence and in the end contribute to organization stasis and decline. Listen to the evidence and respect it. And its only common sense that a dynamic AD would rather not come into such a situation. Listen to your common sense and respect it, too. Mother Grey didn't raise any fools, did she?

Baja KU, er, UNC, where you came from, never had this sort of bureaucratic overlay imposed, according to one person I spoke with. And even if it did have it, it was just a rubber stamp. Dean held much of the real political power down there. And cigarette fortunes probably held the rest. Why do you think Dean smoked? Even after Dean retired to pull the strings in the shadows of retirement, Mack Brown left because of it. Dean's assistant was imposed as head coach because of it. Matt Dougherty was run because of it. Roy was stolen from KU, because of it.

jaybate 10 years, 5 months ago

Get yourself a really talented, magnetic, and detail oriented AD. Lew was the first two and he did a great job. Had he been a detail guy with a little quicker trigger, none of this would have happened. KU needs to go to the next level now, not after a bureaucratized KUAD sliding into stasis forces a crisis move five years from now.

Though KUAD is a small portion of what is on your plate daily, this hire is going to be one of five or so defining moves in your KU tenure. All your future employers will look at this and understand what makes you tick. Are you a CYA/stasis type that universities hire to hold down costs, hold down risk, and perpetuate a status quo, or are you a dynamic leader capable of lifting universities to their next levels of "development."

Develop new money sources, not new bureaucratic overlays. If you develop the new monies, then the bureaucratic expansions take care of themselves. You will get all the new influence you want through the new monies you develop. No need to hamstring bureaucracies to leverage your influence.

Since decorum and politics prevents a professional like yourself talking publicly about such things with such bluntness, your loyal, respectful and faithful jaybate is doing it for you.

Rock Chalk, Chancellor Bernie!

Trailshooter 10 years, 5 months ago

It's great to read the news of how Chancellor Gray-Little is handling this situation... very positive for the university.

swunruh 10 years, 5 months ago

Gray-Little is doing a fine job. She does not have to comment to the media on everything and should not be criticized when she doesn't.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 5 months ago

I just hope she doesn't hear from the white house. If she does, you could see KU going down in flames, we know Obama hasn't done anything good yet.

yovoy 10 years, 5 months ago

I dozed there for a sec. Is it over yet?

LJD230 10 years, 5 months ago

It ain't for nutting' that UNC is a great world class university. Me thinks the former provost of that school can take a lot of the credit for UNC's academic stature. Damn shame that BG-Little has been diverted from her task of transforming KU from an average school to an excellent one.

This is a strong lady. Any who stand in her way should beware.

gardenjay 10 years, 5 months ago

It feels like KU, that is the University, is coming back to life. THank goodness.

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