Thursday, February 09, 2006


In 11 years on the job, Copeland raised more than $81 million for the athletic department, yet there are still financial concerns.

Copeland is on his second set of blueprints for a new basketball practice facility, which could cost $10 million to $12 million. Coaches say a new practice facility is vital to the success of the basketball programs. SMU's peers, TCU and Rice, have them. The offices at Moody Coliseum also need work or to be replaced. When it rains, a puddle forms in one of the offices.

"I certainly knew facilities needed significant work, Turner said. "And having done [Ford Stadium] we're turning our attention to [other areas]. We just don't have the fan support and donor support to go at things across the board all at once."

No quote in anything in the Dallas Morning News has bugged me more than the last quote by Turner.

Does anyone actually believe this tripe?

I criticize SMU a lot. I criticize the over inflated self esteem and ego that many SMU alumnae and faculty and administrators have toward SMU. That being said, money is rarely SMU’s problem. Let’s not forget that in the last big fundraising drive, the "Campaign for SMU: A Time to Lead," raised $542 million for facilities, academic positions and programs, scholarships, and student life initiatives over five years. That is half a billion dollars. There is not a spot on campus that you cannot look around and see a new building.

SMU will soon start its next big fundraising effort, the “Centennial Campaign” to coincide with the 100th anniversary of SMU's founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915. Make no mistake; this fundraising campaign will be massive. Yes, I know this is for academics and not athletics. But the point is the same.

And has the money for athletics been there in the past? Yes. Was that money wisely spent? Well, to be glib, SMU finished the year no. 2 in the nation in 1982. Yes, there was some money going places it should not have, but don’t forget SMU was also paying for top tier coaches at the time and had a budget that rivaled major universities. At the time, if a coach needed something, all he had to do was ask and the alumnae would provide.

The point is that any suggestion that SMU cannot sustain more than one athletic fundraising endeavor in a year is pure crap. The only reason there is not fan support and donor support for a basketball practice facility and a renovated Moody, an upgraded Wescott field and a new Natatorium is because nobody has faith in what you are doing. Twenty years of losing does that to a fan base. Years of not caring on the part of the administration does that. If you want to show that the current administration does have a minimum amount of pride in its athletic department, then prove it. Hire an AD that will first tell you to stop making excuses and second, tell you what you have to do to fix the problems with the athletic department.

And while you are planning the Centennial Campaign, I will remind you that your predecessor, President Hyer, knew the importance of football to the top tier universities in the nation (stolen from your stated goals addressed to the Board of Trustees). One of his first hires was the football coach. And in the same year that SMU opened its doors, it also played its first football game.

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