Monday, February 7, 2011


Allen Fieldhouse helps Turner Gill recruit for KU football, too


“There’s no better place to coach, there’s no better place to go to school, there’s no better place to play.”

Those words about Allen Fieldhouse, uttered by former Kansas University basketball coach Larry Brown, have given goosebumps to thousands of Jayhawk fans.

Aside from providing one of the biggest home-court advantages in the country, KU’s gym plays another role that, at times, flies under the radar.

“One of the things that is a great (recruiting tool) for us is being able to take (recruits) to a basketball game,” said KU football coach Turner Gill last week on signing day, when he revealed the 34th-ranked class in the country. “People that have (seen) really good basketball programs go into this arena and say there’s nothing like it.”

Some prospects come to Lawrence thinking only of football and luck out that the Jayhawks are in town. Others, such as newly signed quarterback Michael Cummings, arrange their official visits around big games.

Cummings, a 6-foot-1, dual-threat prospect from Killeen, Texas, committed last June, but put off taking his visit until KU played Kansas State on Jan. 29. The Jayhawks drubbed the Wildcats that day. ESPN’s “College Gameday” was in town, and the atmosphere, from sun-up to sun-down, was classic Allen Fieldhouse.

KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self knows how important his program is to KU’s other athletic teams. He likes that. Gill likes it, too.

“That’s one thing that gives us a major plus, going to a basketball game,” Gill said. “A lot of people who see that say they’re going to make sure that passion carries over to the football program.”

This is not a one-way street. While Gill reaps the benefits of being able to parade recruit after recruit into one of college basketball’s elite arenas, Self desires the same for his program.

“Football plays a huge role with us,” Self said. “Kids want to go where there’s atmosphere. Sometimes kids visit places and get emotional and commit right there just because the football team won that night or they stormed the field. So, certainly, having a full Memorial Stadium is just as important for us as it is for their kids coming in.”

Self continued: “I hope that we play a role when recruits come to town.”

This you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours philosophy is rare. Too often, coaches want too badly for their sport to be top dog. Not at Kansas. Basketball is king here. It always has been and always will be. Although it may seem like a no-brainer for coaches — especially those with high profiles — to want to help other athletic programs at their universities, it doesn’t always work that way. Ego, greed and a number of other factors can get in the way. The fact that the basketball coach at Kansas realizes football’s place in the big picture benefits everybody.

That might not have brought Gill to Lawrence. But it might play a big role in making him want to stay forever.

“All the people involved, from basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball, and (their) staffs keep us engaged with our student-athletes coming in here and us doing the same for them. It helps all of us,” Gill said. “We have a tremendous amount of coaches and staff here who want to help us.”


Scott MacWilliams 3 years, 2 months ago

Enough whine! Hey, get yer cheese already! The 4th row is still a great seat. Are you afraid you won't get your mug on ESPN?

When and why did you give up all the student seats, anyway?? When I was at KU in the early 90's, there were about 7400 student seats, as I recall.

How the heck did it dwindle to 4000?? And you don't even keep those filled?? Did you all just give it up?? Thats just ridiculous...


Carolyn Troupe 3 years, 2 months ago

I can understand if you thought you were going to be in the first row that you might be surprised if it was your first game, but being bumped all the way back to the fourth row ? Come on ! I would think your view would be better.
It's harder for us 'geezers' to understand all this. I don't remember having any problem or worry getting into a game in the Ted Owens era (and we had some good teams waaay back then, too), and we had a real fieldhouse then as well.


drewdun 3 years, 2 months ago

The comments from the students in this thread are why KU will never have sustained football success, regardless of how badly many of us want it. These pansies crying about being in Row 4 instead of Row 1 and just how unfair it all is for football recruiting to ruin their basketball experience have probably never stepped foot in Memorial Stadium, and if they have, they probably arrived during the 2nd Quarter and left at halftime of a 14-10 game, not to return. Many of our students are frontrunning tools who wouldn't miss a basketball game and probably couldn't name one player on our football team.


bayareajhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

I hate to say it, but the current bunch of KU students is an embarrassment. My job has recently taken me to several University campuses, including KU and K-State. I interact with students all day long for several days at a time. The K-State students are always polite and pleasant to deal with. The KU students are almost always stuck-up jerks. It's amazing how doing mye job at K-State is usually a fun, pleasant experience but doing it at KU is a chore. I've loved KU all my life but you current students make it difficult. Quit complaining and enjoy your cheap tickets to the greatest show on Earth.


