Monday, February 09, 2009

BSU Announces Touchdown Club

Lost amidst the shuffle of National Signing Day and the offseason, Ball State Athletic Director Tom Collins has announced that there will be the formation of a new group of supporters of Cardinal athletics. This newly formed, and aptly named, Touchdown Club will consist of allegedly 50 donors willing to pledge $2,000 per year for three years. The money will go exclusively to football, and will be spent at the head coach's discretion.

To this, I say:
Truthfully, 50 people at a couple grand a pop isn't going to break the bank. $100,000 per year in increased revenue isn't going to be enough to do a great many of the things that BSU needs to have happen. It won't significantly bolster the recruiting budget. It won't build jumbotrons. It won't build more bathrooms or a coaches office. But at the bare minimum, it's a start.

Don Park, former VP of University Advancement once told me that when you have a donor hooked it's easy to increase them a small bit at a time. Asking for 5k a year is a lot, especially given the overwhelming majority of our fanbase's middle to upper-middle class socioeconomic status. However, a gift of 2k isn't obscene. And over the course of the next several years, you can grow that gift to much larger amounts.

Most importantly, it is also a way for the university, and Collins specifically, to restore faith in the program. After the fiasco that was Brady Hoke's departure, many alums felt that the interests of the program were the furthest thing in mind for Collins, President Gora, and anyone who made decisions. With this small pittance, Collins and Gora can prove to alums with capable means that they are, in fact, capable of growing the program and the people who serve within it.

Ultimately, the Touchdown Club is not the answer, but it is a good first step in showing your work to get the bottom line of supporting the program in a proper fashion. If the U can do good things with this small amount, perhaps it will be easier to crowbar some change out of David Letterman, John Schnatter, and the other alums with deep pockets. When that shoe drops, then you'll see some major things happening in Muncie. But until we land our very own version of T. Boone Pickens, we'll have to do it person by person, $2,000 at a time.

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