This story on the UConn donor requesting $3 mil back from the school is fascinating to me. There are so many ways to look at it.
Was his donation really a donation, or an investment? And does that change his power within the organization? If it is purely a donation, isn’t it mighty classless to ask for it back?
I understand that donations generally come with strings, especially donations of this magnitude. Even smaller donations come with a cost, to an extent. Case in point, we donated a somewhat significant sum of money to a local food bank, which was a good deed, but we needed to have some press coverage and a photo op. It’s a pain to the ED of the food bank, but he explained that every time he gets a large donation like that he plans on setting aside a portion of his day for such an event. You could go on and on with similar examples.
So, I got to thinking about how this parallels our program right now. We have some big donors, sure. Some of the names we know, some we don’t. That’s typically how it goes. Some people want the fame, others just support the institution and have more money than they can spend.
But besides that, each person who
invests in supports an Athletics Department around America has some stock, whether perceived or real, in that department. So, in order to keep these donors/investors happy, certain things have to happen. In the case of UGA, I am talking about winning.
Essentially what you have at UGA with the Hartman fund is a large pool of annual investors. If you win, the investors continue to pay, usually even larger amounts. That’s why the initial buy in is so tough for some. But if you lose, like you have these past two years, you begin to lose investors.
In this instance, you don’t have the big media splash that you have at UConn. Nonetheless, the end result is the same. By that same token, the suits at UGA know that they have to put a good product out there, because in the end it’s all about the money.
I don’t know if I’ve fully formed an opinion on Mr. Burton in Connecticut, but I don’t completely blame him for being upset. There are always strings with that kind of cash.