14.Dec.2013 More Bob DeCarolis Incompetence?

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From a reader posted in the last thread. Some good stuff that deserves it’s own topic.

I don’t normally post, but wanted to share this fwiw.

A good friend lives in Seattle and attended an OSU business meeting for Alumni (I knew OSU hosted those meeting in Portland at the MAC, didn’t realize we apparently do the same things for alumni in Washington)

Here are his responses/notes from attending the meeting, asking BDC very specific questions during, and a follow up 1 on 1 conversation.

**”I have decided that man needs to be fired immediately. For example, football season tickets make-up the largest source of revenue per his numbers and I asked a really simple question – how many season ticket holders are there currently and what’s the goal each year as it relates to your 5 year plan? Response, “I don’t have answers to any of that.” My follow-up, “So you don’t have a 5-year plan, you don’t have goals, or you don’t even know how many season ticket holders you have.” Bobby D., “I only know roughly how many season ticket holders we have – approximately 23,000.” If I’m Ed Ray or better yet, on the Board of a major company and my CEO can’t answer a question such as this, you are fired effective immediately. How do you not know, at a minimum, how many football season ticket holders you have??? That number should be burned into the brain.”

After asking these questions to BDC, he had the following 1 on 1 with BDC.

**I pepped him for 30 minutes one-on-one after the lunch. One thing I asked him is about OSU gear in the inability to find things compared to other teams (in general). He made a bunch of excuses and then said, you can find everything online. I laughed and asked him when the last time he looked at the website. It’s terrible. I told him that if he was smart, he would look into building an API and plugging into Amazon and leveraging that business exposure and model. He looked puzzled. I also asked about Nike and he told me that he has no control over that and I understand that. One thing that will be a big improvement this next year is that there will be free AT&T wifi for provided to all carrier phones. So no more connection problems in the stadium. Bob then bitched about how cell phones are ruining the experience for fans. I told him that instead of complaining about it – complaining is not a strategy – he needs to embrace it and start building fan experience mobile aps. Maybe something like pre-ordering concessions so you don’t have to stand in that god awful Qdobe line for 30 minutes.

Anyway, wanted to share with this forum. I don’t personally know or have met BDC – so I generally take the criticism of him on this site with a grain of salt…but the conversation noted above would suggest that he isn’t the answer we need moving forward.

Hope you guys have a great Christmas and thanks to Angry for running this site and those who post on it. Go Beavs.

Good stuff. Hilarious he doesn’t know how many season ticket holders there are. I kind of agree with BDC about cell phones, but that’s more a societal issue, and I’m not sure an AD should be getting involved with that (unless, as the writer said, they prepare to embrace the madness. Fighting it is a losing battle for an AD; that’s more in the realm of satirists).

If you guys have stories like this, share them. Reality must be distinguished from the farce.

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  • Mud&Sticks says:
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    Seems to me that this is an indication that President Ray isn’t doing his job. Who’s his boss?

    A house cleaning is in order?

  • bendbeaver says:
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    Regarding the gear issue, I have one instance that might be a factor. Someone I know in town works for a company that has the option of getting a U of O logo on their product. Of course I asked why no Beav love, and she said it’s because they’d have to pay $100,000 for the rights, as it’s tied in with other schools.

  • BeavInEugene says:
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    A friend of a poster who normally doesn’t post here, asked BDC a bunch of questions. Then said friend of minimal poster has enough pull to get BDC alone for 30mins to ask him more in depth questions? I’ve seen (not going to search and link) articles with BDC where he’s rattled off season ticket numbers.

    Its on the internet, so it must be true!

    Not defending BDC…just not buying the BS shown above.

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      I tend to agree with this sentiment.
      Secondly, BDC doesn’t need to clutter his memory with figures such as the number of season ticket holders at any given time when that info is at his fingertips. Do you remember your exact property tax bill last year? No. Is that an important figure? Yes, but why bother committing it to memory?
      I’m not even in BDC’s corner, but to make a judgement based on that 3rd(?) hand info is pretty out there.

    • Jack says:
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      I share your skepticism. It’s hard to believe the AD wouldn’t know the season ticket count for any of his sports. There are only 17 of them, not 117. It’s his job to know this and more. Even if there were 117, I would expect him to know the counts. He gets paid for more than just that cursory knowledge.

      Think of it this way. You take chemistry, and you’re expected to know 118 elements and all their characteristics. That’s harder than knowing season ticket counts for the same amount, let alone one-seventh the number.

