Thursday, March 7, 2013

KU’s Williams Fund opens door for more season-ticket holders to keep seats


Kansas University's fund-raising arm, The Williams Education Fund, has loosened its restrictions on donors who request to sit in the same seats at Memorial Stadium from year to year.

“A lot of our football ticket holders like to know where they're sitting, like to sit with the same people every year, that kind of thing,” said Jim Marchiony, KU's associate athletic director for public affairs. “And what we're doing this year opens that opportunity up.”

The option that's known by the university as the Same-As-Last-Year (SALY) seating plan is now available to lower-level donors on an every-other-year basis, according to Doug Banks, one of KU's associate ADs for development.

Under the previous format, only those donors who gave money at the Hall of Fame level — $50,000 and above, annually — were allowed to request the same seating location as the previous season. The rest of the season-ticket population was required to go through the select-a-seat process each year. The select-a-seat process prioritizes ticket holders and determines the seating chart each year using a point system based on their donations to the Williams Fund.

The new guidelines offer the SALY program to any donor at the Rock Chalk level, defined as someone who gives $1,000 or more a year, for football tickets, and any donor at the All-American level — $10,000 or more a year — for basketball tickets.

“We're trying to give back a little bit,” Banks said. “We've asked people to dig into their pocketbooks every year and play that point game, and this idea was designed as a sort of thank you to give them a year of reprieve from select-a-seat.”

Both of the lower limits are for this year only, which, according to the WEF calendar, runs from Feb. 1 through next March 13. Next year, the minimum donation amount for SALY will return to its previous level of $50,000, but in 2015 it will dip back down to the $1,000 (football) and $10,000 (basketball) levels enjoyed this year. The current every-other-year structure will continue through 2017.

“Our thoughts are, 'Let's lay this out through 2017 so people can at least feel comfortable that it's not going to change at least until then so they can make some plans,'” Banks said.

The SALY seating plan is not a requirement for donors who meet the criteria, merely one option. Anyone interested in continuing to participate in the select-a-seat process annually may do so and will be slotted based on their WEF point total.

Select-a-seat for the 2013 football season begins May 13. Anyone donating between $100-$999 will automatically participate.

“Nothing is being taken away,” Marchiony emphasized. “We're offering the SALY option to many, many donors who've never had that option.”


troutsee 5 years, 2 months ago

This is a great idea. I have already purchased my 6 tickets and same seats.

someguy 5 years, 2 months ago

It would be nice if donations to the academic mission of the university counted towards the seating points.

Jason Sinclair 5 years, 2 months ago

It's funny how four losing seasons in a row results in an opportunity for the A.D. "to give back a little" to long-term - and long-suffering - season ticket holders.

actorman 5 years, 2 months ago

That's a good point, Hawksj, but I'll bet the fact that Lew and his cronies aren't there any more also has something to do with it.

purplesage 5 years, 2 months ago

Goody for the rich boys. This whole system stinks. The ticket prices are so high that "average" folks cannot afford to attend the games. Then, they sell out to ESPN and take games off the broadcast TV (like the Royals). Then youhave to have money to make a "contribution" just to be able to buy a season ticket for hundreds - maybe thousands - more. It is lousy, unfair and the whole place is captive to the money.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 2 months ago

So what are your recommendations? Is it important to you for Kansas to be competiive in athletics? If so, how should Kansas raise funds to be competitive? If Kansas was not competitive finding cheap seats would be no problem.

kellerman411 5 years, 2 months ago

My recommendations are 1 of 2 things. Either lower the ticket prices or start paying the players. They're profiting off of these kids and it isn't right. Look at how much money a guy like Sherron brought us... now look at him...

KGphoto 5 years, 2 months ago

This program is as elite as elite gets. You wanna be elite, you need elite things, and they cost money. Coaches, facilities, renovations etc...

Average Joe’s don’t pay for those things. Rich boys do.

ahpersecoachingexperience 5 years, 2 months ago

Shouldn't the Williams Fund be donating to us to attend football games?!?!

jhox 5 years, 2 months ago

Don't you think back to back horrible records has everything to do with this? They are not giving back as much as they are acting out of desperation to get people to renew.

kay_you 5 years, 2 months ago

Based on the law of supply and demand, whatever they're charging for admission is too much. There are way too many empty seats.

moehobart 5 years, 2 months ago

They should incorporate a fifty question multiple choice timed quiz where the university rewards donors who also have some sort of knowledge of our athletic history. Some people I sit by have no idea what is going on and all they do is complain. It is unfortunate.

Scott Smetana 5 years, 2 months ago

This is why I miss games in Boulder. 15 rows from the floor for $40. Probably a bit higher next year.

KGphoto 5 years, 2 months ago

But we DO get to go this year! And for that I’m grateful.

