Thursday, June 5, 2014

KU to shuffle seating at Allen Fieldhouse

More donor seating will be added closer to floor in northwest corner of building

Kansas guard Ben McLemore slaps hands with KU fans following his 36-point effort, the most by a freshman since Danny Manning, following the Jayhawks' 91-65 win over West Virginia on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore slaps hands with KU fans following his 36-point effort, the most by a freshman since Danny Manning, following the Jayhawks' 91-65 win over West Virginia on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.


The seating chart at Allen Fieldhouse will receive a small makeover during the offseason, as more donor seating will be added closer to the floor in the northwest corner of the building.

In recent years, Section U — located just beyond the baseline, at floor level, near the tunnel where the Jayhawks take the floor — has been reserved as a part of the Kansas University student section for men’s basketball games. Beginning with the 2014-15 season, that section will be made available to Williams Education Fund donors instead.

Jim Marchiony, KU's associate athletics director for public affairs, said Thursday that the reconfiguration would not trim the number of seats available to students.

“This is not going to reduce the number of students that can attend games,” Marchiony said. “We have the best student fans in the country, and we will make sure that every one of them that wants to attend will get in.”

What it will do is allow KU to make more money off those choice seats, a move the athletic department deemed necessary in response to the KU student government campaigning to lower the student athletic fee from $25 per student per semester to $6.

That fee, which now will be the lowest athletic fee of any university in Kansas, was charged to every student enrolled at KU, and Marchiony said the new rate would cost the athletic department nearly $350,000 annually.

“During this process, the student government made it clear to us that they wanted us to find other sources of revenue other than the student athletic fee, and that is what we’ve done,” Marchiony said. “We don't expect this change to make up the entire difference, but we think it’ll be a good start toward trying make up the loss of revenue.”

In related news, Marchiony said the season-ticket combo package available to students, which provides each student who elects to purchase it with one ticket to every men's basketball and football home game, also would undergo a small change.

For those students who order the combo package prior to the beginning of the school year, the price will remain $150. Those who wait to purchase the package until after school starts will be charged $175.

KU students are allowed into every other home athletic event free of charge.


Steve Jacob 3 years, 10 months ago

File this under "unintended consequences" KU students.

Joe Joseph 3 years, 10 months ago

How much are these students paying in tuition? A gazillion dollars? And they complain about a $25 athletic fee? OOPS!

Billy Gibbons 3 years, 10 months ago

Crap. Marchiony is moving in the wrong direction just to spite the student government. I think most college basketball fans agree that Cameron Indoor is the only rival to the Field House, and isn't their entire court ringed by the student section? Replacing students who stand for the entire game with the wine and cheese crowd sucks. I used to camp out for those seats. My favorite game in "U" was sitting front row for the final Big 8 game when the hawks kept Big Country from scoring and Roy yelled at us for taunting him! I'm sure it meant a lot more to me than it would to some rich jerk that sits there every damn game. Maybe one of our NBA hawks will swoop in to buy up those seats and give them back to the students!

Kyle Rohde 3 years, 10 months ago

Yep. My group won the lottery and I was lucky enough to sit in those seats for the Texas Big Monday game in 2003 when Collison went for 23/21 and Vitale gave him a standing ovation.

What a childish decision by KU.

Pantaleon Florez 3 years, 10 months ago

You nailed it when you said they are headed in the wrong direction just to spite Student Senate. I made direct recommendations to appeal to the Williams Fund donors to make up for helping students (who have little to no purchasing power) save a few dollars. I was practically laughed at for this suggestion and was told that they cannot tell donors how to spend their money. I told them that I understood loud and clear that they cannot tell donors how to spend their money. What they could have done and still can do is help donors understand where they need to make up for losses in revenue. The student dollars went to help fund travel expenses. Help donors understand that donations that go towards travel are needed, let the students (the ones who breathe life into The Phog) keep their seats, and be a leader in ending the financial "arms race" that is happening in NCAA athletics.

