Random Thoughts – The “Swinney Effect” – Volume XXIII – May 5, 2019

Buff Trivia Question of the Week … In an NBC Sports 2019-2020 preseason poll, put out this past week, the CU men’s basketball team found itself ranked No. 20. Which leads us to the following questions:

  • When was last time CU was ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll?
  • When was the last time CU was ranked in the AP poll … at all?

CU Board of Regents and CU’s new president need to be apprised of the “Sweeney Effect”

Mark Kennedy was appointed as CU’s new president on a 5-4 vote. It was not universally well received.

From the CU Independent:

The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents has hired Mark Kennedy to lead the state’s flagship university despite overwhelming opposition from students, faculty and staff who say his conservative political record is out of step with the CU system’s values.

The former Republican congressman and University of North Dakota president will replace retiring CU President Bruce Benson in July.

Regents’ 5-4 vote Thursday was split along party lines, with Republicans supporting Kennedy’s hiring, and Democrats opposing it. Regent Linda Shoemaker, a Democrat from Boulder, was the lone vote against giving him a three-year, approximately $800,000-a-year compensation package, saying it’s “far too long for a president this controversial.”

Kennedy was passed over for the presidency of the University of Central Florida last year largely because of his political record.

“I know I need to earn trust,” he told reporters after Thursday’s vote.

The 62-year-old former small-town accountant worked as a top executive for the former Pillsbury Company and for the corporation that now owns Macy’s, and taught briefly at The Johns Hopkins University before becoming UND’s president in 2016.

But it’s his political record that has drawn outcry since April 10, when regents named him the sole finalist out of 160 applicants. 

Welcome to Boulder …

I’ll leave the political fight to others. Further, I am not going to argue here that the President of the University of Colorado needs to prioritize the needs of the athletic department above other needs, but I would hope that there are those with the new President’s ear who understand that the athletic department is the “front porch” of this, or any other University.

Don’t believe me? Take this story to your next lunch with the new President …

Clemson announced this past week that it has agreed to a 10-year, $93 million contract extension with coach Dabo Swinney that will keep him with the Tigers through the 2028 season. The new deal will pay him $8.25 million in 2019, and increase incrementally up to $10 million in 2027 and 2028. It is the richest coaching contract in college football history.

While the massive contract is just another example of how the elite of college football are distancing themselves from schools like Colorado, the size of the contract is not my point … it’s how the presentation was made to the Clemson Board of Trustees, justifying the largess.

The Clemson athletic director, Dan Radakovich, put together some numbers, dubbed the “Swinney Effect” …

From The Athletic

Season ticket revenue rose from $12,010,706 in 2005 to $24,856,087 in 2018, more than doubling in 13 years. And as Swinney continued to win, the price of a season ticket rose from $225 in 2005 to $395 in 2018.

“Dabo’s effect on this institution has been incredible,” Clemson president Jim Clements said. “Increase in fundraising, increase in applications, national visibility, culture … I’m thankful he wants to be with us.”

In terms of IPTAY, the university’s donor program, the annual fund revenue rose from $12,660,093 in 2005 to $35,978,000 in 2018. Licensing revenue grew tenfold from $1,356,704 in 2005 to $13,616,788 in 2018, and athletic department revenue more than tripled from $39,100,505 in 2005 to $121,713,929 in 2018.

Last in the “Value” section of “The Swinney Effect” were the number of social media followers Clemson football helped generate for the athletic department’s social brand and the number of undergraduate applicants to the school since Swinney took the helm.

Clemson’s athletics social media accounts had an estimated 100,000 followers in 2010 between Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. That number is now up to 2,934,873 with the Clemson football Twitter account having about 922,000 of those followers itself.

In 2005, some 12,463 students applied to Clemson. In 2018, 28,845 applied, with 21,430 of them coming from out of state.

“We don’t claim this piece right here (with applications), but we thought it was very interesting,” Radakovich said. “You can see that there is some correlation. This graph looks a lot like all of the other graphs that you saw.”

The positive trend across the Y axis couldn’t be missed.

Will USC’s downfall lead to USC’s domination? … 

Be careful what you wish for … you just might get it. 