Don’t know if I’d ever pay $40 for a ticket in the Coors Events Center. Honestly it used to be that I’d get there early, buy a $7 GA ticket and walk down behind the KU bench without any problem. Over the years it’s become tougher. Two years ago we were surprised to arrive and not be able to get a ticket. Luckily we were able to $persuade$ the guy at the turnstile, and got in. Even then, without a ticket in hand, we walked right down near the 20th row of the CU fans and found a space for two near mid-court.

Can you imagine trying that at AFH?

TxJyHwk 5 years, 2 months ago

Actually, I 'm pretty sure no taxpayer money goes to the athletic department.

kellerman411 5 years, 2 months ago

We have people in this world donating 50,000 dollars to an athletic program? Where does that money go? The players don't get paid so who gets it? Are you telling me that the already high ticket prices and the millions in network revenue and profit sharing won't support this team?

For the lower level games, you can usually buy a ticket for what, 80 dollars? Students get theirs cheaper so say that the average ticket price for the average game is 50 dollars.

50 X 16,400 = 820,000 dollars! For one game! Not to mention how much more it is for rivalry games and all the money they get from hoodies, ball caps, millions from the big networks and apparently they also get DONATIONS?!

Maybe I'm being too sensitive but surely a well off KU alumni could make a more modest donation to the university and still feel good about themselves. There are people who have much bigger problems than winning the next conference championships.

bb837988 5 years, 2 months ago

Williams Fund donors support all athletics. Football and basketball aren't the only sporting teams on campus. Swimming, tennis, golf, volleyball, baseball, softball and soccer are supported by funds raised by the Williams Fund and ticket prices. The ticket prices for football and basketball plus any royalties help pay for their costs - travel to out of town games, tuition and books, uniforms, equipment, maintenance and upkeep on their playing fields as well as Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse. And also to pay salaries for all the coaches as well as athletic department employees. The athletic department is an affiliated corporation. They are not part of the university system.

HawkTronic 5 years, 2 months ago

KU Athletics has one of the highest percentages of budget spent on "Administration" in the country. "Admin" that does not include coaches salaries or capital improvements. And we have fewer sports. Top heavy.

jaybate 5 years, 2 months ago

Imagine buying a new Benz every year for 50k and it only started once a year.

jaybate 5 years, 2 months ago

Sports and society were better off, when the rich went on cruises and ordinary folks took their children to KU games, instead of the rich going to KU games, and ordinary folks taking their kids on cruises.

jaybate 5 years, 2 months ago

KU pays Self and Weis about $7M/yr and their staffs probably another $2M/yr. It takes a lot of $50k seating gifts to reach that yearly nut. Backing off the bid price means they weren't going to meet it. If I were an owner of a private central bank, I might use sequester to spike The Great Stagflation, then create something named something kind black oppish like Black Obsidian Sports, Inc., dump in a bunch of untraceable bail out bones, then buy up the top 50-100 athletic departments and take over the public universities through the back door that second tier oligarchs have opened for walking through.

But I'm not, so I won't.

Yeeee hawwwwww!

There's no end to the private oligarchy game of privatizing republics. The Romans showed us all how its done. Create two capitals. Wars of conquest. Privatize what's worth taking. Sell off half of the republic. Leave Rome to the suckers. Move to Constantinople, I.e., Istanbul. Clip coupons.

Ad Astra per privatus oligarchicus! :-)

RockChalk26 5 years, 2 months ago

I would sound the alarm if we started seeing tickets in AFH go for $20 bucks. High ticket prices = WINNING!

Tony Bandle 5 years, 2 months ago

Gee...and I thought the $2000 for my two Personal License St.Louis Rams seats back in 1995 was a rip off!!! With two Super Bowls and the best nachos in town, I think I made a pretty good investment after all...and after 17 seasons, I still have the same seats...for no extra charge!!

Phoghorn 5 years, 2 months ago

Attending sporting events is just getting too expensive for me these days. I think I will go buy me a custom made yacht and go sail around the world instead.

Debbie Mangen 5 years, 2 months ago

But then you'd miss watching your Jayhawks!

neudog 5 years, 2 months ago

A lot of what's said above is valid and worthy of talk around the bar or dinner table. But everyone who reads this and equates coaches salaries with the Williams Fund is purely in error. Williams Education Fund goes entirely to support the student athletes of Kansas University and allowing them to attend college. This isn't just basketball and football either. Think baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, golf, diving, rowing, and a lot of others. It's what allows the 90+% of student athletes at KU who won't go on to play professionally an opportunity to better themselves and get a degree. To better our society. But again, NONE of the money goes towards coaches. Is it a perfect system? Absolutely not. Is it too much about big money? Yes, but that's the "new normal" of blue chip sports programs now. So get used to it and embrace it or just complain for the next 5 or 6 decades. Don't like it? Then support a less prestigious program. If you're interested in the truth...what WEF is and what it's not...I'd encourage you to check out And as for me, I'll continue to support my Hawks, give more kids an opportunity to grow personally and professionally and be grateful that we have the opportunity to be part of it. Rock Chalk!

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