With all the coaching changes happening, and the futures of many programs in question, what could Oregon State do to improve its lot in the game? There are many thoughts swirling around, some from the standpoint that the Beavers need a clean sweep, top to bottom, while others think just some fine tuning is needed.
I know what you all are thinking. What does Peter 71 think? Glad you asked!
I am obviously an annoyingly positive person when it comes to Mike Riley. There is a lot to like there and for some, a lot to dislike. But I like Mike, always have. And if you look at the last few years, he has made changes each offseason. I have gone over those before in past posts, but this year there are some tweaks he could make that would pay huge dividends.
There are three things that I think they can do that would benefit the program greatly, and they have nothing to do with coaching changes and everything to do with innovation.
1. Boy, that Kickstarter deal sure is great . ..
For those that don’t know, Kickstarter.com is a website where people can put their business, creative, or whatever endeavors they can think of on the site and ask people to help them fund their project/goal. It is widely popular and very well respected among the younger population of Beaver Nation. It also is a good model for getting things done. If you want to see OSU have the means to buy out a contract, start a kickstarter for funding the buying out of contracts specifically. While I think this is misguided, it is a very powerful (ie monetary) way to get a point across.
Donations can be earmarked.
So you could also start a West Side of Reser campaign that would be set up to specifically fund the building of the west side of Reser.
The thing with Kickstarter is that it requires a lot of planning and usually involves some sort of pay out to the donors. This is why I like the model more than the actual site. Oregon State should create a capital campaign kickstarter donation site. Hook it up directly to the online purchase of ticket sales and give people the option of funding a project in addition to buying their tickets and donating to the general fund. And then make a link to this site available on their current site.
The reality is even if you are playing a bunch for your tickets, just like taxes, the money goes directly to an entity that you don’t trust to do what is best with. But if you could also drop an extra 10 or 50 or 500 dollars into a fund that has only one goal and it is a goal you love, you might do it.
More importantly, it gives those of us that are not big donors an opportunity to drop a small amount of money into something that will make a difference. If I see that the grandstands for the new track are $4000 from being completed, I might donate $50 to that because it is within swinging distance. Or if i own a company and am a huge track fan, I might offer a matching program.
Basically, you could create a series of funds and open them up via the ‘interwebs’ to the general public. Here are a few ideas I have for potential campaigns:
1. North End Zone/VFC Renovation
2. West Side Reser renovation
3. Track Stands
4. Gill Renovation
5. Debt Reduction
6. Coaching salary fund
7. Ticket subsidy fund
Even if they never meet their goals or don’t offer much, it gives you a good gauge of what fans are behind and what is important to them when planning changes or future promotions.
But the main thing that it does is shows recruits what you are working on and what direction the program is headed. If I can show a simple thermometer-based graphic of the funding goal and the funds that have already been donated projects to a recruit and tell them that this is where we want to be and they can take us there, that is a powerful image.
2. Make some stadiums for ants.
In the club area of the stadium or somewhere you take recruits on their tour, build a “Beaver Future” room or area. Just like the idea above, this is putting a visual representation of what could be in front of players and asking them to help build it. Get scale models of the new west side of the stadium and blueprints, and CAD drawings, so recruits can see the future of your program. While other schools can show you a big new stadium, one unique side effect of the way OSU built their stadium is that they can sell you in chunks. For example, “You, class of 2014, can build this endzone.” or “You, basketball class of 2015 can help give Gill a facelift.” Let your potential players and fan base dream a little bit. And, as was popular when Pettibone was here (though not executed well) Beavers are Builders, so show everyone what you want to build. Plans can always be changed, but the challenge to future players and fans who want to donate is powerful. Fan A may not open their wallet for the current AD if nothing is going to change, but they may open it if you show them what their money is going toward.
3. Hire more recruiting help.
Even if it is just administrative. Get more bodies involved in the 24/7 game of recruiting. Get people that just use other people’s twitter accounts or Facebook accounts to stay in touch with players. Or people that put together highlight films of players or game film, and prepares them for viewing so that it is easier to see them. Or staff members who just surf HUDL all day long and look for players that fit needs of the team. Or who contact the Dirk Knudsons of the world and make sure they get love and keep OSU in the back of their minds. Even if they send you a bunch of kids that are not quite up to Pac-12 standards, the one they do send you that is a steal will make it worth it.
OSU does a lot with a little, but everyone has a limit on how many hours they can work in a day. I believe it is 24. But two people can work 48 hours, so bolster the office with people that can help out. Alabama has a 30-person recruiting team that is always on the verge of being illegal. All I want to see is maybe two or three more staff members, one of them being a social media expert who just keep tabs on players and shows some love them. Everyone wants to feel like they are your top priority and it is a lot easier to make 100 kids feel like they are No. 1 if you have enough staff to pull it off.
Always remember, better athletes magically make coaches appear smarter. So if there are ways you can get better athletes, winning gets easier . . .