Welcome to the Big Leagues

Alternative Title:

You can’t run with the big dogs if you sit on the porch.

Or maybe:

You can’t run with the big dogs if you pee like a puppy.

Then there’s always the politician’s creed:

It’s always easy when you’re spending other people’s money.

…VCU’s overall university fee will increase $50 per full-time student for the 2011-12 school year, and the athletics department will receive a greater percentage of total fee revenue than it did in 2010-11…

Nearly two-thirds of the new fee money for athletics is targeted for improvements to men’s basketball, including helping to fund salary increases for Smart and his staff, Lepley said. Smart became a target for an opening at North Carolina State before agreeing to a contract that includes about $1.2 million in guaranteed annual compensation, roughly triple that for this past season. Smart also earned around $300,000 in bonuses this past season.

Efforts to reach VCU athletics officials Monday were unsuccessful…

I guess VCU decided that they couldn’t count on increased ticket sales to fund the new salaries.

Price of success: VCU raises student fees

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

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17 Responses to Welcome to the Big Leagues

  1. Lock 05/25/2011 at 8:57 AM #

    They’ve made more final fours this decade than we have. Hell, they’ve made more NCAA tourneys this decade than we have. Don’t think we should be patronizing them here.

  2. Ed89 05/25/2011 at 9:15 AM #

    ^Don’t think we should be patronizing them here.

    I disagree. I think bumping a guy’s salary who has been coaching 2 years up to over $1.2M is crazy for a school like VCU. He played that AD like a fiddle. No way he’s worth that esp. for a school like VCU. Good luck to him next year without all Grant’s recruits – esp. Jamie Skeen.

  3. TruthBKnown Returns 05/25/2011 at 4:29 PM #

    This isn’t really off topic, as much as it is a sub-topic, but was Smart a “target for an opening at North Carolina State”, as the article states? I mean, I’m sure he was on a long list of potential candidates, but I have to believe he was somewhere down the list. And I certainly don’t believe for a minute that we offered him the job.

    Sorry for re-hashing a discussion about the coaching search.

  4. novawolf 05/25/2011 at 4:31 PM #

    Saw this article in USAToday yesterday. Figured you guys would get around to it. As a fellow Virginian (for now), I’m right with you VA. VCU broke the bank for themselves and for their conference on this one. They aren’t equipped to pay coaches like an ACC school. And continued national prominence in their conference is not sustatinable. In a few years, IMO, several parties will regret this action. Includes VCU, their conference rivals, who’ll now have to overpay their coaches, and Mr. Smart himself. At State, if he were good enough, he could have found himself in the 2nd/3rd/or 4th best program in the best basketball league in the country. Instead he’s locked himself into an overpaid position in a mid-major and priced himself out of real promotions in the near future. His decision looks very short sighted to me.

  5. wolffpride 05/25/2011 at 5:48 PM #

    TruthBKnown Returns,

    We did offer the job to Smart. According to Debbie Yow it was the only offer before she offered Gottfried.

    I agree that he was not on the top of our list, I dont even think we knew who he was until he made his miracle run, honestly, who did? We jumped on the Shaka band wagon and we offered him with the expectation that he would be a fool to reject the offer. Now it’s looking like VCU was a fool to try and compete with a school of our caliber on a monetary level.

    Funny, If his reasoning for turning down the State job was due to the pressure of having to produce successful teams for a hungry fan base; then he really isnt going to be happy with what he has created for himself at VCU.

  6. Wulfpack 05/25/2011 at 8:22 PM #

    Really not getting the criticism here. What was VCU to do? Don’t know what the future holds for them but Shaka is a solid young coach. Anytime you can keep a guy like that even for just one more year, you’re doing your school and your program right. They’ll get loads of press next year, and recruiting is certain to be strong. What am I missing?

  7. VaWolf82 05/25/2011 at 8:35 PM #

    I’m not making fun of either VCU basketball or Shaka. I’m poking fun at the VCU adminstration that gave away money that they didn’t have knowing that they were simply going to pass on the costs to the students/parents. It’s not gambling when you play with someone else’s money.

  8. VaWolf82 05/25/2011 at 8:38 PM #

    They’ll get loads of press next year,

    But it won’t be positive press unless they’re winning. If they lose, VCU will either be ignored or made fun of. How will that help recruiting?

  9. 61Packer 05/25/2011 at 8:39 PM #

    Smart made a mistake not to take the NCSU job. Thank God he didn’t, though.

