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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More Smoke? WPC Surveys Its Constituents On Donation Motivation

On Monday evening of this week, the Wolfpack Club sent out a survey being conducted by a grad student to its membership. The survey, sent to members of the WPC and two other university booster clubs, examines the motivation of folks donating to the Wolfpack Club.

Following is the email:

The survey asks each respondent to answer -- on a scale ranging from "Unimportant" to "Very Important" -- the various reasons why Wolfpack Club Members donate. Reasons include, "To obtain priority seating for football (basketball)," "To promote the image of NC State University," and so forth.


Most of the survey is pretty tame, but the final question is what's worth noting: "Are you generally satisfied as a member?" Included is a entry field where WPC fans can voice their praise or criticism in their own words.

Here's where things get interesting. On the heels of some furious rumors last week that members of the NC State administration were tiring of Lee Fowler as athletic director and that the wheels were in motion for his eventual ouster, along comes a survey that provides a gift-wrapped launch pad for disgruntled Wolfpack Club Members -- the financial lifeblood of the athletics department -- to fire off their disappointment.

They have.

Here's a response from a friend of mine that I think pretty succinctly nails what your average donor is feeling these days (no doubt heightened by UNC's basketball title win last night):
I'm generally satisfied with the tangible benefits (tickets, parking, etc...) that I receive from the Wolfpack Club. I am NOT satisfied with the overall performance of the NCSU athletic department (89th in the most recent Sears Cup standings) or its leadership (AD Fowler).

My contribution (and that of my family members) would drastically increase if the school won a championship in a meaningful sport or executed a leadership change at the highest level (AD Fowler). Until then, I will give the minimum level to keep my tickets and parking.

I imagine the inbox for this particular survey is full of responses much like this; some lengthier, some more profane, almost all pretty much echoing the same sentiment -- that Fowler must go, and that his presence is bottling up potential donations that could be flowing into the WPC coffers.

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this is just the kind of response the WPC was looking for: Tangible proof that the booster program is not sprinkled with simply a few members of a "Lunatic Fringe," as Lee has dubbed them, but rather a significant number of folks out there dissatisfied with the overall health of the program eager for change and his ouster.

Some ifs:
- If there are folks on the BOT considering a change, and
- If Lee Fowler were the one potentially on the chopping block,

then it stands to reason that these BOT members would need some proof -- beyond simply the cut-and-pasted ramblings of someone on the Monkey Board that can be easily discredited -- to take to the rest of the BOT to say, "Look here. Here are the paying, donating members of our fanbase, vocalizing their displeasure with the direction of the program not only in words but in the suppression of donations."

It's a big leap at this point, but the timing of the survey is certainly interesting. Perhaps this is nothing more than a grad student's project on athletic booster donation motivation, but it comes in the wake of some pretty heady rumors and provides the very organization that stands to effect change some pretty damning ammo to do it.


  1. It would be great if this survey meant something to the "leadership" at NCSU although I doubt it. If I were Lee Fowler I would be very concerned at the timing of the survey (my fingers are crossed).

  2. how would chuck be as an A.D?

  3. Shaun on his couchApril 7, 2009 at 9:26 PM

    As an active wolfpack club donor with 5 lifetime rights to seats for basketball, I've already given my honest opinion, and it was mighty similar to your friend's reply.

  4. i don't give to the WPC because Lee Fowler is the AD. yeah, that's the ticket, that's why i don't give...