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Crimes, Championships and Big Time Sports at the University of Kansas


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About the Book

In 2010, University of Kansas officials were shocked to learn that the FBI and IRS were on campus investigating Rodney Jones, former head of the Athletics Ticket Office, for stealing Jayhawks basketball tickets and selling them to brokers. Investigators found that for more than five years Jones and a small ring of university officials had conspired to loot the university of $2 million in tickets, reselling them for $3–5 million. In what was perhaps the biggest scandal in college sports history, all seven members of the “Kansas Ticket Gang” pleaded guilty to RICO Act indictments. Five went to prison—two were given probation for turning state’s evidence.

About the Author(s)

The late H. George Frederickson was the Edwin O. Stone distinguished professor of public administration at the University of Kansas, president emeritus of Eastern Washington University and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. He lived in Lawrence, Kansas.

Bibliographic Details

H. George Frederickson

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: 20 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7787-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3748-8
Imprint: Exposit

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

Introduction: The Kansas Ticket Gang 5

1. Rodney Gets a Job 11

2. Lawrence, the University of Kansas and Basketball 18

3. Basketball 27

4. Changing Athletics Directors, Coaches and Conferences 33

5. Tickets: A Brief Biography 38

6. Charlette Coble and the University of Oklahoma 42

7. Rodney “Tickets” Jones: Ticket Whisperer of Mass Street 49

8. Junction City 57

9. Money and the AD Shuffle 64

10. Charlette: When Home Becomes Work and Work Becomes Home 69

11. Perkins 72

12. Charlette Comes to Town 88

13. It Worked! 101

14. Complimentary Tickets and Ticket Ownership 103

15. The Ticket Gang Scales Up 109

16. The Greatest Year in the History of KU Athletics 114

17. Big Trouble Visits Big D 128

18. Coming Apart 134

19. Everybody Knows 146

20. Cooperation 155

21. Adieu, Lew, Adieu 158

22. Indictment: A True Bill 165

23. Here Comes the Judge for the Family Blubaugh 172

24. Here Comes the Judge for Rodney “Tickets” Jones 178

25. Judgment for Kassie Liebsch and Ben Kirtland III 187

26. Reciprocity at Home: Tickets for Tickets 193

27. The Oklahoma Connection and Poor Accounting 203

28. Summing Up: The Box Score and the Original Rules 211

Epilogue 228

Appendix A: Code of Ethical Conduct, Kansas Athletics, Inc. 235

Appendix B: Federal Sentencing Guidelines 237

Chapter Notes 239

Bibliography 247

Index 253

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Frederickson provides a highly detailed account of the systematic theft of basketball tickets that occurred at the University of Kansas over a span of 16 years. The book is so meticulously researched that at points the backstory and ancillary facts almost obscure the thrilling story of hubris, deceit, and corruption, motivated by greed but also by thirst for power and reputation. … Frederickson leaves no subject unexplained, from the story of the ticket scandal itself to the history of Lawrence, Kansas. … the story is told with so much passion that the book is hard to put down. …recommended”—Choice

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