Gavin Fritton 3 years, 10 months ago

Alright, KU. I suppose you know what you're doing. But god help the administration if performance ever falls off and you start to need those students to show up. Like everyone else I hope it never happens, but it's not difficult to imagine a scenario where a bad season or two (finally) happens to our beloved Jayhawks and those students Jim Marchiony is treating with such disdain and obvious contempt might not be all that interested in coming back, especially when the best they can hope to get are nosebleeds because the rewards associated with camping out have just been reduced dramatically.

Rodney Crain 3 years, 10 months ago

So funny, be careful what you wish for... Where did the students think that money was going? 350k is not something you just sweep under the rug, it has to be accounted for. As for the students coming back, I think if that ever happens they will still come out in droves. Very funny.

John Randall 3 years, 10 months ago

Grads coming back is a direct function of continuing 30-win seasons … not an etched-in-limestone guarantee, but still a pretty good bet.

Bert White 3 years, 10 months ago

So if the GA and student section are the same thing and they say;

“This is not going to reduce the number of students that can attend games,” Marchiony said. “We have the best student fans in the country, and we will make sure that every one of them that wants to attend will get in.”

That kind of sucks for a lot of fans... I've been a Williams Fund donor for awhile now so I'll likely still be able to get tickets to most of the games I want, but I'm sure the reduction in GA tickets will make it so some fans won't be able to attend any games. And I almost always try to get GA tickets because I enjoy the standing during the game and being showered with newspaper... That's part of the Allen Fieldhouse experience for me, I remember one game getting offered something like 10th row seats center court for free from a family friend and turning it down because I already had GA tickets and would prefer to stand and yell over staying seated eating a tub of popcorn. But if they allow the same amount of students in a smaller section, nose bleeds after waiting 3 hours in line out in the cold weather because the students get in earlier makes the wait almost not worth going to the section I've grown to love over the years (mid-way usually and nose bleeds on BIG games was good with me, nose bleeds usually and very last row for BIG games after 3 hours of waiting outside, sucks big time... I may still do it, but I'm not too fond of the thought).

Than on top of all of that, if this last season is a sign of things to come most of these new seats won't even go straight to true fans directly from the school. The amount of tickets being sold in the reserved seating for 5-10x or more the face value was down right sad... Previous years were kind of bad, but ticket prices to even the exhibition games were up in the 3x face value on the sites I checked this last season when previous years those same seats were 2x at most for 90% of the secondhand tickets. 1.5-2.5x face value, ehhh fairish, over that and you start to piss me off for blantly trying to rip me off, ripping off people who actually care about the team and school, and ripping the school off because all of that extra money people spent surely isn't going to them in the form of merchandise bought and repeat visits from fans who thought the ticket prices were manageable enough to make another trip to AFH anytime soon. I guess a few more good seats for the scalpers to get a hold of may provide a drop in overall price by flooding the secondhand market with additional seats... But than again with fewer GA tickets available there will be more people looking for tickets and having to pay what the "going price" is.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

JayhawkProbz tweeted that 120 student tickets will be taken away.

There has always been universal support to maximize the student attendance and to keep them close to the court. I don't know any of the details associated with this dust up but $25 per student seems to be very slight per student but the aggregate effect of $350,000 is significant to the bball program. I could better understand the refusal to not pay this fee if the funds went to programs generally not supported by the school but not BB.

I hope they continue to talk as it seems the $25 per student is easily justified and we all want the students sitting in section U.

Bert White 3 years, 10 months ago

If the number of student tickets were reduced it isn't as bad since it won't affect GA and others, which would make the school lose EVEN more money. It's still a shame since students make AFH great. Anyone whom has gone to AFH for a game when most students are away for say Christmas break makes for a poorer environment than say when conference play starts and the students cram in.

But I agree $25 is pretty justifiable, and saving $20 that's not going to make or break anyone... So you don't goto a club one night or you opt to eat in instead of out one night. Whining over being charged $25 was pretty stupid.

Chris Nieto 3 years, 10 months ago

Bonnie did get a raise, so some money went to her. As for getting in all the students in that want to attend, there were definitely a couple of games where my friends were turned away this season.

Jack Wilson 3 years, 10 months ago

This is a terrific lesson for college students. Decisions aren't made in a vacuum. There are consequences.

Personally, treating 120 donors to prime seats to help ensure their continued contributions is the better use of the seating.

