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Purdue Football: Life in a Welfare State - What You Can Do

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We have spent enough time pissing and moaning this week. In the final segment of this series we examine how to fix things.

Cincinnati v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Technically Purdue plays this weekend. I even have tickets and will be making the short drive to Chambana in order to watch it. Aside from that, we might as well watch the other 13 teams in the conference because every single one of them has an administration that backs its program far more than Purdue’s administration backs ours. The Tweets from Doug Griffiths and former players make that clear. Sure, we have gotten a “Yes, we’re fixing it” response from athletic director Mike Bobinski already, but I fear this will fade into the background because none of this is new. We have been writing about it here for years.

At this point even I don’t care about what is said from Purdue. I won’t believe anything until I see action, and I don’t expect any real action for awhile. The only way Purdue can get me to believe again is the following:

· Firing Darrell Hazell after Saturday if it is another blowout loss.

· Making a commitment to get a solid coach in here, with Jeff Brohm, P.J. Fleck, or Les Miles as prime examples and top candidates.

· Make the financial commitment to the program by setting a timeline for the Ross-Ade Renovations in the Purdue Football Master Plan.

· Reach an agreement between the school and the athletic department that all athletics money from the Big Ten TV deals stays within the athletic department and does not go to the university general fund. If the school itself is in the midst of a $2 billion fundraising campaign it is not going to go broke if it misses the $1.5 million contributed annually by athletics.

That’s it. Those are simple, easy fixes that will show the fans and alumni that we’re at least going to put on the mask of competing. I understand the rationale behind “Not wanting to enter an arms race” There is no way Purdue will ever outspend Ohio State, or Michigan, or the other big boys in the conference. Right now we need to simply get on the same level of commitment as Indiana, Illinois, and Northwestern. That alone would be a huge step, and once made, can be a springboard to more. At minimum, it is trying something different when it is clear that the status quo is not working. What are we going to do, get worse? Finish 15th in a 14 team league?

Remember: Purdue won regularly when it was far behind much of the rest of the conference. It can be done. Get a new coach, make the stadium improvements, and Purdue will at least be even with most of the Big Ten and have a fighting chance, all without dropping Ohio State money. Once you’re competitive anything can happen. Michigan State, Iowa, and Wisconsin have all won recently without spending insane amounts. Purdue can, at minimum, commit as much as them. Right now we’re a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, and that leg has a torn ACL.

It is time to at least acknowledge that we’re a Big Ten member and with that comes certain perks most schools would kill for. Maryland and Rutgers tripped all over themselves to join the Big Ten, don’t even get a full share yet, and they are already pushing forward to better their programs. Purdue is a charter member and continues with the status quo that is plainly not working.

And this is not even totally in reference to the football program. The athletic department as a whole, with a few exceptions, is the worst in the conference. As we have written before, it is absurd that the University of Chicago has not fielded an athletic team that competes in the Big Ten for over 70 years, but they still have more Big Ten championships than Purdue. It has been more than two years since Purdue won a Big Ten title in ANYTHING.

So what do we do? Well, forward this article to Mitch Daniels and the Board of Trustees. They hold the purse strings. They are the ones that control the checkbook. We’re not asking to become the Oregon of the Midwest with lavish facilities funded by a flood of Nike money (though if Stephen Bechtel Jr. and his roughly $3.9 billion net worth wants to throw us some coins we would appreciate it). All we are asking for is to recognize that we are a Big Ten member and that our school act like it athletically with the same level of commitment that everyone else is making. Look at Indiana. Look at Illinois. Look at Northwestern. They are all making a commitment without compromising their academic values. We can too. We have the flexibility with the new Big Ten TV deal sending $60 million a year before even a single ticket is sold.

So write to Daniels. Write to the Board. Do not give up until they finally listen. We will always be here stirring the pot as we have this week. Doug Griffiths has said some things that put Purdue in a pretty shameful light. Now is the time to act on that and show that real change is coming. We are in a sad state when I see tweets like this:

Paul is one of the few people out there more loyal than I am. He went to Maryland as well, is on the same quest to see every Big Ten stadium, and he was even in the Reamer Club and used to drive the Boilermaker Special. When you start to lose a guy like him there needs to be real, effective change, and not mere words and a band-aid on a severed limb.

And don’t even do it for the fans. Do it for the players that bust their asses every week to represent our school and earn an education, yet compete at a significant disadvantage to their peers in the conference. These young men and women are the truly loyal, representing Purdue as best they can with their commitment. They deserve better. They are Boilermakers too. We are united in this common bond.

That is my challenge to Mitch Daniels and the Board:

· Fire Darrell Hazell after Saturday if it is another blowout loss.

· Make a commitment to get a solid coach in here, with Jeff Brohm, P.J. Fleck, or Les Miles as prime examples and top candidates.

· Make the financial commitment to the program by setting a firm timeline for the Ross-Ade Renovations in the Purdue Football Master Plan.

· Reach an agreement between the school and the athletic department that all athletics money from the Big Ten TV deals stays within the athletic department and does not go to the university general fund. If the school itself is in the midst of a $2 billion fundraising campaign it is not going to go broke if it misses the $1.5 million contributed annually by athletics.

Those four things are not over the top. They are simple, common sense solutions that the other 13 teams within the Big Ten would or are doing. Why can’t Purdue do that? Let them know. Let them hear your voice. If you have already sent your voice, send it again.

president@purdue.edu

trustees@purdue.edu