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Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
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WMInTheBurg Offline
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Post: #21
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 09:37 AM)Blow Gym rat Wrote:  
(10-09-2020 09:18 AM)WMInTheBurg Wrote:  
(10-09-2020 09:04 AM)Blow Gym rat Wrote:  
(10-09-2020 08:53 AM)WMInTheBurg Wrote:  
(10-09-2020 08:40 AM)soccerguy315 Wrote:  The problem is only gone if you consider Huge the problem. If you consider the problem that the AD, President, and BOV agreed over multiple years in secret to cut a bunch of sports without making a genuine effort to save them by engaging alumni and other stakeholders... then the problem is definitely not gone.

What if it wasn't "in secret" and they just thought we have too many sports to be feasible for a state school our size? I contend that if Huge, despite the negative reputation she already had, just said "We think the best move is to cut these sports", she'd still have the job and it would be mostly settled, even allowing for supporters of the cut sports to be upset.

I think you're right, particularly if some meaningful effort to raise funds to save them based on honest numbers had been tried (and failed).

I'm saying I don't think that's necessary. When that question got asked, respond with something like "Based on our analysis, we didn't think fundraising was a long-term solution." Again, people would be mad, but the percentage of alumni that would be up in arms would be significantly lower, IMO. One of the biggest missteps was saying things that weren't true, like when she lied about trying to find the money. I think the intent was a lot less deceptive than the result, but using flowery language filled with half-truths and lies gives the appearance of outright deception, especially given Huge's reputation. If they wanted this to be something that people got over, it needed to be a simple statement. The individual meetings with sports could have been a lot longer, maybe have gotten into some more details, but this analysis was done over the course of years. Opening up the analysis for discussion by people who were not involved is asking for problems. A better approach would have been for Huge to say "My job is to make these decisions. I'm not hiding my criteria, but my job is not to explain every detail to a room full of angry people. If you have specific requests, please contact my office and set up a meeting." Then meet with anyone who wants to meet.

IMO, the interim AD could make the simple statements now, tacking on to the end "If you think you are more qualified to be the athletic director at W&M, here's the link to the job posting."

I think we agree about Ms. Huge -- it was the perceived dishonesty (and plagiarism, silly as that argument was IMHO) that brought her down. If serious fundraising had actually been tried during the years of consideration, then the statement about trying to find the money wouldn't have come across as a lie.

But the cat's out of the bag now, the questionable statements have been revealed, and transparency has been promised. I'm sure we'll find that there are limits on that transparency, but Martin can't completely back away from that promise.

I agree, but I think defending their decisions in a public forum is an extreme version of transparency. Making reports available, meeting with concerned alumni, that sort of thing still counts as transparency, as long as you're not hiding things. IMO, something the athletic department needs to take back is that this is their job.
10-09-2020 09:48 AM
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Zorch Online
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Post: #22
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 08:41 AM)Blow Gym rat Wrote:  ...
- The statement was made that "roughly half" of our teams' budgets are "below the median" in the CAA. ...

- Even assuming that some sports may need to be cut, how were these particular seven sports chosen? I can think of some others (no, I'm not talking football or basketball) with a long record of mediocrity.

- ... (e.g., a team will need to have an endowment sufficient to cover X% of its actual [not inflated] annual costs and show the consistent ability to raise an additional Y% in annual giving toward operations, with the remaining Z% coming from the athletic department). ...

Great post!

Re your first comment above: Considering that the W&M teams are very successful (definitely 6 of the 7 dropped sports) then isn't it actually A GOOD THING that W&M is able to accomplish that on a LOWER budget?!

Re your second comment: If the 7 sports have to justify their existence and their path forward in order to continue, then why doesn't EVERY sport have to do likewise?

Re the third comment: isn't this exactly what these teams were told about 8 or 9 years ago and isn't this exactly what they (especially swimming) did? So they were told what to do, they did it, and then the school screwed them anyway while saying "thanks for the endowment".
10-09-2020 10:06 AM
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Zorch Online
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Post: #23
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
LOTS to comment on here. I'll try to put it in...

(10-09-2020 09:18 AM)WMInTheBurg Wrote:  ...When that question got asked, respond with something like "Based on our analysis, we didn't think fundraising was a long-term solution."

What you really mean is that that is what you would say if the fundraising was unsuccessful. However, what if the fundraising WAS successful? Then it would definitely be a long-term solution. The problem was their "analysis" (which I doubt there even was any), and so they didn't even try to fundraise (in the For The Bold, the One Tribe One Day, nor even in a special fundraiser just for the seven sports!!).

