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When boosters die
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ken d Offline
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Post: #1
When boosters die
Every school has its athletic boosters. But not every school has a Phil Knight or T. Boone Pickens. Oregon and Oklahoma State's athletics fortunes have soared not in small measure because of their financial backing.

But what will happen to those fortunes when their sponsors die? Both those gentlemen are pretty advanced in years. Will we see billion dollar athletics endowments when their estates are settled? Or will those endowments go instead to the universities as a whole, and not just to athletics?

Are any other universities facing a similar situation, or are these two unique in the magnitude of the impact a single booster has in their athletic departments?
01-30-2018 10:26 AM
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Dasville Offline
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RE: When boosters die
How intertwined are they in the University? Could they destroy the Athletic Department or the school if they wanted to? At what point are they more harm than good? How much do they control the non-athletic side?
I don’t know much about Knight or Pickens
01-30-2018 10:37 AM
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Shox Offline
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RE: When boosters die
(01-30-2018 10:26 AM)ken d Wrote:  Every school has its athletic boosters. But not every school has a Phil Knight or T. Boone Pickens. Oregon and Oklahoma State's athletics fortunes have soared not in small measure because of their financial backing.

But what will happen to those fortunes when their sponsors die? Both those gentlemen are pretty advanced in years. Will we see billion dollar athletics endowments when their estates are settled? Or will those endowments go instead to the universities as a whole, and not just to athletics?

Are any other universities facing a similar situation, or are these two unique in the magnitude of the impact a single booster has in their athletic departments?

Didn't Boone and all his Poke buddies get together and take mega life insurance policies out with OSU as the beneficiary? In other word's, the Pokes will be fine.
01-30-2018 11:08 AM
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JRsec Offline
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RE: When boosters die
Whether it is one individual like Pickens, or it is a number of less wealthy fund givers the demographic is the same. As the last of the post WWII graduates and Boomers come to the end of their time the last truly vested generation will be passing in this country. Charitable contributions decline a bit almost every year once you take away the gifts of the super wealthy (Buffet & Gates). How can any university rely upon the gifts of the uber wealthy because those bequests are usually as peculiar as the giver.

It is going to be yet another belt tightening experience.

The last few decades have seen a rise in dependence upon corporate grants even for research and as private donations abate this dependence will become more crucial. There will always be some CEO's who can afford a large gift, but the real losses are felt at the million dollar level more acutely than at the billion dollar level because truly there aren't many schools who have billion dollar benefactors. And at that lower level of generous gifting there are more people leaving their wealth to their children because they perceive that their families are going to need every thing they can get moving forward in order to sustain themselves.

And this isn't an un-quantifiable generalization but rather a fact of supply and demand. Global population continues to grow and resources are finite. Contributing to the problem is automation as it negates the need of unskilled and some skilled labor.

We in the United States live in a bubble. At 300 million we don't really see overpopulation's strains every day. But in a global market place we are beginning to feel its effect. Take a look at pecans for instance, or just nuts in general. As jobs and income have risen in China the cost of nuts has exploded in the United States. While this is a minor example the same will apply to protein sources, water, and all commodities essential to life.

Global population has had one major catalyst when studied over history. Yes the development of medicine has improved longevity, but it was the beginning of use of petroleum based fertilizer that permitted multiple yields in crops that was the spring board to the rise in global population. That will last for another century or two. But when peak oil has passed first that cost will rise, then the choice to use that petroleum as fuel rather than fertilizer will have to be debated. Solar energy, wind energy, some kind of fusion energy, or all of them may one day replace the need of petroleum as fuel. Or maybe something we haven't even considered will. But nothing is on the horizon to replace it as fertilizer. So there is a food production curve ahead. Now couple that with possible gene therapy that could lengthen life and the problem is accelerated. Add in the impact of human land use and pollution and the production curve takes another hit.

Now I point this all out to illustrate that those with money will be increasingly encouraged to leave it to their children and grandchildren because of the uncertainty over how likely those kids are to be successful adults in a world with an ever increasing level of competition for the basic necessities of life and a decreasing need for skill sets attainable for the average person.

We've lived in a golden age of plenty where there was enough for sustaining life and extra to indulge ourselves with some luxuries one of which has been sport. What we are beginning to experience in small measure is a profound and permanent move away from the ability of the common person to spend on anything that is luxurious. And most of that is due to flat wages, which could decline in the future with a growing supply of job applicants, and increasing inflation in food and necessities. Over the last few years there has already been close to 30% rise in food costs. Healthcare has risen as well in this time frame. Football tickets and athletic donations among the middle class will shrink. Among the wealthy they will shrink as well. And as Boomers pass the super wealthy interest in sports will probably be supplanted by the super wealthy interest in more direct charitable causes. You already see this with Gates and Buffet. And it represents a much more sober reaction to the problems we face as citizens of a global society.

At the most fundamental level sports are already being sacrificed to budget in the United States. Public schools feel the budget crunch at the grade school level. Some schools already are having to fund raise to keep some of their sports package.

Small colleges are facing the same decisions and eventually Title IX non profits will feel the pinch in a much bigger way at the University level. Dropping tax exempt status may be a pathway to abandoning Title IX. We'll see.

Anyway while some of this is beginning to happen now we are still decades away from seeing it impinge what we rely upon now for entertainment. But, it's coming.

So Ken D. it's a real issue and the mega donor is just the most visible aspect of a much deeper problem.
(This post was last modified: 01-30-2018 12:20 PM by JRsec.)
01-30-2018 12:11 PM
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Kittonhead Offline
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RE: When boosters die
Boosters do just that boost your competitive resources.

P5 has big sources of TV money to help to keep it in the game.

G5's don't have big TV money....they don't have big boosters either.
01-30-2018 11:57 PM
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msm96wolf Offline
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RE: When boosters die
You have to look at how the bequeath the wealth. In addition, universities benefit from those family members many times. Also, look at the money Gatoraide has brought into UF. It is not simple as you make it out to be.
02-01-2018 02:18 PM
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