I don't like asking people for money.
Never have been good at it. When my kids come home with some fundraising project from school, I'm the guy who just decides that rather than ask anybody for anything, we'll just give the donation ourselves and leave the neighbors' doorbells alone.
Charlotte athletic Judy Rose, on the other hand, has no problem with the "ask." And that's a good thing, because she and her staff and everyone involved in raising money for the Charlotte 49ers' athletic department just got the toughest -- and perhaps most rewarding -- assignment of their lives.
While UNCC Chancellor Phil Dubois is now on board for football (read my column on that subject here), he made no bones about the fact that he's about to take football off his own plate. He spent 80 percent of his time over the past six months on the issue; he's not going to try and raise the money, too.
That falls to Rose. Dubois was so intent on knocking the student fee for football down to a more manageable level that he kept upping the ante with Rose.
Rose told me a story this week about how Dubois called her at 8:30 a.m. one Saturday and asked her if she could raise $5 million for football. "Absolutely," Rose said. "We could raise $10 million."
Then Dubois asked her later: "How about $15 million?" Rose hesitated a moment, then said yes.
"I hope we blow that $10-15 million out of the water," Rose said. "But it's going to be a challenge."
Said Dubois: "I'm leaving it up to Judy to carry the ball from here."
So now we get to see how many people really want to see college football around here, and how badly. Dubois admitted to myself and Observer reporter David Perlmutt that he expected some "pushback" in the next few weeks on the idea of PSLs for the 49ers, because it's very rare that a Division I-AA football team can get away with selling them.
Can Rose and her cohorts sell 5,000 of them, at $1,000 a pop, in 6 months (or 9 or 12 months -- the deadline may be extended)? That's the big question -- assuming the Board of Trustees approves Dubois's recommendation Nov.13, as I'm almost sure they will do.
And even a successful sale of 5,000 would only generate $5 million, and the football-related facilities Dubois is proposing are supposed to cost at least $45 million. The money is a BIG issue here, and Charlotte supporters will need to step up to the plate like they never have before (much like UNC supporters did a long time ago with the Dean Dome) for this to work out perfectly.
9 months ago