    • angry says:
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      Even if you’re right and this poster made it up (which seems dubious–who has the time/energy to make up stories about Bob D?), the over-arching sentiment that he stinks holds true.

    • HelloBeavers says:
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      I would expect that the # of season ticket holders changes frequently and he is probably given metrics in a regularly scheduled meeting that has this information. I don’t blame him for not recalling the specific figure from this months metrics report – he knows it is roughly 23,000.

      Angry complaining about nothing yet again.

      • Jack says:
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        Are you kidding? If I’m paid a half mil a year, I’m knowing that figure for each and every one of my sports. You can call me for being off by a week or two about the actual specific numbers. But those numbers tell me everything I want to know about my job security and job efficiency.

        What precisely do you think a college AD does? Do you think someone who makes CEO money gets a pass if you own stocks in said institution? Or do you just pass it off as a loss leader?

        Those are really your only two options if you don’t want to be called an ignorant idiot. Either you don’t care if your investments lose, or do don’t care… period.

  • mckalk says:
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    He must be a hell of a donor to get 30 minutes one on one with BDC. It took the Oregonian how long to get their interview where he kind of acknowledged a restlessness from the fan base? Too bad a Al Reser like figure can’t emerge and start throwing down. 2005 sounds like the last time anyone associated with OSU athletics felt any kind of pressure to perform.

    • ObjCritic says:
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      It’s telling that one has to be a wealthy donor to be heard…I know that’s the state of the sport.

      It would be interesting to see the distribution of donation amounts; I expect OSU is a school that needs to rely on many, smaller donations than few large ones.

      I’m a graduate with a successful career (from my perspective) and the financial ability to contribute and buy season tickets but I stopped because of the lack of vision, expectations, and experience quality. But my opinion doesn’t matter because I’m not a reser-type donor….and yet there’s more like me.

      Give me a well articulated vision for what “success” is, including competitiveness in all sports, sportsmanship, academics, and expected frequency of league championships or contention therefor, identify benchmarks so we – the school and the donors – can really assess progress; solicit input on how to really improve the game experience (lost and found!), summarize it, give us a prioritized list and schedule so we can assess progress, and then I’ll donate.

      I realize an AD has to consider all sports, but the stagnation of football and the joke that the basketball team has become, have to be addressed.

      I wonder if BDC ever does any kind of retreats with the coaches? I realize that not all sports are the same, and there are different factors for success, but coaches that apparently teach and recruit well (baseball, gymnastics, wrestling) might need to have the opportunity to influence other coaches….

  • wannabeav says:
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    I was invited to that gig but didn’t want to deal with Seattle traffic. Bogus post or not, the story has inspired me to go to such an event next time; seems like a good opportunity to ask bob some questions unmediated by the likes of Lindsay. And, oh, by the way, I got that end of year of appeal and sent a check in for Pat Casey’s new locker room/pavilion structure.

  • 3GBeavs says:
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    I found this post to be interesting and rings true with my limited interactions with BDC.

    I understand the skepticism regarding the poster who doesn’t normally post here. Yet I would fall in this category, infrequent posting…however I am a frequent visitor/reader. I just don’t have much to post that hasn’t been said and prefer reading the comments and observations by most of the frequent posters. To discount the information shared because it was 3rd hand or from an infrequent poster means you may miss out on some accurate insights and information.

    When I read the post, it immediately rang true of the, albeit short, conversations I’ve had with BDC over the last 10 years. He’s abrasive, curt, and communicates well that he really doesn’t give a damn what someone has to say. I’ve witnessed and experienced this first hand. I’m sure he gets his share of pain in the butt fans and alumni but it seem he treats most this way except for the very wealthy donors. While the wealthy donor is important and will always garner more attention and should be treated well….the rest of the fan base should not be looked down upon with disdain and contempt.

    Jason you make a good point BDC shouldn’t necessarily have the exact number of season ticket holders memorized. Using your property tax example…I’m sure you could tell me approximately how much your property taxes were. Say if they were $2795.32 you’d be able to tell be they were around $2800. BDC should know approximately how many season ticket holders there are.

    From the initial post:
    “I asked a really simple question – how many season ticket holders are there currently and what’s the goal each year as it relates to your 5 year plan? Response, “I don’t have answers to any of that.” My follow-up, “So you don’t have a 5-year plan, you don’t have goals, or you don’t even know how many season ticket holders you have.” Bobby D., “I only know roughly how many season ticket holders we have – approximately 23,000.””

