LAWRENCE, KAN. – A collegiate powerhouse has been caught with its hand in the cookie jar!
The University of Kansas is envy of many other colleges and universities. Donor checks never seem to stop arriving and their athletic programs are always stocked full of talent and trophies. With its undeniable pedigree, the last thing one would think is that the Jayhawks were guilty of “foul play.”
A group a six employees, working side-by-side within the athletics department, allegedly hatched a lucrative ticket-scalping scheme. The details of the scam were defined Wednesday in a report that found the “inappropriate” sale of at least 41 million worth of basketball and football tickets to brokers over the past five years, leaving school officials embarrassed – to say the least.
“Being on the athletics side, the simplest way to try to describe this is that there was a curveball thrown and I missed it,” athletic director Lew Perkins said. “I missed that curveball. It got by. We had the wrong people hired for the wrong the jobs.”
The investigation said five Kansas athletics staffers and a consultant – all of them no longer employed by the school – sold or used at least 17,609 men’s basketball tickets, 2.181 football tickets and a number of parking passes and other passes for personal purposes. The report showed over $887,000 in basketball tickets and more than $122,000 worth of football tickets were involved. Those figures are not set in stone and the numbers could be even higher.
Because investigators did not have subpoena power, the amounts could climb as high as $3 million once the federal probe is complete, according to Jack Focht, attorney for Foulston Siefkin. He said it’s also possible the scam could have started much earlier since accurate records were only kept back to 2005.
“We sincerely regret the stress this has caused our loyal fans and any loss of confidence that may have resulted,” chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said. “I want to reassure all Jayhawks that the University of Kansas will be taking decisive actions to restore trust.”