Friday, March 2, 2007

A letter from a 4-time MAC champion and All-American

Dear President and Athletic Director:

The Mid American Conferences' past and future recognition and glory lies in the Olympic Sports. (By the way, that is what they are called today, not non-revenue) but my guess is you are too out of touch with the real world to understand such a marketing concept.

Stop dreaming and spending. Football on the Mid-American Conference level is a joke. Nobody cares about it, that is why nobody attends, and that is why it will never be on par to the Big Ten and other schools.

Eastern Michigan University, where I graduated from, gate revenue last year and all the other years was zero. However, every spring and summer, members of our track team make national championship teams, Olympic teams or club teams where, while the runner is competing during Prime-time on Saturday afternoons, I hear the announcer mention our University name 5-12 times in the 4 minute time span that our runner is competing. This is called public relations and brand recognition. Are University presidents and athletic directors so insulated from the real marketing world that they don't understand such advertising is worth millions to the university every year? (and during an Olympic year even more?)

Keep chasing the football dream that will ALWAYS just cost you money and in the process make you blind to the realities of brand recognition that Olympic sport success can bring to any MAC school. Keep closing your eyes until the regents some day demand answers to why football is sucking the life out of Olympic sports while at the same time breaking the University bank. Someday the regents will wake up and hold you accountable and you too will lose your jobs just as Judith Bailey at Western Michigan where her own stupid moves did her in.

Dumb, dumb dumb, dumb, dumb. Go back to marketing 101 next time you walk past your business building and learn about building a brand and brand identity. You will find the most economical sport to build a brand is with the Olympic Sports, not second-rate football teams nobody gives a rip about.

Gary Bastien
Eastern Michigan University, Class of 1981
4-time Mid-American Conference Champion, track & field
4 time NCAA Division I finalist and 2 time All-American
1984 Olympic Trials finalist
1983 Pan-American Games team member
25 years marketing some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the =

1 comment:

Lori said...

Your words ring true. The whole situation could be resolved if the football coach stepped forward and made a monumental decision. Start cutting a few scholarships every year and passing them back to T&F and swimming. And cut 20 players or so of his 100+. Football has gotten out of hand at OU, and they need to quit trying to be OSU. Thanks for your letter.