Might Mizzou's Varsity Alumni Kept Athletics Giving Healthy?
Over the weekend, I read a bit about the hit Mizzou athletics took in giving following a year in which football struggled and players pressured the administration they'd sit out games in solidarity with the Mizzou Concerned Student 1950 group in response to a string of racially charged transgressions.
I'd argue that the traditional hindsight on this is, "there should have been a better crisis response team" and, mostly, that would be seen a PR. Sure, PR folks are good at helping to peel back the onion on complex problems like the events on Mizzou's campus. Who else could have been "on the team?"
How about former Mizzou football players? Honorably, despite risking the loss of million of dollars in fines, fees and donations, the Athletics Department stood up for its players' rights to be a part of a critical campus movement. What's hard to swallow is how a group of student-athletes acting with honorable conviction dealt punishment to Mizzou's athletics department. Is always only about winning?
It shouldn't be.
My sense is that Mizzou football alumni, 18 currently playing in the NFL, were the real PR team Mizzou needed. Could they have been a supportive, well regarded voice for students, players, and the broader Mizzou community? I'm betting 'yes.'
Your alumni, whether famous or not, are intertwined with their alma mater; most notably the flare ups and causes students and the broader university community can be consumed by. The trick is ensuring they are deeply engaged and ready to respond before an issue arises. If you had an issue tomorrow, do you have a bench of alumni who could be supportive to students, faculty and staff?
If not, it might be worth the investment of time.