Welcome Guest. Login/Signup.
ACC Sports Journal Logo

In Calculated Risk, Iptay Raises Stakes

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

  May 24, 2004 CLEMSON — After more than a decade without an increase, IPTAY couldn't wait to cash in on the Clemson football team's fast finish. IPTAY, which stood for I Pay Ten A Year when the organization was created by Dr. Rupert Fike in the 1930s, announced in May that contribution levels for the 2005 football season will increase 40 percent across the board. That means the base contribution to IPTAY will increase to $140 a year. The highest level — the Fike Scholarship Donors — will increase from $5,000 to $7,000 a year, and a new level — the Heisman Scholarship Donors — will cost donors $10,000 a year. The IPTAY board cited several reasons for the increase: the increased cost of scholarships, the increased cost of doing business, the need for IPTAY to help cover annual expenses, and the increased cost of competing in the ACC. There is some truth in all of IPTAY's reasons for increasing the contribution levels. The annual cost of scholarships at Clemson has increased from $3.66 million in 2000-01 to $6.45 million for the 2004-05 academic year. Some of the annual expenses/competitive costs are certain to include the West End Zone project. It clearly was time for an increase, but IPTAY is taking a gamble. The organization is betting that the football team is going to continue to win. It also is betting that the 2005 home football schedule, which includes Florida State and Miami, will be attractive enough to encourage donors to increase their contributions or join for the first time. Of course, if the football team hasn't truly turned the corner, there could be a painful backlash. New IPTAY executive director Bert Henderson definitely is on the hot seat already. Many fans pay attention to other sports, but football definitely remains the hub of the Tigers' wheel. To many Clemson fans, perhaps even most Clemson fans, there are just three sports at the school — football, football recruiting and spring football. If football falls flat in 2004, IPTAY will feel it at the bank. Because of several major construction projects, Clemson has asked a lot of its financial supporters in the last five years. It will be interesting to see how much more they have to give and will be willing to give. One of IPTAY's biggest problems is the lack of major contributors. A large majority of IPTAY's donors give $500 or less per year. IPTAY has two major factors working in its favor — its grass-roots organization and the enthusiasm of the Clemson people. The reason IPTAY is a model for all other athletic fund-raising groups is its grass-roots organization. There are IPTAY representatives in every county in the state of South Carolina, and they all help collect funds and increase membership. The enthusiasm of the Clemson people showed last fall when the Tigers won their final four games. Clemson people are hungry for a winner, so most of them are anxious to support IPTAY any way they can right now. Timing, Details Right For Yanity After supposedly doing a "national" search, the Clemson radio network decided to stick with its current setup of Pete Yanity doing play-by-play for football and men's basketball and Don Munson doing play-by-play for women's basketball and baseball. Yanity, the sports director of WSPA Channel 7 in Spartanburg, stepped in last fall after the sudden death of long-time broadcaster Jim Phillips and did a solid job. Most Clemson officials and fans agreed that Yanity deserved to keep the post. He has an excitable style and does a good job of keeping up with the action, something Phillips struggled with at times late in his career. One major hang-up in the deal was Yanity's desire to keep his TV job in Spartanburg, but the two parties were able to iron out that situation. There is some concern at his station that Yanity's connection to Clemson might alienate some viewers, but that number should be a small one. Phillips also pulled double duty during his stint with the Tigers. In addition to his play-by-play duties, he was the sports director at Channel 4 in Greenville in the 1970s. Oddly, Yanity now has been promoted into his last two jobs after sudden deaths. He replaced Skip Jackson at WSPA after Jackson was killed in a private plane crash while returning from a football game. Munson has had an off-again, on-again connection with the Clemson network for several years. Like Yanity, he wants a football/basketball play-by-play job at a Division I school. This is the final year for the current media contract. Learfield/ISP have held the broadcast rights for the Tigers since the failure of the Alabama group that initially won the contract. Sources said the current rights holders can't wait to get out. Clemson is unhappy with several factors involving the current group, especially the marketing of the network. With Clemson searching for revenue streams, some believe it may be time to hire a broadcast professional and bring the network in-house. Clemson has a state-of-the-art broadcast studio at the Madren Center, which is located less than half a mile from the Jervey Athletic Center. Insiders said several organizations plan to bid on the Clemson rights, including two local groups with Greenville connections. Both local groups have major ties to the athletic department, mainly in the form of big-money donors and former athletes. One reason Clemson decided to stick with Yanity and Munson was the length of the contract. With one year remaining, there was no sense in making a major change. The Tigers also will have the final say on who does play-by-play, but there's no iron-clad guarantee that Yanity or Munson will be at Clemson for the long term. Athletic director Terry Don Phillips said in a release that he hopes Yanity will be at the school for many years, but a new rights-holder might have a different point of view. Interesting Updates: Christie, Shyatt According to insiders, junior guard Chey Christie said his reason for transferring was what he perceived to be coach Oliver Purnell's indifferent attitude toward the players he inherited from Larry Shyatt. Christie has told people close to him that Purnell let it be known that he was going to take the program in a different direction as soon as possible, and that the veterans weren't central to his plans. Indeed, it's really no secret that Purnell's frustration level with the players he inherited increased throughout his first season with the Tigers. Christie will transfer to South Alabama, where he will have to sit out next season before utilizing his final year of eligibility in 2005-06. Speaking of Shyatt, he recently made a two-day visit to the Florida campus and quickly accepted Billy Donovan's offer to join the Gators' staff. Shyatt also talked to Pete Gillen at Virginia and Dennis Felton at Georgia, but he ended up choosing the most stable situation. Shyatt worked in television last season. Upon taking the job in Gainesville, Shyatt said in several interviews that he was extremely impressed with Florida administrators' obvious willingness to give the basketball program whatever it needs to compete for a national championship. Every time, he sounded like a man who once worked at a school where that definitely wasn't the case.