Would Selling Stock in the Seminoles Limit Booster Influence?

By | November 16, 2009

(Originally posted on ScalpEm.com)

Last Thursday, Darren Rovell of CNBC and several other news outlets reported that the Boise State University Athletic Department was going to start selling stock certificates to raise money for the athletic department.  According to Rovell, “athletic director Gene Bleymaier announced the formation of a non-profit organization (Boise State Broncos Inc.) that is seeking fans to invest in future Boise State athletic projects.”

Rovell reports that fans will pay $100 a share to receive “a stock certificate as well as voting power at board meetings, where it is decided how the money will be used.” Not included in the purchase are rights any bowl game money, a share of concessions from game day, any dividends or appreciation.”

Basically, a share in Boise State Broncos, Inc. is a vote on the dissemination of athletic department funds.

Personally, I like this idea. Although it is not without its dilemmas. First of all, what if a rich alumnus of Boise St.’s main rival bought all the shares? Second, could the shareholders choose to keep all of the money in the athletic department and withhold it from the rest of the university? What if they reinvested the money in the football program and let the other sports to wither from lack of funding?

Once these issues get fixed, I would like to see Florida State follow the lead of Boise St. I think selling stock in the Noles would eliminate some of the sway of the Seminole Boosters. However well meaning they may proclaim themselves as being, I have never trusted the booster program. Especially after what they did during the Jeff Bowden fiasco. I don’t think any one group should be able to hold a public institution’s financial backing hostage pending a decision by those employed by the institution. Especially if it is based on the actions of personnel on an athletic playing field.

Although I would like to see all booster programs eliminated and donations to the university given to the highest office and then vetted down to the departments by need, not by whim, I don’t think that will happen anytime soon. In the meantime we might as well use stock issuing as a way to formalize the influence and benefits of the giving process. Perhaps making the Boosters official stock holders would make their influence more “official” and lift the veil on any dope deals, secret negotiations, and payoffs that might involve university employees. Not that boosters should have a say in those decisions anyway.

I guess in the real world money really does talk.

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9 thoughts on “Would Selling Stock in the Seminoles Limit Booster Influence?

  1. Rich

    Like the stock holder idea. I already consider myself a stock holder as a long-time season tix buyer and booster. But this would provide a better chance of being heard and even influence direction of the program.

    BTW, how did the Boosters complicate the Jeff Bowden situation? My impression was that by proactively coming up with a buyout plan, they solved the problem — without coming out of the athletic dept. budget. Was there more to it than that?

  2. Jordi

    Rich,
    That’s my point exactly. The boosters should not have been the ones to propose a plan to the university on the removal of Jeff Bowden. Now don’t get me wrong, they did everyone a favor as the man was not fit to be Off Cooordinator, but that should have been the decision of the coaching staff and/or the athletic dept, not the choice of the financial backers of the program. I like the result, just not the process used.

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  4. Garnet10

    How about selling the naming rights to Doak to a company like SunTrust or Verizon? We need some additional revenue streams to compete with SEC and other big time programs like Texas, USC or Ohio State going forward. We need the ACC to stick 2 teams into the BCS for $$$. We need the next ACC football contract to bring in $$$. FSU can’t be left behind in the arms race.

  5. NoleCC

    I think it’s an option, but one that wouldn’t be received well by most fans. I don’t really think that should matter either to be honest. It’s like a Field Turf situation. I wonder if installing Field Turf would save money long term over grass, or if it’s even doable in the heat of Tallahassee?

  6. Garnet10

    A 10 year naming rights deal at $1 million per season can do a lot for the budget when ticket revenue is down like this year. $1 million is the equivalent of selling about 3,700 seats per game at $45 per seat for a six game home schedule. That would be nice to have as an annual revenue cushion or as an annual revenue bonus for the length of a potential contract.

  7. chris

    Just to be clear, Boise State’s plan is more a fundraising gimmick than anything truly meaningful. They will not replace boosters, who will still be counted on to continue donating money (and thus will still have sway). The stock that they buy will allow them to vote on a board of directors that will be nothing more than an advisory committee that still reports to the AD. It is a fundraising tool that I really like (I think FSU, when we have a couple successful football years again, should employ the method to help endow scholarships – which would take far more than what Boise State hopes to raise, by the way), but I predict it will have little practical effect on how Boise State’s program is run, except that they will have some more money to build some locker rooms and refurbish some facilities.

  8. NoleCC

    Chris,

    Thanks for pointing that out to clarify. I wonder how much money FSU really would raise though, with prices going up each year? It’s getting tough to put together the Booster requirement and season ticket prices for the average fan.

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