UO President Michael Schill is the one person who can make it happen

That’s the closing line from LCB Prof. Dennis Howard’s Op-Ed on Duck Athletics and UO, in the RG on Sunday and online here. The RG comments are pretty interesting as well. Prof. Howard and I had a panel discussion on athletic funding at the Eugene City Club in June, there’s more on that here.

I don’t agree with all of this Op-Ed. In particular there are many more hidden subsidies, and I think efforts to use Duck football to market UO academic’s side will probably be expensive and embarrassing failures. But the conclusion sure resonates:

… We can also do a better job of using athletics as an asset in our academic fundraising efforts. The Duck Athletic Fund must be fully integrated into the UO’s academic capital campaign.

Ohio State University provides an excellent model. There, athletic and academic fundraising personnel are rewarded for working together. Attractive athletic assets such as preferred seating for football and basketball are used to reward donors who give to academics as well as to athletics.

Athletics is the UO’s gateway to giving. Historically, 70 percent of those who give more than a $1,000 a year to the academic programs first gave to athletics. Importantly, a significant number of these donors eventually commit a sizeable share of their giving to academics.

Recently this trend has declined. To harness the power of our academic and athletic programs the UO needs a unified fundraising model in which athletic and academic fundraising units work collaboratively on behalf of the entire institution.

UO President Michael Schill is the one person who can make it happen.

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