Originally published November 16, 2012 at 12:04a.m., updated November 16, 2012 at 12:24p.m.

Charlie Weis: I’m paying

KU coach will foot bill for any student who wants to attend Saturday's home finale

Kansas coach Charlie Weis speaks during the Big 12 college football media days on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, in Dallas.

Kansas coach Charlie Weis speaks during the Big 12 college football media days on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, in Dallas.


Kansas University announced Thursday night that Weis would pay for any KU students without tickets who are interested in attending Saturday’s 6 p.m. Senior Night game.

Anyone interested in taking Weis up on the offer will be asked to present a valid student ID and enter through the student entrance between 4-6 p.m. Seats will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

KU seniors recall ups, downs

KU seniors Toben Opurum and Bradley McDougald have played both sides of the ball and been through all kinds of ups and downs during their four years with KU’s football program.

As the two prepared to play the final home games of their careers at 6 p.m. Saturday against Iowa State at Memorial Stadium, they took time out to reflect on their paths that began as part of a team that featured Todd Reesing at quarterback and jumped to a 5-0 start and a top-20 national ranking in 2009 and went on to suffer 35 losses in their next 41 games heading into this weekend’s home finale.

“I would kind of give it like a V shape,” McDougald said when asked to describe his KU experience. “When I came here, we were on a good path, and then we dipped down and kind of fell off for a couple years, guys getting into trouble, guys not playing, guys not doing things as a true Jayhawk should. And now we get coach (Charlie) Weis in, and it’s going back up.”

If there’s one thing these guys regret, it’s that they won’t be around to watch what they believe will be KU’s climb back to relevance. Although they said they were proud of the progress the team had made this season, both admitted this group still had work to do to get where they want to go.

“I would say, getting there,” Opurum said. “We haven’t got the amount of wins that we would’ve liked to this year, but you watch the games and see the improvement, and you realize what guys are capable of. ... It’s tough to be proud of the season because of the way it played out and the record that we have, but I’m proud of the way the guys have handled it.”

Academic All-Big 12 honorees

A league-best 19 Jayhawks earned first- or second-team academic All-Big 12 honors on Thursday, with senior center Trevor Marrongelli earning first-team honors for the fourth straight season.

Marrongelli becomes just the fourth KU football player all-time to achieve the feat four straight years. He and Oskaloosa senior Brandon Hawks were two of the three Big 12 football players to earn the nod with 4.0 grade-point averages.

Joining Hawks and Marrongelli on the first team were: Dylan Admire, Ryan Burton, Gavin Howard, Tyler Patmon, Justin Puthoff, James Sims and Shane Smith. Second-team honorees were: Michael Cummings, Blake Jablonski, Pat Lewandowski, Jake Love, Toben Opurum, Daymond Patterson, Corrigan Powell, JaCorey Shepherd, Nick Sizemore and Andrew Turzilli.


Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

So cool to see CW putting his wallet where his mouth/heart is.

PSM 5 years, 7 months ago

if anybody things Charlie Weis is literally going to pay for students to get in-their crazy. It is an awesome deal, but it just the University giving away tickets basically.

p 5 years, 7 months ago

stfu, everyone already knows this. it's a great story and will hopefully result in a packed stadium. we can beat iowa state.

Michael Pannacciulli 5 years, 7 months ago

Who cares who is these guys if you can get out.

Jayhawker111 5 years, 7 months ago

Charlie is paying --very cool!

Good way to get students totally involved.

Brad Farha 5 years, 7 months ago

In Weis I trust. Lived in KC for 8.5 years, and this is my 8th year with season tickets. Can't wait to go tomorrow.

Steve Reigle 5 years, 7 months ago

I don't know how anyone else feels but I'm sure proud of our football team. It would be very easy for them to have given up after the first several losses but they didn't. They just worked even harder. The positive progress is very evident and and encouraging. Our guys should be proud of what they've accomplished. I am not only proud of this team but am excited for each upcoming game and the future of this team. Thanks, guys, for all your hard work. The results are showing quite nicely.

Ray Winger 5 years, 7 months ago

Ditto. Kudos to our team. I believe that one's character is developed through the fires of adversity, and our team will have grown as a team and individuals. I believe they will be champions in life, when we look back on their situations in 20 years. I will bet on 2012 Jayhawk Football Seniors vs. pick-em, in the game of life.