Yea, I know, everyone hates folks with money and derogatorily refer to them as the "wine and cheese" crowd. But the reality is, most donors worked very hard for their money (most as KU grads) and are the exact model KU grads should aspire to. Their money keep the athletic programs going.

So 120 student seats are displaced, moved to less prime locations.

Well, you shouldn't have voted to eliminate the fee. Life lesson learned.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

t's a sad day for KU when the student body will not support their athletic teams.

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 10 months ago

I was trying to view the replies and accidently clicked "flag for removal"


Eric TheCapn 3 years, 10 months ago

I would say most students aren't like us die-hard fans. The VAST majority of students don't go to basketball games and would probably prefer to save the $19. The administration is punishing the Jayhawks' biggest fans because other people, who didn't go to games, didn't want to pay to not go to them. Those who go were surely happy to pay the extra $19, but got out-voted.

Way to go, KU Athletics, way to hurt the atmosphere and punish students, our most fervent fans and those who deserve the best seats. It's greedy and shameful. Don't you make enough money off of students already--particularly those who sell your seats and jerseys?

It's just like the rest of corporate America, saying they have to make up lost revenue by cutting employee bonuses while CEOs make incomprehensible salaries, and it's bogus.

Student seating at basketball games is the only way KU should copy Duke (as opposed to the horrifically unoriginal "You let the whole team down" chants we heard last season). Instead, we move in the other, greedy direction. Duke wins this one.

Glen Miller 3 years, 10 months ago

As much as this sucks for the students..... in today's "big money" NCAA machine, this is necessary. Schools are about to have to start paying the players, oh yeah people it's coming. Schools have to upgrade their facilities to entice and excite recruits and they have to have money to do that. The cost of recruiting, travel, food, and anything associated with athletics continues to rise and at some point the school has to do what it has to do to adjust in other areas besides just keep raising tuition and making the average student pay for it. It's a necessary evil people. Although I don't like it, I understand why it's necessary.

Raymond Wright 3 years, 10 months ago

those student athletes are going to have major issues when they forget to pay taxes on that new pay

Tony Bandle 3 years, 10 months ago

AMAZING..and to think when I was in school ['66-'71], you could walk into Allen on game day and get a front row seat...and KU was really good those years!!

My bunch of guys always chose the front two rows of the South End. The court was raised at that time so we got a double bonus..seeing the basketball action up close and getting to look at the Cheerleader/Pom Pom girls underwear all game!! :). I miss those innocent years!!

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

We graduated in 76 and recall similar comments by the elderly from our era. Ted O'Leary, a '32 graduate, talked about Kansas as we do now. For 4 years we used to sit directly behind Ted Owens. At some point, it seemed like everyone reserved those seats for us since there were time we'd show up a few minutes before tipoff with our seats still open. Our two year old daughter used to play with her dolls on the raised court. We never tried sitting in those seats post graduation figuring those were student seats and we had "earned" chairs. We were so close to some of the players.

We dearly love Ted but it was LB that truly launched the program to the stars. It is truly amazing how Williams and Self were able to keep the program soaring while "doing it the right way."

Adam Howell 3 years, 10 months ago

This still has to be approved by the Student Senate. Athletics can try and do whatever they want but if the Senate doesn't approve it then it won't happen. I don't know how taking Section U away from the student does not take away the amount of students. We will see if this really happens in the coming month.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

Would you really try kill the program instead of supporting the program with a $25 contribution...for all KU Athletics? Do you prefer that Kansas not run an elite BBall program?

Aaron North 3 years, 10 months ago

You are wrong. The Student Senate has absolutely no say whatsoever on the availability and location of student seating for KU sporting events.

They were informed that cutting the fee would result in the loss of prime seats in AFH, and they decided to cut it anyway.

Matt Stucker 3 years, 10 months ago

Although I can understand that there is more economics than comfortable with major college programs today, I still believe that students should be ENCOURAGED to attend events on campus. Major sporting events in college are getting close (maybe even crossing the line) to pro, but we still need to have that emotional aspect to the events, that comes from those most invested in the event, the students being able to attend financially. Sometimes trying to get the extra dollar might actually be a loss in the long run. There are people being paid a lot of money to make these decisions, I would have to believe that these points have been discussed, it just seems sad if that's the case and the students get the shaft.

