As if we needed more proof that college boosters were out of control. This story surfaced Tuesday night and once I stopped throwing up in my mouth I decided I had to write about it.
Apparently UConn’s top football booster wants the school to return his $3 million in donations and take his family name off of the university’s football complex because he was not a part of the search for the school’s new football coach. He also wasn’t consulted when the UConn decided to hire Paul Pasqualoni for the position.
Dan Burton, CEO of Burton Capital Management, wrote a January 19 letter to UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway expressing his disappointment. Apparently Hathaway didn’t talk to Burton at all before looking for a coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. Burton called Hathaway’s actions “a slap in the face and embarrassment to my family.” Burton said he planned “to let the correct people know that you did not listen to your number one football donor.”
He then asks for his money and respect back and has since hired lawyers to enforce his demand of getting those donations back.
Though he apparently wasn’t seeking veto power in the hiring, Burton wanted his voice to be heard. He felt he’d earned that much because he is the school’s top football donor.
Burton then lays this beauty on Hathaway:
“The primary reason Randy (Edsall) took another job is because he couldn’t work with you. You are not qualified to be a Division I AD and I would have fired you a long time ago. You do not have the skills to manage and cultivate new donors.”
Ouch, go right for the credentials. Never mind the fact that Hathaway is well respected nationally, you want to know how I know Burton is really crazy? Apparently he previously sent a letter to UConn after the team returned from the Fiesta Bowl. In that letter he suggested that former Florida offensive coordinator and current Temple head coach Steve Addazio should be the Huskies’ next coach. This was after Addazio had already taken the Temple job. And we all know Addazio sucks.
Burton’s family has given more than $7 million in donations to the university for scholarships and other programs including $2.5 million in 2002 to start construction of the football complex. Burton now says that’s over, and that his family and friends will no longer donate for scholarships and coaching clinics, will pull their advertising from the football program and will transfer current scholarships away from football and into the business school. In addition, Burton’s company will also start sending its managers to Syracuse University’s business school for training instead of UConn and will no longer have its luxury suite at Rentschler Field.
So he’s not just leaving, he’s going full scorched earth on this one.
The worst part of this story? After all of that and how Burton totally insulted the school’s athletic director, members of the school’s board of trustees and the university president have already reached out to Burton to try and repair the relationship. Seriously? The guy whines like that and basically embarrasses the school because he didn’t get his way and you’re going to beg him to come back? Really?
After all we’ve read about how booster Bobby Lowder has essentially run Auburn University with an iron fist, and seeing how booster get their grubby hands on everything associated with college athletics, this story does nothing to make us feel better about things. If this is how bad things are at UConn imagine what it’s like at a real football school.
Get a life guys.