Money is important in college athletics — all sports
for that matter.
But when it comes to next week’s game between WKU and
Kentucky at L.P. Field in Nashville, President Gary Ransdell said
he’s willing to put all that in the backseat in place of a win.
“To achieve a strong financial return would be a
measure of success,” Ransdell said. “But the measure of
success would be winning the game itself.”
It would be the caliber win that WKU has never had
since its move to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2009.
Matching the ticket sales mark of 35,000 would be a
goal as well, although that seems unlikely given the slow ticket
sales to this point.
As an attempt to counter what empty seats would still
remain from the tickets that weren’t sold, WKU on Wednesday
announced that all students will get into the game for free with
their WKU student ID. Previously just the first 4,000 were going to
be allowed in for free, with the 4,001st person and on forced to
pay at least $28 for a ticket.
With the change, Ransdell said he wants to see 10,000
students show up.
“Why not?” he said. “It’s free. It’s in Nashville. Go
to a ballgame and have some fun.
“I want to turn that Titans stadium absolutely red on
But win or lose, WKU will still reap plenty of
benefits from the game.
The Toppers have the advantage of playing on national
television while no other college football game is going on. And
despite not playing the game at Smith Stadium, they’ll be able to
brand the game as if it were.
Athletics Director Ross Bjork confirmed that the
50-yard-line at L.P. Field will indeed be painted with the WKU
logo, and WKU graphics will be prominently displayed around the
WKU also will be able to run its own promotions
throughout the game.
While all that is good, Bjork said the same thing as
Ransdell — a win would upstage all of it.
“I think if you look at our program, that’s what
people are hungry for — to see us compete on the field and win
games consistently,” Bjork said. “Winning the game will do more