Rick Arnoldy 3 years, 2 months ago

Wow. What a whine-fest by a bunch of self-centered "me generation" spoiled brats. You had to sit in the 4th row rather than the 1st? "I'm going to tweet my helicopter mommy!" Your investment was that you skipped class to get in line. The recruits' investment are tens of hours a week busting their asses to be the best they can be while still going to class so you can watch from the 4th row. I'm betting they donate back to KU more than you after your trust fund runs out.


Funhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Did you know, when the lights have been turned out, the last inhabitant of AFH reports unexplainable sounds. Doors shutting and footsteps in the hallways -- but nobody there. One sound is a mean voice, saying in a mocking tone, Sit down. The other creepy, late night sound is that of a rocking chair. The rocking chair always sounds like it is coming from the center of the dark court. Its the Ghost of Norm Stewart.


KGphoto 3 years, 2 months ago

"Too often, coaches want too badly for their sport to be top dog."

Not sure I can think of one of those programs. Unless you're talking about Miami (OH), or some other mid-major, but nobody that's really competitive at a top level on either side.

Texas, Ohio State, USC, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Miami... there is simply no discussion. Even Florida will always be football, and Billy Donovan knows this.

Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Kentucky, and all Big East teams. Basketball. No discussion.

The only one I can think of that might be close is Mich St. but I still think that there isn't too much confusion as long as Izzo is still in charge. (this year not withstanding) They are a basketball school.


lee3022 3 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for a great article about the inner workings of the athletic department coaches and recruits. I do remember articles about basketball recruits attending football games and being impressed. It cuts both ways.

There are trade-offs in any project or operation. Students will face that in the real world after graduation. To get you have to compromise and give. To achieve you have to accommodate others' success. Football is king at most schools including every other Big XII school. That is partially because KU has dominated basketball in the conference. But football brings the most revenue, even at KU. Football revenue from the conference broadcasts pays for the athletic department and all of the other sports except basketball. Together success enhances the University.

The student general admission program needs to be game-day purchases to prevent or limit the sale of student tickets on the Internet. I also hope that students at the game support these recruits and embrace them as future fellow students.


kcglowboy 3 years, 2 months ago

Cry me a river, current students. And yes, you're SOFT! First of all, your predecessors gave away several thousand seats. It burns me every time I'm lucky enough to get into the fieldhouse and I see only 4,000 student seats. I was a student (and still getting in on a student ticket) during the Larry Brown and early Roy era when there were closer to 7,000 seats. For the biggest games we actually camped out. OUT, as in OUTSIDE, for up to 48 hours. There weren't any groups. If we wanted prime seats, we camped -- CAMPED -- sometimes in single-digit temperatures. And if we left for more than a few minutes, we lost our place. Period.

Thing is, it was the only sport worth watching because football sucked year in and year out. Now, we know that football can be worth enjoying. So how about you quit your whining about losing a small handful of seats two or three times a year and instead support the football team the way you support the basketball team?



notigers4me 3 years, 2 months ago

I truly understand the students being upset over some of their seats being used for football recruits. I also understand that basketball is king at Kansas University. It's important to know that its football that is paying the majority of the athletic department’s bills. It is simply a matter of economics. Football will make at least three times the money as basketball in any given year. So while Kansas basketball may be king its football that is the cash cow of Kansas Athletics. Always has been, always will be. The students don't pay jack squat for the right to attend a basketball game they are simply taking seats from people who don't really pay for them and giving them to someone who may help pay the bills in the future. Makes sense to me.