JakeBarnes 5 years, 7 months ago

Isn't it sad the way Opurum's four years at KU were wasted. He is an excellent football player. Had he stayed in Texas he would be all conference. He should be anyway, but wont.

Nic Andrews 5 years, 7 months ago

If you know Toben, you know he wouldn't say these 4 years were wasted. True, the program underperformed the 4 years (in particular with 2 yrs under Gill), but all conference Accolades or not, on both sides of the ball Toben was one of the best that stepped on the field each week these 4 years, plus the leadership off the field. No doubt, we'll see him on Sundays in that elite group of athletes- that small percentage that gets to play in the NFL, at which time the recognition or lack of recognition in college has little meaning.

shelleysue 5 years, 7 months ago

I have two tickets that I received when I completed the facilities survey. Section 24, row 15. My friends are not able to go so I will gladly give them to anyone wanting to go. Student or otherwise. We can meet before the game. Just let me know if you have someone who would be interested. ROCK CHALK!!

NikeCortez 5 years, 7 months ago

Why wont students pay their own money to get in? The program wont turn around until this happens. Weis is just enabling the destructive behavior of fans that dont turn out.

Phil Leister 5 years, 7 months ago

You're so right. The fate of this program hinges upon students being willing to purchase their own football tickets. So wise, you are.

Jeff Coffman 5 years, 7 months ago

Very little of the revenue comes from student tickets. Most revenue comes from TV rights and big donors.

However, the college atmosphere is all about students in the Weis is doing exactly what he should be doing.

There is so much that Weis has already done for this program.

Michael Pannacciulli 5 years, 7 months ago

Purchased tickets will come with wins we all know that. However don't blame a coach for not doing whatever he can to ensure people come out. Lesser coaches would stand idly by...

Bville Hawk 5 years, 7 months ago

"Lesser coaches would stand idly by..."

and did.

Savion Havon 5 years, 7 months ago

See you all out there on the highway now RCJH

troutsee 5 years, 7 months ago

Let's turn out for these seniors. I am using all of my 3 tickets.

MoralVictory 5 years, 7 months ago

Nicely played Mr. Weis....nicely played.

David A. Smith 5 years, 7 months ago

Weis, you are a class act- and you and the team are well on your way! Well done. I'm proud that you are coaching this tough team! This year has been a fantastic display of coaching, conditioning, and student-athlete development.

bennettcl 5 years, 7 months ago

I doubt Weis will actually be paying for the student's tickets. Basically KU is saying if you have a KU student ID your welcome to come in. It's supposed to be a nice day tomorrow so hopefully everyone comes and we can pack the stadium. I'm pumped it's a 6pm game. The tailgating atmosphere should be great.

Jeff Coffman 5 years, 7 months ago

I wouldn't doubt that he is paying for the tickets. Student tickets are typically fairly cheap for KU football. It might be a withholding or some other way to manage the tax implications, but to ACTUALLY say that Weis isn't paying seems like you know more than the newspaper does.

Jack Jones 5 years, 7 months ago

And you are wired in to what "KU is saying..." exactly how?

texashawk10 5 years, 7 months ago

I don't imagine that there's too many students on campus who don't have a sports pass that would be interested in going to the game. Probably 95% of the students there who don't have a sports pass are the people who have no interest in sports and are at KU solely for academics. It is cool that Charlie is willing to foot the bill for those few students who legitimately can't afford the sports pass and have an interest in going to the game on Saturday.

KGphoto 5 years, 7 months ago

What's your guess for how many take advantage? Certainly there have to be thousands that would see this as a nice thing for Coach to do, and go to the game as a way to say thanks. I think that's kinda the point to begin with for Charlie. IMHO.

Stan Unruh 5 years, 7 months ago

This is a great move by Charlie... the best one since he hired Dave Campo at DC!

JayhawkRock78 5 years, 7 months ago

Nicely Done Charlie,

KU Students. Reward class with class and show up!!!

Tony Bandle 5 years, 7 months ago

Charlie...throw in two free beers each and you'll have a crowd encircling the field on the track ten deep and you'll break all KU single game attendance records!!

Very nice gesture, not only for the students but especially for your seniors.....I'm still with you, pal.

kureader 5 years, 7 months ago

New coaches are notorius for favoring their own recruits or underclassmen and looking past the seniors who aren't at the top of the depth chart. Coach Weis continues to demonstrate that he cares about all his players and that he's committed to doing the best job he can. In this case, it's not just about a few free tickets, it's about staying in touch with the students and encouraging them to support his players and the football program. The more I watch this coach, the more I like him.

