The press release was yesterday. ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard signed a new 2 year extension until 2014. The previous extension was through 2012.
At first when I heard about this, I figured it wasn't REALLY that big of a deal. He did not get a raise, as he will be making the same amount as when he signed his previous extension.
So the question to me is, why is everyone getting all worked up?
There are two takes on Jamie Pollard thus far by the Cyclone Community.
The first being that Jamie Pollard is a complete failure. Basketball and Football haven't done well during his tenure. Sure, Women's Basketball and Volleyball have had success, but those were not Pollard's hires... Sure, the budget has increased and there have been some nice facility upgrades, but Pollard was able to get the money on selling hope and has failed to deliver. He's duped us fans into giving the department money, and has not walked the walk.
This take is the angle the radio talk heads and other media personalities tend to take. I can't really blame them, as it generates calls, ratings, and gets people fired up. The problem that I have with the above take, is that those people do not understand what it takes to be successful in college athletics.
Money and success in these big sports (particularly football) is like the "Chicken and the Egg" argument. They both depend on each other. If you're successful you'll bring in money, but you need money to be successful.
Jamie understands this, and the fact that donors paid in record amounts at ISU means that they understand this as well. At the same time, it's somewhat understandable if some donors are frustrated. People did pay a lot of money, but they haven't seen any results in the wins column. I really do think that those wins are coming.
What they may see (and what we are seeing) is that some of those donations helped with recruiting. Nicer facilities makes you a more attractive program. The basketball program had a great off season, and the football team has been bringing in athletic talent that has not come to ISU in the past.
The other take is that Pollard is doing a good job, considering the hand he's been dealt. ISU is a difficult place to have success, especially since the Big 12 has formed, as schools like Texas and Oklahoma are difficult to compete with financially and athletically. Pollard has had some bad luck, and now with McDermott finally figuring it out and the hiring of Paul Rhoads the programs will indeed go to the next level. Upgrading the facilities is a success, and overall there are enough things in the pipeline to see the program is better off now than a few years ago. Let's wait a few more years to see what McDermott does now that he has the talent, and now that the football program has a capable coaching staff.
I personally believe the above take is how most ISU fans feel. We'd all love to see the programs do better, but there are better days ahead. The negative take is what the media, and how a loud minority of fans feel. From my experience, the people who tend to complain about Pollard are non-season ticket holders, and some times are not even ISU fans.
This brings me back the original question though. Is this REALLY that big of a deal?? Is adding 2 more years and holding his salary flat bad? Is there someone out there at would come to ISU that would be an upgrade?
I would agree the timing is a bit strange, as others have asked why not wait until Basketball or Football reaches the postseason, but perhaps there's more to this story than we know. Perhaps Pollard was shopping around, or some other schools made some overtures to him? In the world of college athletics, hirings, firings, and job searches are all done through backchannel discussions that are hard to trace back. Perhaps there is some other reason that we do not know of, but whatever the case is, ISU clearly felt like they needed to make sure he was locked up until 2014.
Some pundits say that there's NO WAY Pollard is getting other offers to leave... That's what those same pundits were saying about Chizik about 6-7 months ago. They were saying how there's NO WAY Chizik could leave; how coaching at ISU and going 5-19 would damage his chances to coach somewhere else. That he'd have to stay here until he turned it around because only UNTIL then would he get his career back... Well guess how that worked out? I've come to realize that the pundits are often full of it and they really do not know what they're talking about.
My own opinion is that we're lucky to have an AD that is as ambitious as Pollard is. He's trying to change a culture of losing into winning, and it's a tough battle. It's his first AD position, and he's learning on the fly. I'm sure he'd admit to making mistakes, but I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's learned from those mistakes. I still believe ISU will get to a level we have not seen before, where bowl games and NCAA bids are more of a regular thing. I guess we will have a better picture of Pollard's legacy in the coming years.
So fellow Cyclone Fans, how do you feel? Cast your vote and share in the comments below!