Hokie Club Donations per Andy Bitter

Andy Bitter wrote a good article today summarizing how poor VT athletic donations are. VT received $22.3 million in donations for 2019 compared with:

Clemson - $40.5 million
Louisville - $35.6 million
UVA - $27.6 million

VT is 39th in total Athletic Department revenue.

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VT is 39th in total Athletic Department revenue.

Worth noting that total Athletic Department revenue takes into account TV money (and licensing), both of which VT falls behind in. Also worth noting that not all athletic departments need the same revenue - for example, because Clemson has less sports/athletes than VT, they need less money.

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One spot behind....Rutgers.

One spot ahead of...Maryland

That's the company we are keeping.

We put the K in Kwality

Oh, trust me, I agree that it's a problem. I'm just saying that increasing donations isn't the only thing that can/should increase. In 2017, Alabama brought in ~$10M more than VT in Licensing, ~$18M more than VT in donations, and about $28M more in TV/distribution rights. Source.

If VT donations remain unchanged, but we had a TV deal half as good as Alabama and our Nike deal/other licensing was half as lucrative, VT bring in an extra $28M. According to this list, that would bump us from 39th in revenue to 24th in revenue.

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Assuming we are stuck with lesser apparel/licensing deals we are left with funneling our money to football (cutting non revenue sports) and donating.

For reference: Clemson is #27 on the total revenue list. I imagine Clemson will rise as they continue to put out a great product , but it shows how their giving and investment in football has made them competitive regardless of total revenue.

Yea, but my point was you can't blame only donors and fans for the limited revenue. We're caught dealing with mistakes by Weaver and Swafford. Unfortunately, I don't see an alternative to the TV deal. I think licensing could improve depending on the specifics of the Nike deal. But I agree it appears that donations are the easiest way to make up the difference.

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>>I don't see an alternative to the TV deal.

Swofford is still obfuscating obscuring and some other o word the TV situation. Way too complicated to conclude you don't see an alternative unless you're a media guru. Fire Swofford let someone with no North Carolina connection get 7% of any revenue increase. Interview 50 candidates for that position.

That would fix your vision problem.

I imagine the TV gap will close by $5-10 million in 2020 as the first full year of ACCN revenues are distributed.

It's actually worse than that ND, PSU, Miami, USC among schools that are likely higher but don't report. Also includes Pitt, Duke and Baylor who may bring in more.

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I highly doubt Pitt, Miami, and probably Duke bring in more revenue than VT.

This isn't total revenue it's donations.

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I would doubt that even more. There's not enough alumni from those schools to get the donation money. More people donate to Duke the university then they do to the Athletic Department. The group of big donating Iron Dukes is really really small.

Same goes for Pitt and Miami, the alumni base isn't there. Nevin Shapiro is still in jail

Best idea I've seen so far. Stop reporting. Get some Miami coeds to get pictures with your 20 that gives 80 and you're done for a decade. Best don't let the house fall in VT fund raising strategy I've seen yet. Lets not kid ourselves that is the strategy here (not let the house fall in).

Obviously we want that to increase but not as bad as I thought. loluva is coming off a relavent national championship and the gap isn't that big. We want to be better, we need to be better but not as bad as I thought.

The article also mentioned how bad our deal with Nike is.

Of course that's different than donations.

I always thought that was an uncharacteristic slip up on the part of Whit, but he may have felt pressured to get SOME kind of deal there, as my impression was that it was all but signed when he arrived.

I'm broke

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I'm broker. Buy me a beer?

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

By the way, this would be a good year to raise some money, given that there's a re-seating coming up this year.

Of course:

A) I'm not a season ticket holder, and
B) I don't even know what my number is.

So I just want my number to be decent, just because.

Edit: By the way, when does the sheet with your priority number come out?

It should be comin out soon. I think maybe March, before the re-seating occurs.

The annual donation deadline is 3/31/20, so I'd expect the Hokie Club to mail out priority rankings probably 2nd week of April.

Hopefully we can improve

Hokie Club member since 2017

Hokie Club should not delete people's accounts for one.

And for another you should know your ranking when you log-in, not just once a year.

Because, you know, why wouldn't you?

Because they don't count pledges just money in hand which isn't due until March. Your ranking could change weekly or monthly based on other people's or your donations coming in.

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But computers can calculate that in real time. It's not hard, the Hokie Club just doesn't seem to put an emphasis on customer service.

But it's not accurate for anything. Your ranking means nothing until last day of giving year. Yes but this is a really really low priority item.

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It's also more confusing than its worth. People will see the number and then get angry and confused when it changes.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

Yeah, having called today, I do believe this is true.

My overall point is the Hokie Club does not realize we are their customers. The sense I get is that they expect people to give money without feeling valued. Doing little things geared toward customer happiness could go a long way to increasing the money raised.

But it's not accurate for anything. Your ranking means nothing until last day of giving year. Yes but this is a really really low priority item.

Actually, this is very true.

I called today, to get my "ranking".