(10-09-2020 09:18 AM)WMInTheBurg Wrote:  ...Opening up the analysis for discussion by people who were not involved ...

We are ALL involved. We are alums, fans, donors, stakeholders. We are ALL involved. That is what the administration, and you, don't seem to get.

(10-09-2020 09:18 AM)WMInTheBurg Wrote:  ...is asking for problems. A better approach would have been for Huge to say "My job is to make these decisions. I'm not hiding my criteria, but my job is not to explain every detail to a room full of angry people. If you have specific requests, please contact my office and set up a meeting." Then meet with anyone who wants to meet.

She did hide her criteria. They have published a spreadsheet, without explanation, showing that they need $150M to endow these 7 sports. The spreadsheet includes rowing and softball which we don't even offer. It includes funding the sports at the FULL scholarship level which is not even necessary for these teams to be able to compete in and win CAA championships. Re "room full of angry people" -- why do you think those people are angry? Because the administration didn't do ANY of this right! Re meetings: Huge totally ignores anyone not in her chain of command or who is not a big donor. Hopefully Martin will do better at that; it remains to be seen.

(10-09-2020 09:18 AM)WMInTheBurg Wrote:  IMO, the interim AD could make the simple statements now, tacking on to the end "If you think you are more qualified to be the athletic director at W&M, here's the link to the job posting."

I don't think that there will be any job posting. I think the job is his to lose and unless he really screws up it will be his. His own bio states that he has wanted to be an athletic director. Here is his chance of a lifetime. The problem is: how do you define success? To be "successful" and thus acquire the job permanently he needs to push this platform and eliminate these sports. That is not how I define success -- but he does not care because I'm not the one making the hiring decision.
(This post was last modified: 10-09-2020 10:27 AM by Zorch.)
10-09-2020 10:26 AM
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WMInTheBurg Offline
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Post: #24
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
Zorch, all due respect, but spend more time genuinely considering my perspective. Your quotes and replies are misrepresenting my opinions and ignoring context to fit your narrative. I'm not responding directly because it's not productive.
10-09-2020 10:53 AM
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soccerguy315 Offline
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Post: #25
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 08:53 AM)WMInTheBurg Wrote:  
(10-09-2020 08:40 AM)soccerguy315 Wrote:  The problem is only gone if you consider Huge the problem. If you consider the problem that the AD, President, and BOV agreed over multiple years in secret to cut a bunch of sports without making a genuine effort to save them by engaging alumni and other stakeholders... then the problem is definitely not gone.

What if it wasn't "in secret" and they just thought we have too many sports to be feasible for a state school our size? I contend that if Huge, despite the negative reputation she already had, just said "We think the best move is to cut these sports", she'd still have the job and it would be mostly settled, even allowing for supporters of the cut sports to be upset.

I agree with what you wrote here. My impression of it being "in secret" is based on the late June statements of "no plans to eliminate sports" and no previous public push to explain the financial situation and any fundraising efforts (or why they would not be doing fundraising efforts).

The first thing I wrote about this situation was "this can suck and be the right thing to do" and I still believe that. The difference is now, I don't believe there was any good faith effort to keep the teams.
10-09-2020 11:03 AM
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Zorch Online
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Post: #26
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 10:53 AM)WMInTheBurg Wrote:  Zorch, all due respect, but spend more time genuinely considering my perspective. Your quotes and replies are misrepresenting my opinions and ignoring context to fit your narrative. I'm not responding directly because it's not productive.

Show me where my "quotes and replies are misrepresenting [your] opinions and ignoring context". I do not paraphrase you, I take your exact words. I do not think that they are taken out of context; the only reason any words are removed and replaced with "..." is simply for brevity. No one wants to read a whole quoted post when the second poster only wants to comment on just a few lines. That is the reason I complimented Blow Gym rat on a "great post" but then deleted most of it so that I could reinforce just three lines.

So, show me.
10-09-2020 11:28 AM
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WMInTheBurg Offline
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Post: #27
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 11:03 AM)soccerguy315 Wrote:  
(10-09-2020 08:53 AM)WMInTheBurg Wrote:  
(10-09-2020 08:40 AM)soccerguy315 Wrote:  The problem is only gone if you consider Huge the problem. If you consider the problem that the AD, President, and BOV agreed over multiple years in secret to cut a bunch of sports without making a genuine effort to save them by engaging alumni and other stakeholders... then the problem is definitely not gone.

