Monday, November 16, 2009

Would Selling Stock in the Seminoles Limit Booster Influence?

(Originally posted on

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.