One of yesterday’s oddest talk-radio topics was how much time should Dave Matlin be given to succeed as athletic director. It was odd because: 1) Matlin’s introductory news conference was 30 minutes away, and 2) UH’s accrued problems, like an accrued debt, are not the new AD’s burden alone. It would be like handing a box of bills to a CPA and saying: Fix it.
Here are the reasonable expectations:
> The power of “No”: From what I remember from professor James Mak’s econ class, a bad business model is when expenses go up while revenues go down. I get how revenues can go down based on a ticket sales/projections/etc., but how can expenses go up to create a combined $3 million projected deficit? Sure, UH is on the hook for travel subsidies, but those are fixed costs that have been in place for three years. It was a sticker shock when the subsidies were first implemented, but that shouldn’t be blamed for a spike between the current and last year’s fiscal-year budgets. And there’s talk the deficit still can grow by hundreds of thousands. How? Sure, UH will be paying for two ADs for two months, but that doesn’t account for that much more in added expenses. Somebody better check those lunch receipts at the Big West Tournament. The former AD was a “yes” man. Matlin will need to say “no” to many requests.
> Brief orientation: What makes Ferd Lewis an outstanding reporter is he always asks each new hire: Did you kick the tires? Translation: Do you really know all of UH’s problems and shortcomings? The hires usually say, “no problem,” and then a month on the job wonder why they still haven’t received their first paycheck. (Conversely, McMackin was getting reimbursement checks six months after he departed.) That shouldn’t be a problem for Matlin. He’s worked in the UH athletic department system. He knows the problems. He knows the hard workers and the slackers. Unlike many new hires, Matlin does not need an extended period to assess.
> Help from above: It appears the UH system’s leader named a business leader to form the search-advisory committee that recommended the AD candidate who eventually was hired. It should be up to those involved in the hiring process to provide the resources to help the new AD, and not just in the short term. If you want to be a power broker, you have to stay in the game.