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Opinion Week: FUNdraising!

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y’all bout to hate me

Southwest USA scenics Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

We’re not holding any punches back today ladies and goodfellas. We’re going to talk about a taboo subject. No, not religion, politics, or sex. We’re talking money.

Quick facts: We’re broke. We’re actually beyond broke. You wanna read the financial report from the GTAA? Be my guest. No literally. Read it.

Now that you’re back and enlightened, let me hit you with a single screen shot from that report.

GTAA 2018,2019 Financial Report

This is what you call not having a good day. We’ve got TWO +$40 MILLION US AMERICAN DOLLAR DEBT PAYMENTS DUE IN THE NEXT 3 YEARS. You wanna compete on a national level across all your NCAA sports with almost $400 MILLION DOLLARS hanging over your head? No, I didn’t think so.

So, after we spend out of our eyeballs just to not go to collections, we’ve still got to keep the lights on. Pay coaches, staff, scholarships, you name it, we’re probably paying for it.

Here’s where the sins of our past come to light. Couple of prior ADs infighting with other admin and other seemingly ambitious efforts that didn’t quite pan out. Oh, and paying 3 basketball coaches at once because of David Braine’s humongous freaking brain.

Now that we understand the massive hole in the ground that’s about 3 years ahead of us, let’s go to the next thing: AI2020.


Read the official stuff here. This is great work from everyone at Georgia Tech to have raised so much money so far in getting us to this point. Now, current global circumstances aside, we’ve still got a ways to go. Most importantly, the thing that makes sure you don’t have to worry about money anymore (the endowments) ISN’T CLOSE TO BEING DONE.

Time to hit y’all with another screenshot:

atfund.gatech.edu

While getting the Edge center renovation is the biggest budget item and obviously the most shiny of the items listed here on the chart, I’d argue the endowments section is the most important. We’re $9M shy on completing this item, which is the equivalent of 9 full out-of-state scholarships that will be paid for: FOREVER.

atfund.gatech.edu

While other fundraising areas are over-funded, we’re neglecting the least sexy thing on the list. And as is often the case with the un-sexy, if you don’t deal with them, it bites you in the [Aerosmith]. By making the concerted effort to endow all of the scholarship Georgia Tech is on the hook for year in and year out, we’re freeing up revenue year after year to be put towards other things in our budget.

It’s a debt snowball situation if you ascribe to the wisdom of Dave Ramsey. I’m paraphrasing here, but “get rid of your debt obligations so you can eventually start keeping money for yourself”. In this particular case, keeping money for ourselves looks like upgraded facilities, being able to afford a buyout without a second thought, increased recruiting budgets for ALL sports, you name it. This is what we’re buying ourselves by endowing every scholarship spot that Georgia Tech has.

See that TECH Fund spot that has a mysterious $15.75M just chilling? If I had to guess what it stood for, it’d be: To Eliminate Current Hellscape. It’s gonna be used to pay the debt y’all. Congrats! That covers half the principal due this year.


I know this is terrible scatter-brained writing, but we’re circling back to that stack of cash we have after the scholarships are endowed. Next slide: [source material]

watchstadium.com - Andy Wittry

Guess what being near the bottom means? CHAMPIONSHIPS!

There’s a concept called the Blue Chip Ratio that former SBNation and PAPN co-host Bud Elliott coined. It’s the % of your players that are 4/5 star recruits coming out of high school. Guess what? The last time a team not in this elite club won the FBS national championship was before the recruiting rankings really even meant anything. If you want to be a realistic contender, you need to up your numbers. Y’all understand graphs, you’re smart. I know that for a fact. We need to get lower and right-er on that graph. Here’s where we stand:

watchstadium.com - Andy Wittry again

We’re essentially middle of the pack at 39. While our neighbors are 1,2,4,6,12,14,19,21. That puts us as the 9th highest spender among programs that are a logical distance to be recruiting the biggest talent hotbed between Miami and Dallas. If we truly want to win the city of Atlanta, we’ve got to arm our coaching staff with the means to defend it.


Second to last point, and here’s where I’m going to get ritualistically sacrificed. Two tables:

https://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances/
https://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances/

There’s a gap here. It’s undeniable. I refuse to be told that the numbers lie. If you want to win this game we call football, money literally buys wins. This is where you the reader can help.


We’re in the process of reaching out to GTAA to set up a means through which FTRS can create a fundraiser for our readership to benefit the Volleyball team. We figure as the bannermen of the “non-rev” segment of Georgia Tech athletics, we wanted to show our thanks for the hard work this team does in making O’Keefe Gym a great place to catch a match.

We’ll make another post when the details are finalized, but if you’re able, please consider contributing to the fund. Donations of any kind lift the tide of the program as a whole, so we’re focusing our efforts on a program that doesn’t get as much shine as the big budget items on this list.


I started this article on a totally different train of thought than where I currently find myself, but hopefully this will stir within you a desire to help fix the problems we currently face as an athletic department. Clemson has a great model, where they encourage boosters to pay $10 a year. Say what you will about Auburn with a Lake, but they know how to raise money. I’d encourage anyone who reads this to consider a small gift to the AT Fund if they find themselves able to do so. No gift is too small, and I know it would help Todd Stansbury sleep better at night if he had some extra charitable donations lying around. Say instead of $10/year, you did $10/month. With 10,000 donors, that’s a quick $1M. Gotta start somewhere right?

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97 days til kickoff.