What if it wasn't "in secret" and they just thought we have too many sports to be feasible for a state school our size? I contend that if Huge, despite the negative reputation she already had, just said "We think the best move is to cut these sports", she'd still have the job and it would be mostly settled, even allowing for supporters of the cut sports to be upset.

I agree with what you wrote here. My impression of it being "in secret" is based on the late June statements of "no plans to eliminate sports" and no previous public push to explain the financial situation and any fundraising efforts (or why they would not be doing fundraising efforts).

The first thing I wrote about this situation was "this can suck and be the right thing to do" and I still believe that. The difference is now, I don't believe there was any good faith effort to keep the teams.

I agree with all of that. I also don't think there necessarily had to be a good faith effort, however. To build off the point I made to BGR, there's a difference between transparency and justifying every detail of every decision in a public arena. The points against Huge that resonated the most were not about whether the cuts were justifiable given the budget, they were about the perceived duplicity and procedural errors. "Errors" is too weak a word for the Stanford letter debacle, but I couldn't come up with something appropriate.
10-09-2020 11:46 AM
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Tribe32 Offline
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Post: #28
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
A few items that caught my attention last night.

1) The depletion of the Tribe Club reserve fund is a disaster. When you look at the overall money, Tribe Club contributes a ton of money to the department every year. We also saw that giving is down. We all know why, but if giving doesn't increase to a break even with demand, that reserve fund is gone and now we're not just cutting seven sports. Without other money, we're screwed.

2) He went over the three alternatives (cut games/travel/staff...cut budgets.....cut teams entirely). He didn't go into why we can't do a combination of all of them. Eventually we are going to get there unless we solve the revenue problem. No chance we get enough revenue from ticket sales or merchandising to close the gap. The only choice is get more via fundraising. I would like to see if we could do more of that rather than a mutually exclusive option.

3) The elephant in the room is pretty hard to hide. If we know that men's hoops and football are much higher than median, in fact on top for basketball, then maybe we are spending more than we need to on those sports at the expense of the others. I'm not debating on whether those sports are more important than others, but I'm not sure how the extra money has resulted in wins and losses (I have no clue). So to me, should we look at that and figure out what to do rather than cutting sports that are close to being self funded.

4) Not from last night, but I wonder how important it is to have the new basketball arena given where we are. That money could go a long way.....just sayin. Of course Boehly may not feel that way, but its worth a phone call.
10-09-2020 11:57 AM
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wanm65 Offline
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Post: #29
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
I don't think that there will be any job posting. I think the job is his to lose and unless he really screws up it will be his. His own bio states that he has wanted to be an athletic director. Here is his chance of a lifetime. The problem is: how do you define success? To be "successful" and thus acquire the job permanently he needs to push this platform and eliminate these sports.

He does not want the job.

He already has a better job-Chief of Staff
10-09-2020 11:59 AM
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Blow Gym rat Online
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RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 10:06 AM)Zorch Wrote:  Re the third comment: isn't this exactly what these teams were told about 8 or 9 years ago and isn't this exactly what they (especially swimming) did? So they were told what to do, they did it, and then the school screwed them anyway while saying "thanks for the endowment".

I don't know the full history, but I think you're right in general -- and this creates a big trust issue with a certain segment of sport-specific donors.

Let's say, for example, that I had a family connection to the volleyball program, and would be favorably inclined toward donating to an endowment to ensure the future survival of that program. Now that it's been red-flagged for me that the fine print in the agreement lets the Athletic Department cut the team and redirect my funds, I might be less inclined to write that endowment check and more inclined to give each year on a non-endowment basis for as long as the team survives.

Apparently, Ms. Huge's approach was that to survive, these sports had to have all of their costs covered by income from endowments. That was a bad idea to start with, but will be even more difficult to achieve now unless the endowment is set up truly independent of the Athletic Department, and not as their rainy day piggy bank.
(This post was last modified: 10-09-2020 12:37 PM by Blow Gym rat.)
10-09-2020 12:32 PM
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Tribe2011 Online
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RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 11:57 AM)Tribe32 Wrote:  3) The elephant in the room is pretty hard to hide. If we know that men's hoops and football are much higher than median, in fact on top for basketball, then maybe we are spending more than we need to on those sports at the expense of the others. I'm not debating on whether those sports are more important than others, but I'm not sure how the extra money has resulted in wins and losses (I have no clue). So to me, should we look at that and figure out what to do rather than cutting sports that are close to being self funded.

