Monday, January 05, 2015

Is BYU obsessed with money?

I just got an email from the BYU Cougar Club informing me of an upcoming luncheon featuring men’s basketball head coach Dave Rose, and some other coach. Women’s cross country or something.

I know, right? Can you believe I’m a member of the Cougar Club?

Anyway, I love these luncheons. I’ve been going to them for years. It’s fun to hear from the coaches, and a nice little meal is a cool perk for being a part of the Cougar Club.

But sometimes the meals aren’t nice. Like this coming luncheon, for example. The sponsor/caterer is IHC. Intermountain Health Care. The hospital. Now why on earth would BYU, at a luncheon featuring the most popular coach in the entire athletic department, feed some of its biggest boosters hospital food?

I don’t know for sure, but the official answer is probably something like “BYU has a strategic partnership with IHC, and a relationship that goes back decades…” blah blah blah.

I have a feeling it’s a money thing. I bet BYU gets free food (or maybe IHC even pays BYU?), and in return IHC gets some publicity for their healthcare services. Once more, just to be clear, we’re talking about a healthcare provider catering a booster luncheon (“Come for the MRI, stay for the hot wings!”).

I get the impression that BYU likes money. They like saving it, and they like earning it. Who doesn't? But BYU might take it too far. This luncheon is just the kind of evidence that tells me BYU might be obsessed with money. How about some more?

  • BYU’s football independence. Big money deal for BYU. We get lots of TV money (no one knows how much, but it’s a lot more than we were making in the MWC), and we get all the bowl money if/when we get an invitation to a bowl game. 
  • EVERYTHING has a sponsor. From the Grandma Sycamore Bread third down conversion, to the NuSkin video board, to the little Alaska Airlines logos you see when you look at the basketball schedule online. EVERYTHING at BYU is sponsored. 
  • BYU can’t stop talking about how its athletic department makes money, while the majority don’t. Yes, that is something to be proud of. I’m proud of it. But I would be much more excited, as a fan, if we were winning tons of games and going to NY6 bowls. Do you think Ohio State fans are pissed off because their athletic department is losing money?

It’s not a big deal to be obsessed with money, I suppose. College sports is a business, after all. But where I start to get a little miffed is when money gets in the way of what’s best for the sport.

Say, for example, that BYU is invited to join the Big 12, but we wouldn’t be a full money-sharing partner for five years. Do you think BYU would take that deal? I don’t.

Or say a top basketball recruit chooses Utah over BYU because Utah has a better basketball practice facility. And the only reason why BYU doesn’t have a similar facility is because a private donor hasn’t given them enough money for it. Are you okay with that? I’m not.

Props and kudos to the BYU athletic department for being profitable when so many others aren’t, but I sincerely hope their desire for money isn’t hurting the program in the long run. I hope BYU is ponying up the dough for its teams.

No comments: