A.D.'s Corner

Feb. 22, 2007

Dear Fellow Jayhawk,

Progress! We are pleased to share with you the latest renderings of the Anderson Family Football Complex. Click here to view the latest renderings. As you know, the football complex will be built adjacent to Memorial Stadium – in the southwest corner of the stadium. Plans for the building include offices, academic areas, a weight room, locker rooms, an audio-visual room, meeting rooms, a cardio room, a hydro-therapy room, a nutrition area and a display area. Kansas Athletics has named HNTB Architecture of Kansas City, Mo., as the architect of record.

Funding for this $31-million project was provided largely through the generosity of two University of Kansas alumni families – the Kivistos (former basketball team captain Tom Kivisto and his wife Julie), and the Andersons (Dana, Sue, Justin and Jean) – as well as several other families, including Charles and Sharon Lynch Kimbell (Hutchinson, Kansas), Frank Sabatini and family (Topeka, Kansas), and Ken Wagnon (Wichita, Kansas).

The entire KU athletics family is indebted to these families, and to all those who have donated to this project, for their generosity. This facility will help Kansas Athletics in a number of ways. It will certainly help KU football compete on a more even plane with other Big XII programs but also, by consolidating all football activities into one area, the facility will free up space needed for other sports.

While we’re on the subject of football, I want to tell you how much we appreciate those of you who took the time to share your opinion about the playing of the KU-Missouri football game in Arrowhead Stadium. Our schedule next year includes eight home games – seven on Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium and the Border Showdown against Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Let me assure you, as a KU season-ticket holder you will receive first priority for KU’s seats at Arrowhead.

Playing Missouri at Arrowhead is not a new concept; it has been discussed for the last 20 years. In fact, playing the Border Showdown game in Kansas City represents a return to the roots of this great rivalry. Nineteen of the first 20 meetings between the two schools, starting with the inaugural game in 1891, were played in Kansas City; the other was played in St. Joseph.

As Coach Mark Mangino said, the allure of playing in one of the National Football League’s most renowned stadiums right in our own back yard appealed to our players and coaches. Our players and coaches greatly enjoyed their experience at Arrowhead against Oklahoma in 2005, and we look forward to playing there again. Additionally, to be able to provide our football players with a chance to play in Arrowhead Stadium is important not only for our current players, but also for the players we will recruit for the future. And if it helps recruiting, it will make our football program stronger; in the long run, that will make Lawrence better, too.

Speaking of making Lawrence better, for the last few years Kansas Athletics has made a commitment to bring as many athletics events to campus as we can. Home games in basketball and football have been consistently at an all-time high. We have revitalized the Kansas Relays, bringing some 25,000 visitors to Lawrence annually, and we have begun discussions with the NCAA to make KU a viable host for NCAA Championship competition when possible. We hosted an NBA game in Allen Fieldhouse last October, bringing some 13,000 fans to Lawrence to see two former Jayhawk greats. Also last October the University and athletics department helped sponsor a hugely popular downtown concert that attracted thousands of people to the downtown area.

We feel very good about the fact that we will play seven home games in Lawrence in 2007 and still be able to bring a game into the heart of KU’s most-populated alumni area. Then, in 2008, those nearly 60,000 KU alumni can easily attend the KU-Missouri game that would otherwise be played in Columbia, hours away from this area.

Another key factor is that the 2007 game – KU’s ‘home’ game – is scheduled for Thanksgiving Saturday, when all but a few of our students are home. For many of those students, Arrowhead is as close or closer to their homes as Lawrence is.

The revenue proposal offered by Arrowhead officials was a key point in the decision to move the games. They approached us with a plan that will provide us some $1 million in each of the next two years. That money is extremely important to us as we try to provide the best possible services for every student-athlete in all of our 18 sports.

We have committed to this agreement for just two years – one ‘home’ game for each university. We will evaluate the experiment after those games.

Again, we appreciate your comments and support of Kansas Athletics. We need to think ‘out of the box’ as we explore ways to make Kansas Athletics the best it can be.

Thank you for your support of Kansas Athletics and Rock Chalk Jayhawk!