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UK fan doesn’t like having to donate to athletics over academics to keep seating priority

By LARRY VAUGHT

The University of Kentucky Office of Philanthropy conducts an annual phonathon fundraiser for what it says is to “fulfill its 150-year commitment to excellence in education, research, community outreach and patient care.”

Anne Lichtenberg, UK’s director of annual giving, sent a letter to donors thanking them for their support that is a “critical component” of UK’s mission for excellence in each of its colleges and programs.

However, one Kentucky donor — who contributes annually — let me know that her donation to the office of philanthropy has decreased because of the donation commitment to UK athletics.

She feels it’s not fair that UK actually competes for her donation/support.

“I want UK to realize that because donations to UK athletics are required to maintain a halfway decent priority status and because UK athletics doesn’t recognize donations such as this one when awarding points, they are discouraging donations to our UK colleges,” the fan told me.

I’ll have to admit since I don’t buy UK season tickets and don’t worry about priority points, I never considered the dilemma fans might have when it comes to choosing whether to donate to UK athletics or UK colleges and programs.

Maybe to some fans, it’s not a problem. For those choosing how to use limited donation dollars, I can understand how athletics gets priority in hopes of maintaining a higher seating priority.

Maybe I am missing something here. But it does seem to me that ANY donation to UK ought to be equally valued by both athletics and academics.

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  1. I appreciate you taking on this cause. You’re a good man, Larry Vaught!

    1. Thank you ColConnie

  2. UK Athletics and UK Academics share the same first name, but they are two different entities. They are run independently of each other and compete for many of the same dollars. UK Athletics is unique in that it donates fund back to the University each year, when many university sports programs rely on funding from their namesake. In a perfect world, there would be enough funding to allow what you are asking for! Competition has become so fierce in college sports, that the best programs must spend continuously to just keep up.

    You do have a choice in how you spend your money, unlike taxes! There are many things that I dislike, such as concession prices and bathroom lines. Life is full of choices, some are easy and others are hard. Not all things seem fair, it is just the way of life. It is why attendance is down in sports and a major problem for athletic directors to solve in the future. Finding the answer to these problems will give those programs a temporary advantage over other programs.

    You see why Mitch and other athletic director are worth much more than their paycheck. It looks like a glamorous job, but it is full of stress and headaches. We are lucky to have one of the best in the business!

  3. Easiest solution: Stop all donations and ticket purchases for 1 year. UK will make come crawling and make changes. The reason they do what they do is because people are willing to suck it up and accept it.

  4. I have a friend who pledged $1 million dollars. He will not pledge or give anymore. He gave up his football tickets after he discovered where they moved his 6 seats with the design of the new stadium…they were not as good as the previous ones. He has 6 tickets to the basketball games, he has kept them. 1 pair of tickets he has had since the 70’s or earlier. They are in the nose bleed section, his original tickets. 1 set on the floor, another in a good location. He use to have a person who was like a ‘guide’ or something. He took care of his wants and needs…now that does not happen. He wanted to buy a 2012 ring and Barnhardt said no. But yet they give a lot of them away, like to Drake and others and others bought one. He grew up in a ghetto, his wife in Eastern Ky. They came from nothing but made something of themselves. Both UK graduates although his wife got her undergraduate degree at Berea, her advanced degrees at UK. The wife’s job was out of town, big company, big job title but they built a home back in Kentucky because this is where they wanted to live. The university picks and chooses, not all millionaire donors are treated equally. You could not ask for better people, you could not ask for bigger hearts. More than once they have extended their warmth, their home and their love to me. They are my haven from the trials and tribulations…Unless you are a Craft or one of those other donors…sit back when you can and enjoy.

    1. That is sad! We as Kentucky fans need to stick together. I hope things can be corrected. i hope your friend will try and communicate with Mitch again. When one person loses, we all lose.

      1. She has several times Ben. So far, no luck

        1. When something does not seem right, it is usually because of something that is hidden between the parties. If not, then Mitch has some serious flaws that are not good in a athletic director. This is really worrisome! I hope for the best in a bad situation.

    2. That’s really, really sad Linda

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