If we indeed have ramped up our football and basketball budgets, then it's been done within the last year or two (data as of 2018 has us virtually last in the conference for basketball) and that investment doesn't have an immediate impact. It's not like you can double your budget and expect results the next year - you still largely have the same team, same facilities, same coaching staff, etc. The results will be over the long term - we upgrade our training facilities and arena, which then helps with recruiting; when an assistance coach comes in demand we have the ability to give him a raise and keep him instead of losing him elsewhere; coaches are able to travel to scout and recruit more resulting in better players. All of those things take time. And they're all 100% necessary unless we want to drop back to our historical basketball performance over the long term.
10-09-2020 12:32 PM
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mrjoolius Online
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Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
When football and basketball were way behind our conference mates. We'd take pride in competing and occasionally winning with less. That was the mantra and status quo. We would discuss on this very board about what could possibly be done if we actually funded our programs on par with peer schools.
Fast forward to today, when it appears that there is finally a push by administrators to get basketball and football funding where it's needed to be for a decade, there are suggestions of taking us back to where we were. We are doomed to never get ahead.
I agree that the AD needs to be straight forward and as transparent with intentions as possible. I am certainly biased, but I believe that the correct path is a basketball/football centric approach.
10-09-2020 12:52 PM
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Swemster Offline
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Post: #33
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 10:26 AM)Zorch Wrote:  I don't think that there will be any job posting. I think the job is his to lose and unless he really screws up it will be his. His own bio states that he has wanted to be an athletic director. Here is his chance of a lifetime. The problem is: how do you define success? To be "successful" and thus acquire the job permanently he needs to push this platform and eliminate these sports. That is not how I define success -- but he does not care because I'm not the one making the hiring decision.

Could be off-base but I believe state schools in Virginia are required to post these kinds of positions for a set number of weeks (2 if I'm remembering correctly). Doesn't mean they have to actually consider applicants-- just required to give people a shot.

So anyways, not sure if he even wants this job at this stage or if Rowe and the BoV want to retain him as AD, but if they do, they at least do need to post the job to meet protocol.
10-09-2020 02:37 PM
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RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
One of the biggest questions I think that needs to be answered is whether or not we can expect Tribe Club giving, and therefore it's reserve, to return to pre-Huge levels. Surely that kind of drop-off can't be attributed to her alone. I think the only way to stave off cutting sports (within the three boxes Martin laid out) is massive investment into long term endowments.
10-09-2020 04:13 PM
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Tribe32 Offline
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RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
I'd like to clarify my point above about the elephant in the room because it was poorly written. What I was trying to convey was that we should consider whether the extra money spent on football and basketball has resulted in any more success and if not why not. Spending more and not getting more might mean there are diminishing returns. Don't just assume that cutting sports and diverting money to football and basketball is going to do anything. The teams need to be successful, yes, but we need way more than that in terms of revenue. We aren't going to get enough from ticket sales so it has to be from another avenue. If it isn't TV or advertising revenue, I guess we just need to hope that it comes from away games against Stanford in football or maybe NCAA tournament revenue in hoops. Those aren't good bets for a sustainable growth model. I guess I'm questioning whether the initial strategy is really a pipe dream.

That said, I'm a former Tribe athlete, a football season ticket holder for the last 30 years and as diehard as you can be for basketball. I'd get season tickets if I lived closer, but I do go to about 5 games a year.

I will add that the picture he painted was way worse than I imagined. I don't see a path forward where everyone wins in this one unless we can raise a quarter of a million in endowments over the next 5-10 years.
10-09-2020 04:20 PM
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Blow Gym rat Online
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Post: #36
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 04:13 PM)zablenoise Wrote:  One of the biggest questions I think that needs to be answered is whether or not we can expect Tribe Club giving, and therefore it's reserve, to return to pre-Huge levels. Surely that kind of drop-off can't be attributed to her alone. I think the only way to stave off cutting sports (within the three boxes Martin laid out) is massive investment into long term endowments.

If they’re on a July to June or similar fiscal year, the pandemic would probably account for some of the hit in FY20.
10-09-2020 04:20 PM
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Tribe32 Offline
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Post: #37
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 04:13 PM)zablenoise Wrote:  One of the biggest questions I think that needs to be answered is whether or not we can expect Tribe Club giving, and therefore it's reserve, to return to pre-Huge levels. Surely that kind of drop-off can't be attributed to her alone. I think the only way to stave off cutting sports (within the three boxes Martin laid out) is massive investment into long term endowments.