Buff fans are among those who enjoyed seeing USC fall to a 5-7 record in 2018, the Trojans’ first losing record since 2000. This fall, USC will likely open the season unranked, something which hasn’t happened since 2001.

Trojan head coach Clay Helton is, to put it mildly, on the hot seat this fall.

In fact, by the time USC gets to Boulder for a Friday night game on October 25th, Helton may not be the coach. Before the Trojans face the Buffs, they face the following daunting schedule:

  • Fresno State (12-2 last year);
  • Stanford (9-4)
  • at BYU (7-6)
  • Utah (9-5)
  • at Washington (10-4)
  • at Notre Dame (12-1)
  • Arizona (5-7)

If Helton makes it to late October, CU’s first-ever win over USC might seal Helton’s fate.

Would that be a good thing … in the long run?

Could Helton’s downfall bring to the Pac-12 one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game, Urban Meyer.

Former USC great Reggie Bush is not allowed at USC games or practices because of NCAA sanctions but said that won’t prevent him from trying to help his alma mater. Bush — who will be on a new college football pregame show this fall with former USC teammate Matt Leinart, former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn and coaching great Urban Meyer — said he and Leinart would recruit Meyer to come out of retirement and take the USC job if Clay Helton struggles again this season.

“We’ll definitely be recruiting him,” Bush said. “What makes you think we won’t be recruiters? Nothing is off the table.”

Meyer, who will be traveling to Los Angeles weekly during the college football season for the show, said he has no interest in coaching right now but certainly didn’t close the door to returning in the future.

“I believe I’m done but I’ve also learned to just live in the moment,” Meyer said. “I love what I’m doing and I hope I do this for a long time.”

Let’s just hope that CU can find a way to beat USC this fall, with or without Helton in command, and see what happens …

Buff Trivia Question of the Week … The CU men’s basketball team was ranked No. 20 in an NBC Sports 2019-2020 preseason poll.

  • When was last time CU was ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll?
  • When was the last time CU was ranked in the AP poll … at all?

Answers … The last time the University of Colorado was ranked in the Associated Press poll was 40 years ago, when the Buffs entered the 1969-70 season as the nation’s No. 10 team. The magic didn’t last, however, as the Buffs were out of the polls by New Year’s Day, and finished the season with a 14-12 record.

The last time CU was ranked at all came in the 2013-14 season, when the Buffs spent six weeks in the poll. When Spencer Dinwiddie went down, however, so did the Buffs rankings. That CU team made the NCAA tournament, but was unceremoniously bounced by Pitt in the first round of the tournament, finishing with a 23-12 overall record.


7 Replies to “Random Thoughts – “The Swinney Effect””

  1. College football attendance is already on the decline due to this problem, I myself tend to watch more pro sports where the draft helps the least performing teams every year, not so at Alabama (or other powerhouses) where they just get the best recruits.

  2. The Swinney effect.10 million dollars a year. Its kind of an example of a monopoly in the capitalism system. The problem with a football monopoly is that it isnt like cars or toilet paper, things you dont care to do without. I already wont watch an Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame game unless they are playing someone with a chance to beat them. If the football monopoly grows how long will it be for even the Alabama-Clemson fans get bored watching their team beat the crap out of everyone else?

      1. you may be right. These people show up by the hundreds of thousands to watch cars go round and round

        1. Damn right ep. Its the best. And if you ain’t never been well okay then

          Buffs and NASCAR Yehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw. Lets go Bogity Bogity Boys

          1. Then you been lying to us all this time VK. Always talking about Golf, Football, and Basketball, like you really into them there sports, then letting your true red-neck background be exposed talkin’ up all that there NASCAR boring stuff. Jeez talk about destroying an image in one little Southern Email. I say to you…….”Kiss My Grits.”

          2. You windmill hole champ…….
            Lots a good ol redneck golfers…………..and BB players……………and NASCAR drivers.

            In fact lots of us ol rednecks in every state of this here dangnab good ol U S of A.

            Anyway, yup I do like the NASCAR game. And again if you haven’t been you need to go. They be having a couple of races right there in Phoenix. You should go.


            Note: And yes the track is handicap friendly

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