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New athletics, booster collaboration creates efficiency with FSUAA

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A Florida State University Athletics Association has been created to provide a better organizational structure for athletics and Seminole Boosters, one that will provide “greater alignment, transparency, coordination and efficiency for athletic-related fundraising, operations, marketing and management.”

The five-member FSUAA board is considered a Direct Service Organization and will be comprised of:

  • President John Thrasher as chairman of the board
  • FSU’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, Pam Perrewe
  • The chair of Seminole Boosters, Inc.
  • The chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ed Burr
  • A faculty member that will be appointed to serve by Thrasher

Athletics director David Coburn will serve as CEO of the FSUAA, reporting directly to the president/FSUAA board chairman.

The new board will likely meet quarterly to set policy and budget while also handling strategic and facility planning. It will also have a say in scheduling, financing facilities and prioritizing projects.

“I think we’re going to save money, we’re going to operate more cohesively and effectively and it’s just going to make the whole relationship a lot smoother,” Coburn said.

The collaboration will bring the athletics department and boosters closer together and some responsibilities – ticketing, marketing, communications and human resources – are duplication that could be consolidated, Coburn said.

This completes a year-long discussion between stakeholders in athletics, boosters, university administration and the Board of Trustees to establish a new, collaborative board. The FSUAA was approved by boosters on Thursday and the FSU Board of Trustees on Friday morning but will require final approval at fall meetings between the BOT and boosters.

One major change is that the Seminole Boosters, Inc., president and CEO (Andy Miller) will now have a dual reporting line, one to the boosters’ board of directors and one to the athletic director (Coburn). The athletic director will now serve on several boosters’ committees. The FSUAA, with the president as chair, will hire and appoint an athletics director.

“The creation of the FSUAA will ensure that the priorities, mission and focus of the boosters, athletics and the administration will be aligned,” Burr said.

FSU AD David Coburn (left), boosters volunteer chairman Doug Russell and boosters president and CEO Andy Miller address the Board of Trustees on Friday morning. (Photo by Jerry Kutz)

Coburn and Miller emphasized near-term benefits as the changes begin to be implemented in the coming months. But Coburn and Miller noted that they are nearing retirement age, while Thrasher’s contract also runs through late 2020, and they wanted to establish a roadmap for future athletics and booster leaders, helping guide them in a collaborative relationship.

“Over time we felt like we could be more successful by a little bit closer alignment and better collaboration,” Miller said. “And it appeared to be a pretty good time to consider the question.”

Under the agreement, Seminole Boosters, Inc., will maintain its direct service organization status but will be separate from the FSUAA.

“Our No. 1 goal is to fund raise and support student-athletes, through that better access and better collaboration we’re going to be able to raise more funds for student-athletes,” Seminole Boosters, Inc., chairman Doug Russell said.

Fundraising is a critical component of the collaboration, especially now with the $100 million Unconquered Campaign coming right on the heels of the Seminole Boosters’ highly-successful $350 million campaign. Coburn noted that $72 million in pledges have been made with $9.76 million collected since the Unconquered Campaign launched in September 2018.

Boosters have fully funded renovations to Don Veller-Seminole Golf Course and are close to the $1.4 million goal for softball improvements. Coburn said the donations toward that program mean that construction can begin this summer on the “shade structure” at the Seminole Softball Complex. More than $7 million was raised in 2018-19 toward women’s athletics as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of women’s intercollegiate athletics at FSU.

Coming up: Look for more analysis of the FSUAA from publisher Jerry Kutz

School officials provided some answers to frequently asked questions. Below are some topics of interest:

Between whom is the MOA?

The MOA is between Seminole Boosters, Inc. (SBI) and the Florida State University Athletics Association (FSUAA).  Both parties desire to acquire greater efficiency through shared responsibility, accountability and consistency in administration. 

What is the FSUAA?          

The FSUAA is the new management structure for FSU athletics; it is a Direct Support Organization (DS0) for FSU.  The five members that serve as its Board of Directors govern FSUAA.  These members include the President of the University (the Chair), FSU’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, and the Chair of the Seminole Boosters.

What is the purpose of the FSUAA Board of Directors?

The FSUAA board provides governance and oversight while serving as the fiduciaries who steer the organization by adopting sound policies, engaging in effective decision-making and exercising the appropriate level of oversight.

Who hires the Athletic Director?

The Chair (FSU President), in consultation with the FSUAA Board of Directors, shall appoint the AD and designate the AD as the CEO of the FSUAA.

Will Seminole Boosters, Inc. (SBI) still serve as a DSO for FSU Athletics? 

Yes, SBI will maintain its status as a DSO for FSU athletics with the mission of support the Athletics Department in hiring and retaining coaches in a high-demand and competitive environment.  It is a different DSO from the FSUAA.

Will SBI still be a separate organization from the athletic department?

Yes, SBI and its employees will continue to be a private organization governed by its Board of Directors.  The CEO is hired, managed, evaluated and compensated by the Board of Directors with the consent of the University President.

What are the reporting lines for the President of SBI?

The President of SBI has a dual report to the Chairman of the SBI Board of Directors and the Athletic Director.

How will this new structure promote SBI and FSU athletics working closer together?

Annually, the Athletic Director and President of SBI will be required to submit joint goals for:

Fundraising goals (both long- and short-term) and priorities

SBI operating budget

Strategic plan and implementation

Facility master planning, including funding plan

Contract management

Additionally, they are required to meet at least monthly to review progress and performance.

By integrating SBI and FSU Athletics, what are some desired outcomes?

Consolidated financial reporting for SBI and FSU athletics for monthly, quarterly and annual reporting to the FSUAA

Increase collaboration between SBI and FSU athletics employees

Eliminate duplicate efforts between the two organizations in the areas of marketing, communication and finance & business

When will this change take place?

We anticipate this transition occurring by the fall of 2019.

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