But it is, in fact, meaningless, as many folks haven't donated for this year yet. What's probably more meaningful is your ranking from LAST YEAR, which isn't what they give you now if you ask.

So while I was curious about my ranking, and couldn't find my paperwork from last year, I realize that what they told me on the phone today doesn't really mean anything until the end of March, which is when it's recalculated for next year's seating assignment.

Doesn't mean they couldn't have a "dummy counter", that gave information in real time, with an explanation of why it's relatively meaningless.

What would probably be more useful is a calculation of all your points online, so you can verify that it's accurate based on what you've given, your ticket purchases, etc.

Yeah, the real-time counter is definitely misleading and virtually useless. They showed it on the "new" website they rolled out a few years ago and it would change drastically at the end of March every year. You are definitely correct that your prior year's deadline ranking is more useful than your current ranking at any moment in time. Because of how the formula changed 3 years ago that equates the vast majority of your points to your cumulative donation, for most people (esp anyone that has been in the HC for 5+ years), their ranking isn't likely to vary all that much year to year. It's not like the old formula where the foundation of your ranking was your giving level for that year, and by going up or down a level you might move a thousand spots.

They actually had a breakdown of your priority points (e.g. 200 points for donations, 30 points for season tickets, etc., 50 points for consecutive years donating, etc.) on the website that came out a few years ago, but then they rolled the donation website into HokieSports a few months ago and it doesn't appear you can verify your points per category anymore. You can verify your donation history but that is it. Would definitely be nice to be able to verify your total points are correct. Would also be nice to see a history of your account year over year (since 2017 when the formula changes), e.g. Year, Total Points, Rank out of Total.


I had to recover my account today and my donation history is incomplete. Both the Hokie Club and I have no idea if my history and point level will be corrected, but they assured me we'd know by April, after the donation and season ticket deadline.

How did you recover your account? I went to go donate this week and could not figure out what happened to my account, I had just been disappeared.

I had to call the Hokie Club office to get my account number and pin number. I had to link my account after that, which was if since I had already logged into the new site before.

Clemson and UVa won a national championship in the biggest sports, so some skew there.

Either way, Tech is trailing much too far behind.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

Our football team has a 10 year old locker room... cmon folks donate!!!

Good God man. Put a sock in it.

This, to me, is honestly not as bad as people make it out to be...

VT Marketing Class of 2009
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It may not be as bad as you'd think based on how people talk about it, agreed. However, as a %, VT is lagging way behind, not even close really. To understand how bad it is, apply a unit of athletic success to every dollar, then think about the %'s.

It's not the apocalypse, but it's bad to the point that coaching guys up and having lots of seniors on your football or basketball team is not going to make up for it.

"How you doin', Randy?"

A few thoughts.....we might be above boohoos if we'd won a bball natty or had a football program that was better than it's been in a decade or more. Plus to my knowledge, we don't have a alum who is a large retail corp sponsor like Maryland and Oregon et al. Also, as has been mentioned, we have a bad combination of a waning football program and a somewhat new donation system including seating premiums (see Mom and Pop.)

All of this sounds like rationalization and excuses. That admitted, winning cures everything.

If I understand correctly, Lane furniture is the namesake for Lane stadium but they're obviously not the same size as Nike and Under Armor, nor are they athletics related. But I think your point stands, that we could certainly handle having more corporate sponsora.

I, for one, am ok with having ads on jerseys. Wild Turkey, Bass Pro Shop, etc.

Lane furniture

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I never knew it was for this - assumed some guy named lane donated money

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Well neither of you are wrong...

I went down one hell of a rabbit hole. Lane Furniture started out making cedar chests in Altavista. The company grew after buying other competitors outside the state. Eventually, they were bought twice, and although the name stayed, there's little to no family involvement. Meanwhile, the plant and offices in Altavista closed, and have only recently been subbed out to various groups.

Wes Worsham, named our field, had a strong sprinkler business, left it, restarted 2 with very similar names, had a lawsuit against his first company, Virginia Sprinkler then bought one of the companies, and then one of them went bankrupt last year.


TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

First time I've ever noticed the name as a child of the 80's living in the Northeast. I seem to recall maybe hearing it in an ad somewhere as a kid, or maybe when I was working in tech with another furniture company in High Point for a year some time ago, but it really doesn't ring a bell.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

In Dr. Torgersen's Theory of O class he asked the class for any ways we could think of to improve the university, but no one had any ideas. So I suggested that we change the name of the road that the stadium was on. "What do you think we should name it?" he asked me. "Stadium Lane," I said.

I'm still not sure why they let all those other cars drive on the road that we reserved for BMW's.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

That $5.3M gap between us and UVA gets even bigger when you factor in Student Athletic Fee. We're leaving another $4.8M on the table compared to them.

... or put another way, we're leaving $4.8M dollars in the pockets of kids and their families who are already paying tens of thousands of dollars each for the real reason they're in college.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

We probably beat Wake Forest right? They have only have about 1,000 grads each year.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

I'm curious to know if donations went up after playing for the natty or nothing changed since we had "made it" without the investment.
If we want to be on top we have to act like it.

