A recent story in the Denver Post about an idea from one of the Colorado athletic departmen’s biggest boosters trying to get 50 people to donate $1 million each to the department has generated a lot of excitement from CU fans.
I’m betting it generates far fewer results.
I’d say 10 gifts of $1 million each might be a little more realistic, but even that will be difficult at CU. George Solich, CEO of Cordillera Energy Partners in Greenwood Village, is the man behind this mission.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great idea and I’m all for shooting for the stars, but we’re talking about a department that hasn’t generated even 20 $1 million gifts in its history. Yet, suddenly there is talk of getting 50 in a short period of time to help get the department back in the fight in the Big 12 Conference.
I’ll believe it when I see it.
There is another aspect to this plan that involves giving anyone who decides to pony up $1 million a voice in at least some athletic department decisions. That’s just a bad idea for a lot of reasons.
Getting an opinion from your biggest supporters about important decisions is always worthwhile, but giving them any more control or power beyond that wouldn’t be smart and I’m not sure how that would work exactly under state rules and laws. Would there be any accountability for them? Would they have to answer tough questions when their decisions went wrong?
If you donate money, you want to feel confident and comfortable with what is being done with it. I get that. But you have to have some trust in the people running the show to make good decisions without micromanaging it. If you don’t, then don’t donate or lead the charge for personnel changes that will make you comfortable with giving your money to the department.
Now, if CU someday finds a sugar daddy such as T. Boone Pickens, an individual who is willing to give the entire $50 million, maybe you give that person more influence over decisions. But until then, it’s best to leave the decision making in the hands of hard-working people who are running the department every day and know the ramifications better than anyone.
It would be nice to see Solich succeed here, but there have been dozens of people over the decades charged with raising money for the department and their collective efforts haven’t come close to this lofty goal. There is no reason to believe that will change now.