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Morgan Burke Unveils Plan 2020

Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke released the plan for the next six years concerning Purdue sports.

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday a large e-mail was sent to all John Purdue Club Members with the details concerning Purdue Athletics' long-term vision under Plan 2020. It is the plan that will guide Purdue for the next six years and this is the full letter that Morgan Burke released:

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics takes great pride in its role as a front porch to Purdue University. We embrace the responsibility of uniting alums, forging lifelong ties with students and enticing future Boilermakers to apply for admission, all while providing opportunities for more than 500 student-athletes each year to pursue excellence in competition and in the classroom.

In 2008, we unveiled our strategic plan for the six-year period through 2014, a road map that guided us along an exciting journey to improve performance. On the next page, you will find a recap of our accomplishments during the period.

Now, as we embark on the next six years, we present "Plan 2020." It is an epilogue to our strategic plan, designed to help us move into that elite status of departments nationwide that consistently have their teams ranked in the top 25 while graduating their student-athletes at an 85 percent rate, a dual goal we call the "25/85 Club." Precious few of the 351 Division I universities achieve that lofty status, but that remains our ambition. We know as we climb the Directors' Cup standings the competition gets fiercer. We pledge to continue working hard.

On behalf of the student-athletes, coaches and staff, thank you to our 8,000-plus loyal and generous John Purdue Club members. We share your appetite for winning, and we appreciate you sharing our vision of striving to do it the right way. Your investments pay off in championships today and in experiences that will provide a lifetime of benefits for our student-athletes.

For those in the TL:DR crowd, this is basically the "We're trying, please keep giving us money. As we have seen in the past, the bottom line is what is most important to Mitch Daniels and Co. Right now Purdue is nowhere close to having all of its teams in their respective top 25s. In fact, other than Men's indoor track, none of them are there. Let's dig into the numbers deeper, from plan_2020.0.pdf :

When looking at only the 20 sports that we sponsor, our finish increased an average of seven spots per year. On average, 11.6 teams earned NCAA postseason opportunities annually (with highs of 14 in 2011-12 and 12 in 2013-14), while 8.8 had upper-half Big Ten Conference finishes (with highs of 14 in 2009-10 and 12 in 2013-14). Women's golf won  the 2010 NCAA Championship, while five teams won Big Ten regular-season championships and five squads captured conference tournament titles. To hit the target of a top 25 Director's Cup finish, 16 of our 20 teams need to qualify for postseason competition, with eight or more placing in the top 16 or higher.

This is a great goal. I love it. There is no way in hell we're anywhere close to achieving it, however. Already in 2014-15 women's volleyball and football failed to reach the postseason (though volleyball was absolutely robbed). It doesn't look good for women's basketball right now (though I guess the women's NIT would be postseason), and technically the CBI for the men would be the postseason. Going into the spring there are not great hopes for softball or baseball, either.

That's just postseason qualification. Getting eight teams into the top 16 is going to be virtually impossible this year. Academics also continue to be a focus, and this is something I completely agree upon. This is also why, when there has been such outcry against Burke & Co., I have not advocated cutting funding for John Purdue Club because much of that money goes towards scholarships for the kids that are mostly here to get an education and it happens to be paid for by the sport they play.

As we have seen, the fiscal side of things is critical, and here is part of that plan:


Purdue Athletics is a self-supporting auxiliary enterprise - one of just seven such NCAA Division I programs currently - that receives no university or state funding and writes a check to the university for scholarships (currently more than $10 million annually). Nearly $130 million was invested in facility construction and renovation, highlighted by the MackeyComplex project, Alexander Field, Brees Academic Center, soccer complex and softball stadium. We believed that eliminating the remaining obvious facility deficiencies was critical to our attaining the 25/85 vision, and we elected to invest the vast majority of the incremental television revenue to do so. We were able to match each dollar of private donations with $3 from that revenue stream to accomplish the $130 million investment. In addition, Intercollegiate Athletics committed $12 million to the Krach Leadership Center out of Big Ten television revenue. John Purdue Club membership stood at an average of 8,370 annually, and growth in this area is critical if we are to achieve our 25/85 vision.

Pretty much Purdue is screwed without the Big Ten money coming in. I continue to laud Burke for what he has done with the facilities improvements, as they were greatly needed. What this does, however, is merely get Purdue on par with the rest of the Big Ten in terms of places to play. It does diddle-squat for actually winning. What Purdue is doing here is asking for more money and more donations. I am at the lowest level of JPC at a mere $200/year, but if you added 1,630 new members at that rate to get to 10,000 (A reasonable goal) you get an additional $326,000 in revenue. Since we do write that $10 million check to the school for scholarships, and much of the JPC money goes to scholarships, improving membership can greatly help.

Much of the rest of the plan details how the athletic department plans to develop in five areas: Athletic, Development & Welfare, Fiscal, Integrity, and Image. Some of the highlights of each plan

Athletic - The biggest focus is on recruiting and improving that process. I like this, as it is much needed for football. If you want to read the full plan the document is linked above.

Development and Welfare - A lot of this is teaching incoming athletes about the services they have available to be successful. It receives bonus points for embracing the Wooden Pyramid of Success.

Fiscal - I was hoping for a more detailed plan on the South End Zone project, but its only mention is to update the Master Plan to include it. The rest is basically "Find more, bigger donors and increase ticket sales."

Equity & Integrity - Basically, "We don't want players getting arrested."

Image - This section has a very, very interesting phrase in it:

In this day of "over-reporting" and misinformation, serve as the decisive source of accurate and timely material and strengthen our position as our own media entity.

Well now. This sounds a little like Pravda. They are trying to control the message and be the sole media source for everything, which is virtually impossible in this day and age. All you need is one football player saying he is transferring on Twitter (Dalyn Dawkins, perhaps), and you're already not the sole entity.

It goes further, too, when you look at the Metrics section:

Image Goal

Web Traffic: total monthly hits and unique visitors

That is the sole image goal. Basically, they want to have all Purdue sports news traffic to themselves. That means they view GBI, The Indy Star, ESPN, and event his humble site as competitors. That's not a good view to have.

So there you have it. You can review the entire document for yourselves, as I have linked it above, but have at it in the comments.