  10. wolffpride 05/25/2011 at 8:47 PM #

    Yeah, VaWolf has a point. The press they get will depend on what he shows on the court. Given the fact that he loses 6 seniors, next year will be a rebuilding year, but the headlines will ridicule VCU for paying this guy 1.2 mil while he can’t win games. No one wants to pay more for less.

    And Honestly, who wants to play at VCU. Top talent always goes to the power conferences, no secret there. He will have to have a good eye for undiscovered talent, and be able to develope it. His players last year were not his recruits. He still has a lot to prove. This is a very risky investment.

  11. novawolf 05/25/2011 at 9:07 PM #

    Use a little imagination here, please. Because Smart was not on your list, or “our list” as you call it, does not mean that he wasn’t on DY’s list. He was. We’re fans. She’s a professional. She knew exactly who he was, where he was, and what he was doing from day one, with day one being before she even considered our AD job. He appeared on your radar scope because he made the final four. He appeared on hers because he’s a good coach and that’s what she does. The run to the final four did not make him a candidate to her; it over-inflated his value. Had he not made the run to the final four, he would be our coach today, at about 1Mil. But DY, being the professional that she is, wasn’t going to break the bank, our bank, by paying him more for than what he was worth, like VCU did, or like what Maryland did. Imagine our outrage if she hired Smart for more than Roy makes, or a Roy protege (Turd) for $3Mil. Think about it!

  12. Wulfpack 05/25/2011 at 9:11 PM #

    VCU has been getting solid players for a number of years. Remember, Capel and Grant preceeded Smart. Maynard was a stud and now he’s a legit player for OKC. And I seriously doubt the press will criticize VCU next year if they fall off. Again, what were they to do, just let him walk? So, it’s ok for NCSU to offer him some cash but not for VCU? Not getting the logic. Larranaga also got an extension and cash after his final four run at Mason. Same with Stevens at Butler. It happens.

  13. VaWolf82 05/25/2011 at 9:28 PM #

    The logic is simplie….State offered money they had; VCU had to raise tuition/fees to pay Shaka. If the BB program doesn’t generate enough money to pay its coaches…then why should the general student body pay for it?

    Larranga didn’t get anywhere near $1.2M at George Mason. If Butler raised tuition/fees to pay Butler, then please provide a link and I will make fun of them as well.

    Found this on Butler:

    In AY 2009-10 we raised tuition, room, and board 3.5%, the smallest percentage increases since 1975. In AY 2010-11, the Board approved a 4.5% increase to tuition and a 4.0% increase to room and board. These two years’ increases were lower than any other year in the past decade.

    At least it doesn’t look like Butler’s students are paying for Steven’s contract.

  14. packpride_ie94 05/25/2011 at 10:20 PM #

    Nearly two-thirds of the new fee money for athletics is targeted for improvements to men’s basketball, including helping to fund salary increases for Smart and his staff, Lepley said.

    Now THAT’s the kind of spin that would make the folks in Chapel Hill proud. How can it be an “improvement” when you’re simply retaining the same guys you had last year?

  15. BloggerEsquire 05/26/2011 at 9:20 AM #

    How about: “The price of success.”

    Some (perhaps not all though) of the negative commentary surprises me. I thought the argument that success in athletics can benefit the university overall was well settled. (Example: increased media exposure leads to higher application rates –> better students)

    So VCU paid the price of admission for athletic success. Sure, it is a gamble, since Smart may turn out to be a one-hit wonder. But taking gambles seems to be part of the job if you want to take your athletic program to the next level.

  16. TruthBKnown Returns 05/26/2011 at 9:40 AM #

    wolffpride, thanks for the info. I didn’t realize Yow had admitted to offering Smart. But it makes sense that he would turn us down because, no doubt she offered him less than VCU offered him to stay. I’m sure our lower offer was commensurate with what someone in his position should get. I think $1.2 million (especially from VCU) makes him overpaid. I don’t feel so bad about him turning us down now. Who wouldn’t turn down a lesser offer for a better offer, just to stay where you are.

  17. Wulfpack 05/26/2011 at 10:17 AM #

    Larranaga received a 40 percent pay raise plus other “substantial sums” in 2007, per a Washington Post article (on the Blackberry). He also received a 75,000 lump sum annually for each season he remained at Mason (375,000 total), putting his salary at 900,000 before he left for Miami.

    Stevens’ salary increased from 375,000 to 1,000,000 after his first final four run.

    This is not at all uncommon. Smart is a rising star in the profession and VCU did well to keep him another year. You don’t just let good coaches walk.

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