I think the drop off has to do with a few factors. First, it is definitely connected to Laycock and Shaver. That's a fact that is acknowledged from inside the department. People were pissed and some spiteful. Second, people are being asked to give more and more across the college, and personally that gets old. Finally, giving back isn't an option for a lot of younger alumni. Young people are saddled by student loans and not breaking even until they are well into their thirties. I started giving back a little bit when I was just out of school and became a pattern. Not sure if that's going to be the case going forward. Younger folks to want to give back in terms of their volunteer time, but that doesn't fund an athletic department.

I agree on the long term endowments. The challenge is how to find people who have massive wealth and who just want to donate out of the blue.
10-09-2020 04:31 PM
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Zorch Online
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Post: #38
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 11:57 AM)Tribe32 Wrote:  A few items that caught my attention last night.

1) The depletion of the Tribe Club reserve fund is a disaster. When you look at the overall money, Tribe Club contributes a ton of money to the department every year. We also saw that giving is down. We all know why, but if giving doesn't increase to a break even with demand, that reserve fund is gone and now we're not just cutting seven sports. Without other money, we're screwed.

2) He went over the three alternatives (cut games/travel/staff...cut budgets.....cut teams entirely). He didn't go into why we can't do a combination of all of them. Eventually we are going to get there unless we solve the revenue problem. No chance we get enough revenue from ticket sales or merchandising to close the gap. The only choice is get more via fundraising. I would like to see if we could do more of that rather than a mutually exclusive option.

3) The elephant in the room is pretty hard to hide. If we know that men's hoops and football are much higher than median, in fact on top for basketball, then maybe we are spending more than we need to on those sports at the expense of the others. I'm not debating on whether those sports are more important than others, but I'm not sure how the extra money has resulted in wins and losses (I have no clue). So to me, should we look at that and figure out what to do rather than cutting sports that are close to being self funded.

4) Not from last night, but I wonder how important it is to have the new basketball arena given where we are. That money could go a long way.....just sayin. Of course Boehly may not feel that way, but its worth a phone call.

An excellent post. Point 2 is cogent and should be addressed by the administration. Hopefully, all the Tribe7 groups are questioning the sacred cows and coming up with good alternatives. Point 3 really resonates with me because many people are wanting more funding for basketball and football without really knowing how much benefit it will bring. Even if it is acknowledged that there are tangible benefits, do they outweigh the loss of 7 sports and the dreams of 118 students (and jobs of 13 coaches)?

(10-09-2020 04:13 PM)zablenoise Wrote:  One of the biggest questions I think that needs to be answered is whether or not we can expect Tribe Club giving, and therefore it's reserve, to return to pre-Huge levels. Surely that kind of drop-off can't be attributed to her alone. I think the only way to stave off cutting sports (within the three boxes Martin laid out) is massive investment into long term endowments.

I think that if the 7 sports are ultimately dropped that the Tribe Club can forget about ever getting a single dime from followers of any of the 7 sports (and even from followers of other sports who wonder if they will be next). So, will the increased giving (if any) of the football/basketball crowd be enough to offset the loss of donations from fans of those other sports?
10-09-2020 04:54 PM
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Post: #39
RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 04:54 PM)Zorch Wrote:  I think that if the 7 sports are ultimately dropped that the Tribe Club can forget about ever getting a single dime from followers of any of the 7 sports (and even from followers of other sports who wonder if they will be next). So, will the increased giving (if any) of the football/basketball crowd be enough to offset the loss of donations from fans of those other sports?

Cynically, I'm not sure that's enough money to make a difference. Like our Tribe Club coffers weren't overflowing because of our men's gymnastics team. If "Save the Tribe 7" wants to hit the AD in the wallet I think the department would respond by scaling down further and putting together a skeleton list of sports that still have donors. I don't see that as an outcome anyone really wants.
10-09-2020 05:01 PM
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Blow Gym rat Online
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RE: Introduction to New Interim AD Martin
(10-09-2020 05:01 PM)zablenoise Wrote:  
(10-09-2020 04:54 PM)Zorch Wrote:  I think that if the 7 sports are ultimately dropped that the Tribe Club can forget about ever getting a single dime from followers of any of the 7 sports (and even from followers of other sports who wonder if they will be next). So, will the increased giving (if any) of the football/basketball crowd be enough to offset the loss of donations from fans of those other sports?

Cynically, I'm not sure that's enough money to make a difference. Like our Tribe Club coffers weren't overflowing because of our men's gymnastics team. If "Save the Tribe 7" wants to hit the AD in the wallet I think the department would respond by scaling down further and putting together a skeleton list of sports that still have donors. I don't see that as an outcome anyone really wants.

I think they can’t go below 14 sports and stay Division I.
10-09-2020 06:33 PM
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