Wow, what a weekend of basketball we just saw! Nothing short of a total domination of the two closest PAC-10 rivals in this season's standings.
So I think I'll take a little time to go over some Fast Break Club stuff in this blog.
Ever since the change to make the Buck/Cardinal Club the main fund raising arm for all of Stanford's sports teams, the format of the Fast Break Club has been evolving and I have heard many of the grumbles.
So let's look at a few points and see what we can see.
Let me start by saying that the access Stanford Women's Basketball gives to its program is unprecedented and has been for a very long time. It all started out in a cozy tent behind Maples in the late 80's and hasn't changed much in over 20 years. We are able to see players and coaches in a very up close and personal setting.
I have been to games at Tennessee. Coach Summitt might come out and address the crowd. The only time I saw that was when she did her post-game radio show from the court. Many years ago, there was an "Eileen-type" in the office who had previously worked at Tennessee--she was flabbergasted at the access that was given by the Stanford players and staff. This is not to pick on Tennessee, but to point out that high level programs just don't do what Stanford does.
Unfortunately, once something is given, it is hard to have it taken away. So finding a balance of what works for fans and what works for the team is always difficult.
I admit that I am a lurker on the woman's Hoopsboard--no posting, just doing some reading to see what is going on. So, when a recent string entitled "FBC Events" showed up, I was interested. It started out as a comment on the move of post games from Arrillaga to Maples.
"I see from the e-mail that went around today that all the tents for the rest of the year are in Maples instead of Dallmar court. Does anyone know why? "
Hopefully, you have already heard of the financial issues that necessitated this change. If not, in short, it costs the Program big $$ to set up for the post game in Arrillaga. The tarp on the floor (necessary to make sure the floor is not damaged), the chairs and even the podium have to be paid for. Recently, the cost of setup was raised from $1,000 per game to over $3,500 without notice. So, the money that had been budgeted for the year is already gone.
The best work-around is to stay in Maples. The Coaches don't necessarily like it, as they cannot be as candid as they are used to being. But on the bright side, this gives access to newer fans who would not know to go over to Arrillaga at all. In addition, the Staff is trying very hard to hold Senior Day in Arrillaga.
Some say, let's pass the hat and pay for this. It probably couldn't be done, but, if we were really able to raise $3,500 per game, wouldn't it be far better spent in support of something that the team needs instead of paying for an hour of chat?
As a result of this change, the Thursday post games are back, now in the Kissick Auditorium. Yes, these used to be on the court in Arrillaga, but, again, this is not financially feasible. And yes, it can be crowded! I was there last Thursday and may I offer a hint? Folks, please sit next to each other and make seats available. There were empty seats inside, but everyone was stuck at the door. It would be great if some volunteer ushers would step up!
Remember, too, that the Pre-Game chalk talks remain in place as always.
So back to the Hoopsboard string--
"Well I'm not going to contribute to Buck/Cardinal next year or ever again. Why should I when for my contribution I apparently lost events I used to enjoy."
Contributions to the Buck/Cardinal Club have absolutely nothing to do with events that take place. The FBC is being maintained by the Program because they understand how valuable the group has been and continues to be.
At some point, when donating money to anything, it becomes a matter of whether a person donates for what they receive or for what that donation will do for the recipient. This is a very personal thing that everyone has to decide for themselves.
"Moving everything to the Buck/Cardinal Club has had a very destructive effect on the FBC. The whole 'donor' thing is pricing out folks who have supported this team for years."
How is this true? Remember, in years past, you had to show your membership badge to attend post games. Now, you just show up. Nobody knows what you have paid for.
"Also, it is hard to join. I wanted to join in September this year and found out that I missed the deadline -- according to the FBC web site, you had to donate before August 31, 2010 to receive benefits for 2010-11. I donated anyway, so -- I guess -- I will be a member starting in the 2011-12 season. Who ever heard of a fan club that you have to wait a year to get into?"
This is a tough one, but remember that the Buck/Cardinal supports all Stanford sports, so the membership calendar is set up in conjunction with their fiscal year. This results in difficult timing to join in support of all Winter and Spring sports if you are trying to join right before their seasons start. But, by selecting Women's Basketball on your Buck/Cardinal application, you are assuring that your money is designated to the Program no matter what time of year you join. And, just as important, keep in mind that this membership timing does not exclude anyone from FBC events.
"And no auction this year. In the past this has been promoted as a key fundraiser and the primary source of funds for foreign trips. It now seems to have declined in importance."
OK, this one is close to my heart! Frankly, in the past, we did not receive much feedback on the auction that would indicate that it was all that popular with attendees. We discussed this before the season and decided to give it a year break to maybe refresh it (and the Volunteers!) and create a demand. With the support of the Buck/Cardinal, it was OK to take that break for a year. And guess what? Now we hear that people are missing the Auction! So, in response, we are auctioning a jersey at the Thursday post games and we are already planning for a mid-November 2011 Auction. You can be assured that the Auction will remain the primary fund raiser for foreign trips, which can take place every four years.
I, like so many, was reluctant to join the Buck/Cardinal Club because I was certain all of the $$ would go to Football. But the results are great, according to the Coaching Staff. Their focus no longer needs to be on fund raising, so they have time to do what they do best--COACH! Instead of about 300 donors to the Program during the FBC-only days, there are now over 800 donors to Women's Basketball, all because of the Buck/Cardinal Club. That is true progress!
I hear comments about the Program--that "they just don't care anymore." That is just not true. From the get-go, the concern was always that the uniqueness of the FBC be maintained as the conversion to Buck/Cardinal took place. Our FBC group is vastly appreciated by all involved and not caring is just not in the equation. If they didn't care, all of these activities would have just gone away.
In the end it is important to remember nothing stays the same. We may not be in that cozy tent behind Maples, but our support is still a cornerstone to the grand success that is Stanford Women's Basketball. It has been, and will continue to be, a fabulous, fun, fast-breakin' good time!