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I am floored by how little us as alumni/fanbase get asked for money by the Hokie Club. It took until long after I started donating before I ever heard from the HC. Why dont we get texts after a basketball or football win with a link to go to that would let us donate some impulse amount?

How many of us on this site would have thrown $10 or $20 to the HC after the UNC game if we were simply asked? Even if it's just a hundred or so of us that's still 1-2 grand instantly. There were over 9K people in Cassell that night. How many of those would throw as little as $5 right after the game, riding the wave of victory, if only they were asked to give?

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

I played for and graduated from Tech. I haven't been contacted by HC ever.

Well there you have it...
Not exactly a well oiled fundraising machine is it? Get better...

"Don't go to, go through"

To be fair, assuming by "played for" you mean you lettered in a varsity sport, your most-applicable outreach organization is the Monogram Club, not the Hokie Club.

But then again, part of the problem we have might be that we have 3 different outreach organizations with 3 different agendas that seem to only communicate rarely, if ever.

Do you know how to contact them?

Here's the website: https://hokieclub.com/

Click "Give Now" or "Monogram club".

They also say:

If you need help signing in to your online account, please contact the Hokie Club for assistance via email: hokieclub@vt.edu or by phone: 540-231-6618.

I get an email at least once a week asking for more $$$, especially after notable games.

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I mean the way some people around here talk I would have guessed it was under $15m. Would be nice to be up there with Clemson but those numbers just look to me like we are nowhere near the doom-and-gloom disadvantage in revenue compared to everybody else the way some people describe.

Based on the # of alumni we have, this sounds like our standing it is in least in part due to the fundraising skills of the school. If donations to college athletics are the relative equivalent of ticket sales to a MLB team, the donations from average donors (excluding the T. Boone Pickens and Kevin Planks of the world) doesn't seem to be as important to the bottom line as TV deals, merchandise sales, and brand contracts. That said, it sounds like the only variable right now in this equation is donations.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

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Just had a thought - people on here are saying that Whit wants to raise the profile of all the sports at Tech, and has given money to other programs. So what I realized is that plan, while it sounds good, might be short-sighted. Considering football at Tech is the largest revenue sport, I would think that Whit would want to invest in it more, with the intention of bringing in more revenue through various avenues (increased leverage due to performance with sponsors like Nike, higher donations assuming a higher prominence, etc.) If he increased revenue, it would be more money he could eventually spread to the other programs.

Not sure if that makes sense - just a thought.

Makes sense, but it might be that Whit is doing what he thinks will grow the VT brand across all sports, which might mean sacrificing a little football for a wide variety of other things.

I read a multi-part article on Larry Scott, the commissioner of the Pac 12, that emphasizes this. It may have been linked by someone on this site before. If you linked it, let me know I'll give you a savory turkey leg.

The article focuses on football and the waning significance of the Pac 12 in that sport, but also appears to show (much to the chagrin of the writer) that Larry Scott is actually probably doing exactly what the ADs in the Pac 12 want - emphasizing Olympic sports.

Here is part one. The remaining parts are linked from it. It's an interesting read, but it'll take some time.


I hadn't seen this mentioned before (but I haven't been around that long). Thanks for the link - I'll give it a read!

The money Whit has spent on other sports hasn't really been at the expense of football per se. He's raised spending across the board and been able to do that partially through increasing revenue, i.e. TV revenue, ticket sales, and donations [yes we are not top 25 in donations but we are higher per year now than we used to be], and the other part of it is we have been running slightly in the red the last few years, whereas Weaver had us running in the black and socking away money every year. Whit knows what butters the bread, and the money spent on all of the olympic sports combined is still a drop in the bucket compared to football.

That is the Clemson model. For 20 years they tried to compete in everything and then just went all in on football. Their secondary sports will reap the benefit of that decision in the coming years.

Clemson has 3 team national championships in sports not called football and a football one from the 80's also.

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I've meant to bring this up in the past and haven't. Has anyone considered mismanagement of the funds we are getting? Do concessions count towards revenue? I know that there is decent profit for an $8 coke that have cups getting thinner and thinner each season to where there difficult to hold on to from being so flimsy. Games in person are becoming more and more for people that have a lot more expendable money than I do and probably a lot of other people. Are the groups of elites available to donate from all of these schools comparable?

I've always found it to be a bold strategy to just tell fans they suck and that's why teams struggle. Alienating the fans and just beating them down with "you suck at ____ and that's why you can't have nice things" always seems to go over swimmingly in the instances where I've seen it done.

And yet, that seems to be the direction Virginia Tech is taking when it comes to competing in sports. Our fans suck at giving, so we aren't going to compete. We'll, what the hell are you going to do to encourage these people to give more money? Berating them and constantly reminding them about how much they suck just isn't going to accomplish what they think it's going to accomplish, unless their goal is to have the least funded athletic department in sports with the most disinterested fanbase out there.

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Who at Virginia Tech is telling fans they suck?

Hokie Club member since 2017

I do, sometimes. But I am just a fan.