KU student basketball fans get schooled by rich Jayhawk donors

06/16/2014 10:08 AM

06/16/2014 10:11 AM

University of Kansas student basketball fans got a pretty good lesson in power and greed recently.

And while critics of the deal that went down in Jayhawk land have good reasons not to be happy, isn’t it better that these students learned now rather than later that money is what really makes the world go around?

That’s the lesson KU athletic officials sent earlier this month by announcing they were taking about 120 prime seats in Allen Fieldhouse away from students and would sell them instead to rich donors.

KU made the decision to punish the students for daring to stand up to the athletic machine at the university and cutting the amount of student fees allocated for the program by around $350,000 a year

So what did the students who took this action think would happen when they pushed this affront to the athletic powers-that-be in Lawrence?

You can tell from quotes by Kansas associate athletic director Jim Marchiony that the department was in the mood to show the kids who’s boss at Allen Fieldhouse.

And it ain’t the students.

It’s the rich donors who will be only happy to swoop in to bid on the prime tickets that soon will be up for grabs. More than likely, donors have been pushing for years to sit closer to the KU bench and the players.

As a KU grad, I remember going to basketball games and covering them as sports editor for the University Daily Kansan. I know how much passion the students brought to the games in the mid-1970s. The program was good at the time, but not nearly in the same category as the recent Bill Self years.

People upset by the recent machinations point out, correctly, that the university stands to reap millions — perhaps tens of millions — of dollars in extra TV revenues for sporting events in the upcoming years. So the loss in student fees was a mere drop in the bucket to KU athletic officials.

But the slap to the face administered by the students stung the athletic department.

KU officials had to respond, and they chose a way that would make them more money while earning them a little negative publicity in the short run.

As for the students, does anyone really think that any good chunk of them will remain upset once the basketball season begins? Will they refuse to go to games to watch their beloved Jayhawks play in Allen Fieldhouse?

Nope, they will be there. Some of them, however, just won’t be sitting in the good seats they had up until this year.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

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