January 26, 2011

College Football Donor Wants $3 Million Back: Major UConn donor Robert Burton wants $3 million in donations back and for his name to be taken off the school's Burton Family Football Complex. Burton said he was not consulted by Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway before Paul Pasqualoni was hired as football coach, breaking an agreement he had with Hathaway's predecessor. "You are not qualified to be a Division I AD and I would have fired you a long time ago," Burton wrote in a letter to Hathaway. "You do not have the skills to manage and cultivate new donors."

posted by rcade to football at 09:17 AM - 9 comments

Bobby Lowder must be wondering why some guy who is still learning how the booster game is played would be having such a thorough meltdown and public hissy fit over what amounts to small potatoes by SEC standards.

posted by beaverboard at 10:23 AM on January 26

Can't argue with big bundles of cash, and UConn is finding that out. Why the school would risk the flow of donations to hire Pasqualoni, of all people, is questionable. True, you don't want donors holding the program hostage with their demands, but why they feel the need to hire Pasqualoni anyways is beyond me. The guy watched the Syracuse program implode around him, so what makes anyone think he'll be a success at UConn?

posted by dyams at 10:28 AM on January 26

I went into this story thinking Burton would be a huge douchebag. He didn't disappoint me, but I also can see his point, at least to a certain extent.

Here's a guy who obviously knows football, has been intimately involved with the UConn program and is (I'm guessing) their biggest donor. Why would an AD not include that guy in the search, even if he's a pompous windbag (as evidenced by the "personal friend of Billy Graham crap)? He's your meal ticket, and as dyams said, bags of money make your voice heard.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:35 AM on January 26

He is their biggest football donor. I added a link to Burton's letter. He's got a huge ego and he clearly liked to wave his johnson around at UConn, but it was a major mistake for the AD to not keep him in the loop during the new coach hire.

posted by rcade at 10:40 AM on January 26

Why should Burton think that his donations should give him special access to a collegiate football program? This "gift" and the expected access is part of the problem with collegiate sports, NCAA rules, IMO. Or maybe it was just easier for UConn to upset Burton by excluding him from the search process than it would have been to ignore his choice. Perhaps UConn took the lesser of two evils...

posted by yzelda4045 at 01:52 PM on January 26

..he clearly liked to wave his johnson around at UConn

That could get him in trouble regardless if he's their biggest football donor.

posted by BornIcon at 02:29 PM on January 26

Whoa whoa whoa, A donation is a donation. Take his name off of the buildings per his request, and keep the money. Time to part ways. Things will never be the same. He can't recall his donation to the college any more than he could withdraw his donation from the girl scouts or the united way. Judge Judy would throw this out. A donation is a gift.

posted by scuubie at 07:28 PM on January 26

Why should Burton think that his donations should give him special access to a collegiate football program?


A donation is a gift.

I assume it's also tax-deductible, and if UConn return it, his accountant's going to have to do a bit more work before April 15th.

posted by etagloh at 08:22 PM on January 26

Not every multi-millionaire booster can make it work like Phil Knight.

posted by Newbie Walker at 10:00 PM on January 28

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