LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The grandson of legendary University of Kansas basketball coach Forrest "Phog" Allen lost his prime seats
at Allen Fieldhouse, and he isn't sure how long he'll be able to
keep the new seats he was given seven rows higher up.
"I can't say for sure, but there's a possibility that we'll
either lose or have to give up our tickets -- tickets that have been
in our family since 1955," Allen said.
Allen's grandfather coached for 39 seasons at Kansas, where he
compiled 590 victories and a national championship in 1952. And
Phog Allen is the namesake for the fieldhouse.
Allen said his four tickets -- fourth row, across from the Kansas
bench -- were in jeopardy because university policies prohibit sons
and daughters from inheriting their parents' tickets.
Allen's father, longtime Lawrence city attorney Milton "Mitt"
Allen, died in 1988. When his mother, Isabel Allen, died last
spring, the family's tickets went up for grabs.
Allen said he's not bitter over being moved from his previous
seats, but he's a bit miffed about how the change came about.
"What happened was they sent me the order form like they had
before and I sent in the $2,400 for four tickets," said Allen, who
said he has missed no more than four or five games since 1970.
"Several weeks went by and I noticed the check hadn't cleared, so
I called and they said this was a change-of-ownership situation and
that a committee would determine who would get them.
"I was told someone would be getting back to me," he said.
"But another four weeks went by and I still hadn't heard anything,
so I called again. And that's when they told me my seats had
already been sold."
He said he wasn't given the opportunity to match or bid against
the new ticket holder's offer.
"That hurt, definitely," he said. "You know, I can understand
why they did it, and I know they need the money -- I am not naive
about this. But it was handled in such an almost-cavalier manner.
That's what bothers me."
He said he's not sure if he would be able to keep his tickets
next year if the Kansas Athletic Corp. follows through on plans to
adopt a point system for determining who is sold which tickets.
Though the switch is only in the discussion stage and has not
been approved, several season ticket holders, including Allen, have
been told to expect to pay $5,000 for every pair of season tickets
in the prime seating area and $10,000 for every four tickets.
Earlier this year, 121 season ticket holders who had fallen
behind in their payments to the Williams Fund were sent letters
telling them they had to put up $5,000 or $10,000 to keep their
seats. Five of those 121 are plaintiffs in a lawsuit accusing the
corporation of abusing its authority.
If he's pressed for $5,000, Allen, an attorney in private
practice, said he would try to come up with the money, but he
didn't know for how long.
Jim Marchiony, associate director of athletics at the
university, said he looked into the handling of Allen's season
tickets and came away with the impression that Allen "was taken
care of very, very well."
Allen insists he wasn't mad.
"It was handled in a way that, for me, was hurtful," he said.
"And he is right, I was taken care of, and I'm not alienated from
the university. I'm not mad, and if they go to the $5,000 deal --
I'll still be a fan, a huge fan. But it will be difficult to be as
unequivocal about the Jayhawks as I am now."