Jeff Carver 3 years, 10 months ago

This is a shortsighted mistake. I just doubled down on the Williams Fund and bought mid level season tickets for 2014-15. While Jayhawk fans like me come from far and wide to watch the team, they also come for the game day experience. Note to the Athletic Department, the "STUDENT SECTION IS THE GAME DAY ENVIRONMENT!!!!" The slow erosion of student seating dates back to my days on campus in the mid 90s. Season ticket holders write an awfully big check for tickets and Williams fund donations expecting a "can't find it anywhere else experience." Last time I checked there aren't to many of us jumping up and down painted in crimson and blue for 40 minutes. Too many moves like this and the goose that lays the golden egg will choke. Here's one season ticket holder voting to give the students back their seats. If I want to spend $100+ on great basketball without the mayhem, I'll buy NBA tix. Rise Up Jayhawk Nation and Protect The AFH Experience and the Legacy of the Phog!

Eric TheCapn 3 years, 10 months ago

Students should have the first dozen rows around the whole court. As long as I've been a fan, I've said that's the best way to make Allen Fieldhouse better. This is terrible. I'm extremely disappointed. Cameron wins.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

I can't believe that the Kansas Student Senate has voted not to support the Kansas Athletics, including the Basketball and Football teams. It seems to me this is an issue that should be voted upon in some kind of a campus wide referendum.

Sure everyone wants the students in section U but financing is a major factor. On the surface the student senate seem to be reflective of much of the country….they want the benefits but demand someone else pays for it.

Billy Gibbons 3 years, 10 months ago

More like, Marchiony is reflective of much of our country's politicians and a-holes in power who take from the masses and give to the highest bidder. I guess the 7% increase in the athletic dept. budget wasn't enough for him.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

What about my post implies no self-discipline? The bill needs to be paid and $25 is a meager amount. My personal opinion is that nobody should be required to pay for unwanted services. The only other immediate option would be to raise the ticket prices.

Becky Smith 3 years, 10 months ago

Besides raising the price on tickets this will also raise the price on all the snavksand memorabilia that will be sold. This funding also takes away from other sports such as Golf, Baseball and Track. Let alone the Athletic Training program who are there to not only are being educated for their future career but also to prevent and care for the athletes injuries. Money doesn't grow on trees and has ti be recovered somehow. That is unless Brett wants to hold bake sales to help recoup the dollars lost.

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 10 months ago

It's disappointing to me from the viewpoint of students mainly because those are the best seats that the student section had to offer as far as proximity to the bench and view of the floor. My favorite seats were above the tunnel as the team would run onto and off of Naismith court. My Sr year I caught a towel as Russell Robinson was exiting the floor after the exhibition game against Pitt State.

From the viewpoint of KU Athletics I agree with the decision to turn these into revenue producing seats in order to offset the dropoff in receivable monies from student fees. However I think that they should ensure that at least some "lower value" behind the north basket be turned back to student/GA seating to maintain the number of student/GA seats available. Also, I suggest that they should increase the cost of the Student Basketball Ticket Package by $38. The students who are buying the ticket package would have paid the $38 in student fees anyway. It still would be a net loss for KU Athletics, but it would be a much fairer compromise in my opinion.

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure where Marchioney got his $350,000 figure from.

If there are 27,000 students enrolled at KU both semesters and the student fee changes from $25/semester to $6/semester then the difference would be 30000 students by $19 per semester by 2 semesters which is over a million dollars total per year.

Michael Leiker 3 years, 10 months ago

Would be great to see a follow up article with more information on how these seats are going to be allocated. I read somewhere that priority would be given to new donors at a certain level or higher. Seemed a little odd to me that after all of this talk about how the points system makes it fair for everyone, you get your seats based upon what you give, that now if you happened to never donate a dime but wanted to start this year you would be bumped ahead of folks with more points who have been donating for years.

Eric TheCapn 3 years, 10 months ago

Well, Marchiony replied to my e-mail, which was nice. :) I didn't like anything he had to say though. :( (0.4-ish % of annual revenue)

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