In case you missed it, USC associate athletic director for development Bryan Risner has resigned. Risner was in charge of the Gamecocks fundraising efforts and reportedly played a big role in the new YES seat-donation plan. He was also involved with the Gamecock club.
Season ticket sales are down for the USC football team and the YES plan has been met with some resistance from longtime Gamecock fans that are unhappy they are being asked to pay more for seats they’ve had for years. It would be easy to say Risner is the fall guy but I would venture to say this decision was in all likelihood made by him.
Risner has been in his current role since 2006 and has had to face the challenges of both very angry longtime Gamecock fans and an economy that is anything but strong. It could be he just decided it might be a good time to find a less stressful job.
I know a lot of Gamecock fans view guys like Risner and even Hyman as villains. Nobody likes being asked to give more money. It makes peopel more upset to be asked to give more when they feel that the product hasn’t been all that great. But Hyman’s stance is that if the product is going to get better, they need money for upgrades, to improve facilities and to pay higher salaries. And that is just naming a few.
I do feel bad for USC fans that have spent the better part of the past few decades shelling out money for season tickets to watch a mediocre to bad product. Now they are being asked to pay more money and some have decided enough is enough and are walking away. It is hard to fault them. If I went to a restaurant that kept serving me bad meals I wouldn’t pay more money to keep going back. I’d find a new restaurant.
However, college sports are an arms race these days and USC has been carrying sticks into battle against teams that have nuclear bombs. The results have been obvious. Hyman is working to enhance the Gamecocks arsenal and there should be some positive results from that. For example, the new academic center should have an immediate impact on recruiting.
USC has been playing football for over 100 years. They are a few games below .500. Hyman is right, it is time to try something new. And really it isn’t new, all the top programs in the country are doing this. Most have been doing it for several years or longer.
The bottom line is change is always met with resistance. And Hyman knew he was going to ruffle some feathers, but long term he believes this will make USC more competitive. I tend to agree with him.