Rivethead 5 years, 7 months ago

Class move by Coach Weis. It's very unfortunate that it has to come to this (the head coach offering to buy tickets to get the students to show up).

A smarter move may have been to tell the students that they're not allowed to enter Allen Fieldhouse without a ticket stub from the ISU game (and have the ticket stub somehow stamped or holed-punched at the END of the game).

Oh well. I suppose winning will cure this on it's own.

kureader 5 years, 7 months ago

sugar, not vinegar. I like Weis's way.

Ludwig Supraphonic 5 years, 7 months ago

How much better does it get. Academic All-Big 12 Student/Athletes and a coach who recognizes the importance of students who support their peers.

hawkdds 5 years, 7 months ago

Charlie is committed to KU and his players now lets support him by showing up at the game and giving him time to recruit and develop a winner. RCJH

Ron Prichard 5 years, 7 months ago

"A league-best 19 Jayhawks earned first- or second-team academic All-Big 12 honors..." This is awesome! Our football team is acadamic Big XII champion!!

All kidding aside, I think this is a great thing. It shows not only committment to the athletic side of things but also the academic requirements. I have watched every game this year both in person and on TV, and even with only one win, I am extremely proud of this team and just how much they have improved in all areas. I am thrilled to have Coach Weis as our coach. These kids are better football players than they were a year ago, they are better students than they were a year ago, and undoubtedly, they are better young men than they were a year ago. Great job to all involved!

Now...let's kick some Cyclone butt tomorrow.

KGphoto 5 years, 7 months ago

Great gesture by Charlie. More and more I realize what a perfect fit we have at KU.

This almost feels bigger than football to me. Charlie really loves this school, and he really loves seeing students getting together to support something.

All readers go find the non-football-fan students. Rake through the labs and libraries and coffee shops. Get those guys to come out for a school party tomorrow night. Tell 'em it's free. Tell 'em they don't need to know anything about football. It's just a gathering of fellow students, and it's a chance to yell and scream for the crimson and blue and support the whole school.

Tell them to try it. They might like it.

MoralVictory 5 years, 7 months ago

The story has already been picked up by Yahoo....great PR as we enter a heavy recruiting phase.

Kirk 5 years, 7 months ago

At halftime we should announce that Charlie will pay students to STAY at the game, too.

wildjayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

Can see progress with this team and coaching. Sure is a lot better than where KU was with loser Gill. This team looks like a Mangino team to me and will only get better as time goes.

hawksquawk 5 years, 7 months ago

Wait, do we actually think this isnt PR, and that the school is actually going to present Coach Weis with an invoice after the game?

Either way, I guess it is effective.

Jack Jones 5 years, 7 months ago

Wait - Seriously, is that really your first, and obviously most important thought on this story? WOW!!!!!!!!

KGphoto 5 years, 7 months ago

Over-under on how many students take advantage?

Benjamin Piehler 5 years, 7 months ago

Vegas could probably predict this more accurately than a KU football spread

Benjamin Piehler 5 years, 7 months ago

I take it a valid student ID does not include us graduates who still have ours laying around?

Brian Powell 5 years, 7 months ago

seems like yesterday Toben was just getting here, and I was excited about him running on offense :

Whatever he plays, I hope he can continue to play the game past this season!

LAJayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

Call me crazy, but I honestly believe we can win out. Saturday is a very winnable game, and WVU is more than vulnerable. Leave it all on the field boys, and these close ones will finally turn our way.

Rock Chalk.

Ken Tomberlin 5 years, 7 months ago

You may be crazy, but I like the way you think.

squawkhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

Pretty sad when the head coach has to pay for students' tickets to get their a$$es in the stands. With the lack of student support why would the players care?

HAWKS1 5 years, 7 months ago

Why would anyone care? BECAUSE WE ARE JAYHAWKS!!!!

Micky Baker 5 years, 7 months ago

With as much money as Weis is getting paid, 5000 tickets x $30, if it's even that much for students, he can certainly afford to pay for the tickets if he so chooses. He is committed to rebuilding this team and to academics. I like his attitude.

JhawkalumJB 5 years, 7 months ago

Student tickets are $10 to football games for those students that don't purchase the 'all sports combo'. (all sports combo gets you football and b-ball tickets, its $150 a year for students)

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