I typically don’t provide my own commentary on the Blog but Donnie Jones decision to leave for UCF and our fan bases reaction has elicited strong feelings from me.
What a odd situation this is, Jones leaving Marshall for a school in the same conference. Yes, UCF has better facilities and more money (which I will talk about later) but why leave your home state and players for a lateral move? I just don’t get it and I know the rest of Herd Country is confused too. We all laughed at West Virginia University when Rich Rodriguez left for Michigan but now we know how it feels.
Why would Jones go? The only reason I can think of is money, and that is why this is our fault. Marshall fans and alumni can have a HUGE impact on Herd athletics but most turn away. The Big Green (Marshall’s official athletic fundraising arm) provides money to cover our athletic departments scholarship cost. Scholarships cost the athletic department just over five million dollars a year. As of last year the Big Green only received enough donations to cover 1.2 million of that bill. Marshall University is near the bottom of C-USA donors with a little over 2,000 Big Green members. East Carolina, who leads C-USA in athletic donors has over 16,000 members.
Now your asking “but what does covering scholarship cost have to do with Donnie Jones leaving for UCF”?
If the Big Green were capable of covering scholarship cost Marshall Athletics would be able to re-direct the money they use for scholarships to other needs, like a raise for our basketball coach. Most of us don’t realize that alumni can have a bigger impact on Marshall than the Herd’s starting quarterback. For just $50 a year YOU can help Marshall play for championships.
So why you are pointing fingers at Donnie Jones, Mike Hamrick, and others in the athletic department for Jones departure take a long look in the mirror. We could prevent this from ever happening again.
Link to join the Big Green: http://herdzone.cstv.com/sports/big-green/mars-big-green-body.html
And in case you are wondering I have been a Big Green member (Green Buffalo Level) since Mike Hamrick’s first day on the job and regret not doing it sooner.