Saturday, June 24, 2006

The best money never spent

SUI named a new AD, Gary Barta, who is a friend of Jamie Pollard. JP called GB's cell and said "Welcome to the Cyclone State".

Game On.

Indeed, the money quote of the DMR article comes at the very end:

"I don't want to put up a sign," Barta said. "I just want to win. It's a Hawkeye State - I believe that sincerely, but we can't just say it, we have to do it."

Whatever it cost JP to have a graphics guy mock up a billboard, ISU has received a million in attention from it. The message has been received in Iowa City.

I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that if Iowa wins the football game in September, they won't just draw a mock-up of a billboard between Ankeny and Ames.

They will put the damn thing up.

Game On indeed.


Building with the small checkbook

An interesting component of the new building plan for ISU athletics: aiming at the small donor.

Check out the second-to-last paragraph of JP's Q&A at Cyclone Fanatic: If 10% of the living ISU alumni joined the National Cyclone Club at the minimum $100, the building project is paid for. A$M did that exact thing 15 years ago, and adjusted for inflation, it is an even easier sell. Most importantly, a fan that buys into the NCC has made the most important connection with Cyclone athletics, the financial. Suddenly, they can be tapped not just for tickets, but for annual donations and increases in their NCC contribution. As long as athletics is successful, the positive feedback loop continues.

Very wise, and a better long-term strategy than continually squeezing the same hundred big fish. This household will be joining the NCC- and increasing their donation to ISU academics.



Thursday, June 22, 2006


When DI football returned to the 12 game schedule, I was concerned that ISU would take the K-State route and fill up the three available games (Iowa being the fourth) with I-AA or DII teams, take the big gates, write a check, and roll into league play at either 3-1 or 4-0.

Happily, there is some meat on the future schedules. (Thanks, Cyclone Fanatic) While not top sirloin, the schedules that are neither embarrassments nor suicidal.

The is a I-AA or lower game each year: UNI, South Dakota State, North Dakota State, all in Ames.

The MAC gets some games: Toledo, Kent State, Northern Illinois. Bad ISU teams can lose those games, especially on the road.

The Mountain West returns with UNLV and Air Force and Utah. Quality opponents with the potential for great games.

UConn returns to Ames. Hopefully ISU can show more heart against them in '11 than they showed in '02.

The right mix in my opinion: One sure win, one probable win, one tossup, one game with Iowa.

Nice job, folks.

While I wouldn't be opposed to building the program the way Bowden built FSU when he took over (check out who his team played in '81: 9-3 Nebraska, 9-3 Ohio State, 5-6 Notre Dame, 11-1 Pittsburgh, 3-7-1 LSU and 7-5 Florida. All on the road. The first five in a row. FSU went 3-3 on the road, 6-5 overall) I realize that belonging to a conference limits your flexibility and craziness. But a guy can dream. I guess Nebraska, Texas and OU will have to suffice.


Monday, June 19, 2006


Iowa fan is rightfully crowing about the 45,000 season tickets they have sold for 2006.

Iowa fan also snickers that ISU fan celebrates selling 30,000.

Given Iowa's play the last five years, 45K shouldn't be a surprise- it should be the norm.

Given ISU slightly above average results the last five years, 30K is commendable.

A quick review: Iowa has every advantage over ISU in fan support, fawning press coverage, TV exposure, membership in a league with bottomless pockets and a very sports friendly campus. They should sell twice the number of tickets ISU does, and right now could if Kinnick could hold it. But these are exceptional times in IC.

Before KF hit his stride, sales were slipping a few thousand each year. When football fortunes turn south again- and they inevitably will, as nobody wins forever- the slide will return. Only the true hardcores will be in the stands, as the fans of winning will have moved onto something else, finding the overpriced seats with bad sight lines that required a 45 minute walk from a $10 parking place in somebody's yard not worth an entire Saturday.

At the end of the day, it comes down to simple math: A bigger percentage of the ISU fan base buys tickets, despite having a lame history of success, uninspiring game day atmosphere, and a gnawing feeling deep down in their bellies that their Cyclones will some how, some way, break their hearts.

To the Cyclone fan, I say: Bravo!


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sub Titles

Now that Kirk Fernentz makes more than all the ISU head coaches combined- and he should- will the Register reopen its policy of reminding readers of who is the State of Iowa's highest paid employee?

Fat chance.

It seemed that every article about LE in the Paper that Polk County Depends On featured at least one use of ".... Larry Eustachy, the State of Iowa's Highest Paid Employee......". Now a regular reader of the sports page would have a hard time knowing that little tidbit.

As I recall, LE's extra tag didn't begin with his off-court shenanigans but early in his tenure, after on-court success was rewarded with cash. Suddenly, his salary was his most important stat.

Why won't KF get the same treatment? Two thoughts: One, as long as he keeps winning, he's untouchable. If a 7-5 season or two shows up, The Tag will be the first sign that KF has lost the press. Two, he's in Iowa City. If he were in Ames, or if DMac was the one making $3M, the tag would be in full use.

What good is a double standard if you don't apply it?