Tony Bandle 3 years, 2 months ago

Simple solution..if the AD is going to cheat, put that money to good use, pay off the Fire Marshall so we can add an extra 2000 seats to Allen and make everybody happy.

Congratulations to all you posters, today. You have made this the most ridiculous string of posts on this site in a long time.


justanotherfan 3 years, 2 months ago

I hope recruits don't see some of the comments on here from students. That makes KU look really bad... "yeah, we want a good football team, but all these recruits are just in the way at basketball games."

Thanks for making Coach Gill and the football staff have to work harder to convince football players that KU isn't just a basketball school.


daverinoku 3 years, 2 months ago

How about coming up with a system that doesn't require kids to camp out for days!?


KirkwoodHawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Good to see the various teams within the athletic department working together and understanding their roles in making KU a great place to go to school and to be a scholar athlete.

As for the comment from the current student, I used to spend the night for seats as far back as1979. We had more seats back then. You need to get mad at the apathetic student body of the early to mid 90s that were warned if they didn't start showing up for the games, the student body seats would be taken away. Those students failed to heed the warning and now students suffer as a result. You wouldn't be worrying about seats for recruits if the student sections had all of those lost seats.


Josh Galler 3 years, 2 months ago

I was a student at KU 1996 to 2000, and the seats that football was on I beleive on the back row on the band side lower level.


jhawkrulz 3 years, 2 months ago

I can't believe the comments on here. I was so happy when I heard that football and basketball recruits were coming to the basketball games and that we were landing great futures in both sports. And than I come on to this site and hear a bunch of babies crying about how they had to sit 2 rows back because there were future athletics players sitting in front of them. Oh my gosh this is embarrassing. I would have hoped you would reach out to these future players and welcome them and teach them the ropes to being great KU fans, but no instead you get upset that they are sitting in front of you. What a joke.

Hopefully, next time you will welcome those next recruits, maybe than we will have continued success. Now couldn't you imagine not only enjoying the KU games at the Phog, but also throwing in 6-7 football games as well. You probably wouldn't want any basketball recruits there either.

As for me, I don't mind the seats being given to the continued success of our athletic program...please keep up the good work.


ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 2 months ago

I was never one for going to hoops games when I was there. Guess I had better things to do with my time than sit in a hallway for a couple of hours a day just to watch a hoops game. I respect those that did/do because they are the ones that make afh truly special and it is kind of shady that football recruits are taking their spots for big games.

Oh, wouldn't you love to know what those players are thinking the first time they run onto the field (across the track first, of course) and see memorial stadium is completely opposite of afh.


hawkfan20 3 years, 2 months ago

Actually, the real issue is the students don't fill up the student section unless it's Mizzou, K-State, or Texas. Most games, the students don't even come close to filling their section and that's the biggest reason the number of student seats has plummeted. Back in the early 00s, the UDK did an article and outside of about 4 games, only 2000 students were attending the other games. It was a joke. If you want to pick and choose the games you come to, don't get your panties in a bunch when athletics sets a few seats aside for some recruits because there's a lot more people dependent on their talents than the 10 students that got displaced for a game.


Keith Richards 3 years, 2 months ago

Actually, to my recollection it was Lew Perkins who STOLE the seats without the KU student body knowing. Once it was discovered that the students were being shorted seats that were then being sold to outsiders, Andy Knopp (then current KU student body president) worked out a deal with Perkins for KU Athletics to contribute money each year to the Rec Center for upgrades, additions, etc.

So now the students are at least being paid for the 500-1000 tickets that are being stolen from them.


Michael Maris 3 years, 2 months ago

It's to bad that Ol Roy boy couldn't figure out ''you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours philosophy''. But, oh well. Look at UNC, their Football Program was supposed to be a Top Tier Program by now (as well). Poor Butch Davis is paying for having Ol Roy Boy on the same campus too.

