Tuesday, January 25, 2011

UConn's Lament

     What do you do if you are UConn, and one of your primary donors gets angry and demands his $3 million back, plus wants his name taken off of the new football practice complex that was just recently built? Matt Hinton, AKA Doctor Saturday, has posted an interesting piece about just that scenaro. See the link below...


     Reactions on the story that was written by Hinton vary from anger to support for Robert G. Burton, who wants his money and his name removed from the football program because according to Hinton, he was never asked his opinion over the hiring of Paul Pasquoloni as football coach.
     This is a common issue at every university, as big money donors eventually buy a piece of the program and the scool. Everyone knows that Oklahoma State is basically owned by T. Boone Pickens. He has say over just about everything at OSU.
     Does a big money donor have the right to be kept in the loop when it comes to decision making processes in the department that they donate to? My take on it is yes they do. We're not talking about bake sale purchases and candy bar fund raisers here. These people drop millions to get a piece of the action. These are heavy hitters, the types that pay for stadium and facility upgrades, which build bigger programs, which attract new recruits, and let's be honest, more students in general.
     Something that we often forget about is the fact that big sports brings big student body. Kids love going to a school that has a big name in college sports, even if they are not athletes. There's nothing cooler than a kid spending 3 nights in a tent to get the best seat in the house, just to be able to say that he did it at a place like Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, or even South Carolina. That big shiny stadium or basketball arena on campus is like a bright light to insects, it draws them in. Those cool looking facilities draw kids to the business schools, the science labs, and the academic auditoriums all over America. So when you think that the big money donors are buying a piece of the school and paying for influence, they are. But the school gets just as much out of it as they do in the end.
     At the end of the day, big cash donors are like your liver or your heart. You can't live without them, and if you don't take care of them, they'll stick it to you. As long as violations are not being had when it comes to the buying of players, and it's a simple case of access to the program and true altruism, than it's ok by me. Just don't cross the line.

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