SBD/Issue 242/College Football Preview

Kansas Proposes Building $34M Tower At Football Stadium

The Univ. of Kansas (KU) has proposed building a 3,000-seat, $34M tower on the east side of Memorial Stadium that "could pour $40[M] more into campus academics," according to Mara Rose Williams of the K.C. STAR. The $40M total would mark the "largest contribution to the student body, the faculty and research programs that the university's Athletic Department has ever made." KU Associate AD for External Relations Jim Marchiony: "We believe the revenue from sale of seats at a minimum will pay for the construction and our commitment to the university." Marchiony added that the tower "would house a university Gridiron Club and 'complement the existing west-side scholarship suites.'" Williams notes the KU Board of Regents "will consider the construction and the related revenue proposal at its" September 16 and 17 meeting in Topeka (K.C. STAR, 9/3). KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said that it has "not yet been determined how the university would receive the money and over how much time it would be distributed." KU AD Lew Perkins said that the tower "could be ready by the beginning of the next football season." Perkins added that exact details of the structure were "still being worked out," but its seats "could run from end zone to end zone and feature both indoor and outdoor seating" (LAWRENCE JOURNAL-WORLD, 9/3).

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES: Texas Tech Univ. (TTU) AD Gerald Myers said that the school feels a "constant struggle to compete with the fat cats of the Big 12 Conference -- Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas A&M -- which have much larger football stadiums, and in turn, much deeper pockets." But in Texas, Adam Zuvanich noted TTU has "narrowed the gap somewhat in recent years, which has helped them become more of a player between the lines." TTU Deputy AD & CFO Bobby Gleason said that the athletic department's most recent operating budget of $48M was "about the middle of the road compared to the rest of the Big 12, and it's grown substantially during the last decade." Gleason added that TTU had an athletic budget of "about $12[M] in 1996, the conference's first year, and last year they generated about $10.5[M] in revenue from football alone." Gleason and Myers said that inclusion in the Big 12 has "provided the biggest boost -- Tech receives about $8[M] annually from the conference's bowl payouts and national television contracts for football and basketball -- and they said increased ticket sales have also helped." Zuvanich noted TTU's football attendance has climbed "from an average of 42,215 fans per game in 2000 to an all-time high of 53,625 last year" (LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL, 9/2).

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