Kansas investigates ticket office, fund
AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The University of Kansas announced Wednesday that it plans an independent review of the athletics department’s ticket office and fundraising entity after a report raised questions about the sale of basketball tickets.
The Kansas City Star report quoted anonymous sources as saying federal investigators are looking into possible illegal sale of basketball tickets.
Athletics director Lew Perkins said the probe is in response to concerns that have been raised about the ticket office and Williams Educational Fund, and is meant to protect the university’s reputation.
“We have asked outside entities to conduct a thorough and exhaustive review,” university Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said. “I anticipate that this will include a comprehensive audit of both offices. I am confident that, if and when appropriate, Lew Perkins will take swift action on the basis of the outcome of those reviews.”
Unidentified sources told The Star that proceeds from potentially illegal sales could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The nature of the allegations is not clear. One anonymous source told The Star they are about the athletic department’s handling of NCAA tournament tickets, while another anonymous source said it also included season tickets. A third anonymous source told the newspaper only that federal investigators were involved.
Jim Cross, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office that oversees Kansas, would not confirm whether there was a federal probe.
Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence seats 16,300 and is jammed to capacity virtually every home game, with many of the fans being well-to-do alumni who donate thousands of dollars to the athletic department to earn the privilege of buying good seats.
Rodney Jones, who once headed the Kansas University ticket office, was put on administrative leave earlier this month from his post as director of fundraising for the athletic department.
It is not known whether Jones is a subject of the investigation. He has not spoken publicly since he was put on leave.
For the past four years, the 41-year-old Jones has headed the Williams Fund, which last year collected about $15 million to pay for scholarships for the university’s roughly 550 athletes.
Members of the Williams Club – the school’s biggest donors – get the first shot at basketball tickets, for the regular-season as well as the NCAA tournament. Seating is allocated on a points system, depending on how much the ticket-buyer has contributed to the athletic department.
Reggie Robinson, the president and CEO of the Kansas state board of regents, told The AP he did not have personal information of a federal investigation but had assumed there would be an internal probe following Jones’ being placed on leave.
A school spokesman declined to comment on anything specific.
“The only thing we can say is Rodney is on administrative leave and it’s a personnel issue,” said associate athletic director Jim Marchiony.
The Jayhawks, who were ousted from the NCAA tournament in the second round despite being the overall No. 1 seed, have won 59 straight home games.
Associated Press Writer Bill Draper contributed to this report.