K Fund / Ticket Prices Trickle Down?

One has to wonder that given the turn of events in the basketball program over the last couple of years, if that stone will start to be chipped away.

On January 29, 2007 Mitch Barnhart issued a pamphlet outlining UK Basketball and Football K-Fund and ticket prices through the 2010 seasons. These were promised to be etched in stone.

One has to wonder that given the turn of events in the basketball program over the last couple of years, if that stone will start to be chipped away. As best we can tell that pamphlet is already almost obsolete because reportedly those numbers have already been drastically altered.

Before you start castigating Mitch Barnhart, look at yourself in the mirror. Perhaps you will see a face that had a lot of pain relating what was occurring under Billy Gillispie and demanded a change. That same face said you wanted the best after the fiasco of Gillispie that had the program slipping into the abyss. So Barnhart went out and got the best available to coach the basketball Cats. Yet the best comes with a price.

Now the John Calipari contract somewhere in the neighborhood of 35M for seven years and the litigation battle UK is involved in to ward off an aggressive Billy Gillispie, who is seeking to get the full six-million he feels he deserves. Depending on who you talk to, he could possibly have a case. So economically, UK is in a very different position that in 2007 when the pamphlet was released.

I can't speak for the athletic director but a picture speaks a thousand words. He has re-arranged procedures so that all of the fringe element monies are channeled through the UKAA.

For many years the football fan has been living a charmed life. In 2007 nine (9) SEC institutions had higher ticket prices - of that group LSU the highest $295 and Florida the lowest $196. Single-game UK football prices would remain near the lowest in the conference. Peer institutions reflect value to the UK fan. Virginia, Nebraska, Marshall, Virginia Tech, and Michigan State all had higher prices than UKAA.

For a basketball program that boast of have the most storied program in the nation, the ticket holders have been living a charmed life compared to some other powers. Kansas University reassigns their entire arena seating every year based on priority points (translated, money donated). Likewise for the Connecticut Huskies and Indiana University. By comparison in 2007, UK's per/seats prices ranged from $300 - $1,3500 annually on 6,700 seats and UCLA's ranged from $850 - $25,000 annually for all seats.

Given the funds overview and where the university wants to take it's athletic programs, don't expect things to remain quite as cushy. If Rich Brooks continues the improve the football program, he and his coaches need to be paid. Increases are made every year in certain coaches salaries but Brooks remains one of the lowest paid coaches in the league. Many would say he has one of the best staffs in the league, when you look at their resumes. There's going to come a time when stadium enlargement will be an issue and a necessity to keep up in the SEC.

We have heard from political pundits the phrase "trickle down economics." The theory of price increases being felt at the lowest levels, that being the ticket holders. So how will Mitch Barnard avoid the New York Yankee syndrome (new stadium) in which the fans drew a line in the sand and said no more. In that case the Yankees have experienced large numbers of empty seats in the high priced area of the stadium.

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