As for the student sections, there could be about 4,000 additioinal paying fans that would love to go to the game (as well), but they can't due to the fact that the students are alloted 4,000 tickets to attend KU games TO GIVE the Ol Barn some young energetic atmosphere.

I've Never been to a KU Basketball Game. I would love to go, but I live in St. Louis now. Perhaps, when my 3.5 year old gets older and will more appreciate a visit to Allen Field House, I'll take him and we can both enjoy the sights and sounds of AFH Experience. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy my view from ESPN Family Networks and CBS for my Jayhawk Experiences.


KU_Alumn_2000 3 years, 2 months ago

KU Students - your generation is getting a bad reputation of being soft. Just enjoy your limited time of being a Jayhawk. Like Dagger said...someday you will be paying big bucks to see KU basketball...or like me...lives too far away from Lawrence...that going to one game is an amazing treat that only happens about once in 10 years.

Stop bitching about it...and realize that there are bigger things in life that are more important than you and your individual feelings toward the student section seats.

Do your service toward the friendly...and help our student recruits feel welcomed at the university.


Dirk Medema 3 years, 2 months ago

You apparently missed the fact that those recruits turn into players that make the game worth attending and being excited about.

Be thankful for the time you have to watch such a fabulous team in the best environment around. In a year or so you could be in the group of alumni (aka former students) that get to pay $K for the chance to have lesser seats, or maybe even live far enough away that just getting to see a game is a treat.

An alternative is to at least bring cheese and crackers to go with your whine.


theboehr89 3 years, 2 months ago

I love this website but for some reason rarely write comments. Being a student and a KU graduate in May, I feel I have to say something about this topic.

To get the best possible seats for KU basketball games, the members of my camping group and I have to be at Allen Fieldhouse at 6 a.m. (weekdays) or 8 a.m. (weekends) the morning following the most recent home game to participate in what is called "the lottery." This is what determines the order that each camping group will be in line for the next KU home game. It is a blessed miracle to be the first or second group, knowing that you're going to get front row seats behind one of the baskets. After camping from before sunrise to 4 or 5 hours after sunset for 5 to 10 days, game day finally arrives. Two hours prior to tipoff, the doors open, and you and your camping group members get to finally reap the rewards of your incredible lottery draw and time spent camping. You have your student ID scanned, you run through the turnstile and to the south side of Allen Fieldhouse, to the basket by the pep band. The front row is entirely empty, ripe for the picking. You run up to it, only to notice white tape across not only the first row, but also the second and third rows. They are marked "reserved." While you and your friends try not to kill someone and get used to your fourth row seats, the Fieldhouse eventually begins to fill, and the rows in front of you fill with football recruits.

The fact that football recruits are treated to a KU game doesn't bother me. Taking away some hard-earned kick ass front row, second row, and third row seats from STUDENTS at KU is an outrage. Not only are the students who camp negatively affected by this, but so are the 50 or so KU students who were not able to get into the game because the student section was entirely filled. The student section is limited to 4,000 seats, and once those seats are gone, no more students may enter. So the 50 kick ass seats that these recruits are taking up are literally keeping out students that should have been able to go to the game. If you remove THE STUDENTS from this university, not only would our basketball team not have any players on its roster (leaving us with about the same amount of talent as Savannah State's basketball team), but THE UNIVERSITY ITSELF WOULD NOT EVEN EXIST!

The seats for these recruits should be taken from the 12,000 or so seats that are OUTSIDE of the student section. At the Kansas State game this season, for the first time in my four years at KU, I noticed that the seats reserved for these recruits had been moved from the front three rows to one of the "side sections" of the lower student section, the one that is opposite of and the same size as where the pep band is located. This is an improvement, but this situation still isn't right. Not at all. Students are not happy about it and this needs to stop.

Give student seats back to the students. I find it strange I even have to ask.

Thank you.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.