Kansas Loses $1M In Tickets

The University of Kansas could be a case study for the importance of keeping a close eye on ticket inventories.

Six former employees have been accused of allegedly skimming off and selling at least $1 million worth of football and men’s basketball tickets to brokers over the last five years.

Five Kansas athletic department employees and a consultant are believed to have sold or used at least 17,609 men’s basketball tickets, 2,181 football tickets and a number of parking passes and other perks for personal purposes.

It’s believed potential investigators could uncover $3 million once a federal probe is complete.

Investigators were unable to determine what portion of the $1 million in tickets that have been uncovered were sold directly to ticket brokers. Distribution of the tickets was disguised by department employees as comps and inventory tickets, or other categories with limited accountability.

The apparent inside job may involve the former director of the Williams Education Fund – the athletic department’s fundraising arm, according to a 29-page report. Former director Rodney Jones helped determine who got premium seats at Kansas home games.

However, there is no evidence any money was stolen or diverted from the fund, which raises about $25 million per year from more than 5,000 boosters.

Ben Kirtland, the school’s associate athletic director of development, apparently pointed a finger at Jones, expressing a belief that Jones was selling tickets and could be making as much as $75,000 to $100,000 annually in additional income, according to the investigator’s report.

But the report also points a finger back at Kirtland, saying he helped to create “an atmosphere similar to a worker in a candy store” when it came to work with the tickets.

“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 jobs.”