    So it took asking twice to find out approximately 23,000 season ticket holders. The bigger issue in this exchange seems to be that there is a lack of vision and planning, or at a minimum it’s not being shared. I think people are starting to ask tough questions. Like how many season ticket holders are there? And the natural follow up: How many do you need to break even? What are you doing increase sales for the next year? Etc. I think BDC knows where the line of questioning is headed and doesn’t like it.

    The exchange also bought up the availability of gear. Bendbeaver brought up the trademark licensing and the cost of $100,000. I don’t know all the inner workings of that but what Bendbeaver brings up seems to match with my experience. I own retail establishments. Years ago we went out to try and find a supplier to provide us with Beaver merchandise as a complement to our inventory. We’d never be a huge seller of product but we could make additional sales that would help our business and spread the Beaver merchandise. Funny thing was I couldn’t find a distributor that sold quantities small enough for us to take the risk on purchasing product….UNTIL…..I got hooked up with the death star….the University of Oregon Office of Marketing and Brand Management who has a merchandising site that provides retailers like me access to over 200 suppliers and the ability to purchase in smaller quantities at wholesale pricing. And at the time they supplied both Oregon and Oregon State merchandise…through the University of Oregon.

    Like ObjCritic, I am a graduate with a successful career and the ability to buy season tickets and donate….and in fact I have been a season ticket holder for 17 years. I haven’t pulled the plug yet but am about to.

    What’s clear is there are more people like me, objcritic, and maybe even this donor referenced in the post. I think Angry’s right, until people start voting with their wallet the current administration will continue the same course.

    Right now BDC isn’t listening.

    • angry says:
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      Good post.
      Thing is, Bob D has no incentive to listen. Right now he has all the big donors and old guard saying the status quo is fine. So why would he listen to anyone challenging what he’s done? Instead he writes off that faction of the fanbase as loons who expect to much (not directly, but through actions and subtle comments), and the old guard/donors eat it up.

      • Bill says:
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        I don’t think there are any big donors out there. OSU gets about 10 million in donations (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/schools/finances/). There’s around 6000 donors (based on what I’ve seen in the osu announcements).

        That works out to $1666 per donor.

        Other than Reser’s widow, I doubt anyone is contributing what would be considered a large amount.

        • Beavergopher says:
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          Other than JasontheBeaver.

        • TheRtotheH says:
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          Guys, great post here, I’m glad this poster illuminated what’s really going on. I sat at a function in Newberg a few months ago put on for boosters to raise money for the baseball lockerroom. Bob showed up even though his presence wasn’t wanted. I listened to him make excuse after excuse to the group. He blames Larry Scott for not getting a DirecTv deal done, he blames the state legislature for mandating the university’s general fund limits on athletics, he blames title 9 restrictions, he blamed his Parkinson’s, he blamed Oregon. You name it, he’s got an excuse for it, and he’s gotten so polished at making excuses you almost sympathize with him.

          Having said that, the donors in the room didn’t buy it for a second. One donor questioned him for the $6mm Learfield sports buyout, basically stating that is the single worst radio contract of all time given how poor the radio exposure is and how hard it is to find beaver games on the radio in Portland. Having to pay that out at that level is laughable. Booster then asked who signed that contract, and Bob said he did.

          Another guy asked why aren’t we an Adidas school versus being a Nike school in Oregons shadow. Bob said Nike paid us $50k more than Adidas offered. The booster then offered to donate the difference just so we didn’t have to wear Nike like the Ducks. Bob laughed it off.

          Someone questioned the Lavonda Wagner firing and how it was handled, and why we continue to give contract extensions to men’s basketball coaches who haven’t accomplished anything. Again, Bob dodged the questions.

          At the end of the night I witnessed two boosters say they will only give money to buy out Bob, nothing else until he’s gone. My hope is that they stick to their word. There is no worse Athletic Director in the country than this guy.

    • Jack says:
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      I don’t think it’s a matter of content except for the numbers for me. We all know Bobby D lacks vision. He’s bean counter. And as such, recalling simple facts for each and every one of his sports should be a function of just closing his eyes… because he should be able to rattle off the numbers in his sleep.

      I’m also a little dismayed at the number itself. 23k was surpassed in 2001, and I thought we would be pushing 30k by now. Remember back in 2010 when Valley View seats were snapped up and we reached something like 26.6k? Didn’t they have a plan at that time for 12k by 2012?

      Unfortunately, Bobby D’s demeanor toward a majority of that potential 12k combined with a poor product scared off more than 3k people?

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