To say that Wolfpack Nation is seething mad tonight would be akin to calling the eruption of Mount St. Helen’s in 1980 a loud bang.
It simply doesn’t begin to cover it.Â This is not about losing a game in the first round of the ACC Tournament, not even the fact that it is the second year in a row.Â This is a loud yell of disgust directed towards what they perceive as over twenty years of collective incompentence not only in men’s basketball but across the board in the executive offices in Brown-Weiseger.
This time, “wait until next year” won’t work.
These are the things being said tonight:
“Iâ€™ll be on the phone with the Wolfpack Club tomorrow. If Lee Fowler is going to be around much longer, my 2009 â€œred white and youâ€ payment just split in half. They will know why.”
“At this point, I do not think I will purchase tickets [for basketball] next year. This will be the first time in a long time.
“Iâ€™m tired of spending my money which by doing so just enables Lee to stay in the black and keep his job. Iâ€™m tired of â€œsell outsâ€ and thousands upon thousands of empty seats.”
“If anyone can look at the performance of Fowlerâ€™s hires and defend him, then I would like to meet them and have a conversation. Iâ€™m sure the only way theyâ€™d be able to do it is with a discussion about being in the black and having such a low budget. That is a loserâ€™s mentality.
perhaps the best summary is this one
Weâ€™ve had season tickets every year at the ESA/RBC. I was there when we beat Georgia to open the building. I was there when Brian Keeter couldnâ€™t quite make the shots to score 100 on UNC in the magical 8-win season of theirs. Hell, I remember Mean Gene and Slappy, and the time we beat Duke when it showed.
The sad part? Those are my best memories of NC State basketball. I have that 20th Anniversary video of the â€˜83 team, and thats it. I got my picture taken with David Thompson at a womenâ€™s game once. My dad was an undergrad in â€˜74, and he was in Albuquerque that night in â€˜83. For nearly 20 years now, I have sat and waited for my Wolfpack to step back in to this top tier of basketball that I have heard so much about.
I was born in 1989. Four months after the last ACC Title of any kind. Exactly a week after Personal Fouls came out. I know all about the history. I can imagine what it would be like to pull for a relevant team. Hell, my mom went to UNC. Trust me, Iâ€™m aware of what itâ€™s like.
If we ever want to become what we were, and what we deserve to be, now is the time we have to do something. Lee Fowler cares about as much for the health of our athletics department as Dick Baddour does. We need someone in here who cares, and is willing to man up and treat this program with the dignity its earned. Lee Fowler has no right to pilot this ship.
There is only one thing about NC State that is what it should be, and thatâ€™s us. The fans. I donâ€™t care how much the administration insults us or the media derides us. We pay for this program, and god damnit we love and care about this program. Lee Fowler didnâ€™t sell out Carter-Finley 8 years in a row, we did. Lee Fowler didnâ€™t make us average in the top-15 in basketball attendance under Herb, we did. And we, more than anyone else, deserve to be listened to.
Those are excerpts of comments here at Statefans Nation, and they are a perfect reflection of what I have heard from my own friends in person and on the phone following the game.
The situation is very simple and perfectly clear: these feelings are not reflections of “fifty lunatics in chat rooms” or message board commandos trying to stir things up for their own amusement.Â These are a large number of responsible, reasonable adults with level heads –many are alumnae, Wolfpack Club donors and season ticket holders who have reached their breaking point.Â They are all hard-core supporters of NC State and the Wolfpack teams.Â They’ve suffered through thick and thin — and now they are saying that enough’s enough.
In an economic recession this deep, Lee Fowler is playing with fire if he seriously pisses off the rank and file donors to NC State athletics.Â Yet another dismissive, vapid statement from him towards his fanbase would likely do just that. If even half of the current donors follow through on their threat to reduce donations or not buy tickets, then the Athletic Department has a very serious problem — and one it cannot ignore. If folks start abandoning their LTRs for basketball (where there is no binding contract to continue payments) and stop buying season tickets, they wonâ€™t be able to fill up Reynolds for menâ€™s hoops much less the RBC.
That, obviously, would be a very huge problem for NC State University.Â And one that comes at a very bad time, what with folks squeezing every nickel out of every dollar and many worrying about the safety of their jobs.Â Not only that, new graduates are entering a job market with roughly a 10% unemployment rate — making many of them an unlikely source to fill the coffers any time soon. Money is tight everywhere and not many have much extra laying around to back a program that they perceive has a leader that they cannot believe in.
In short, Fowler needs to speak quickly, plainly and for a change, without condescension to his real employers: not the Board of Trustees, but the 20,000+ people who get out a checkbook every year and send in their hard-earned money to support the NC State Wolfpack.