SBD/August 11, 2014/Colleges

Colorado State Says Firing Of AD Graham Unrelated To Failing Drive For Stadium Funds

Graham's firing could be a blow to Colorado State's on-campus stadium project
Colorado State Univ. AD Jack Graham, the "man behind the plan to build an on-campus stadium at CSU," was fired Friday, according to Kelly Lyell of the Ft. Collins COLORADOAN. CSU President Tony Frank in a statement said, "While I am grateful to Jack for the energy he's brought to CSU in establishing a culture that expects excellence within Ram athletics and his actions in hiring great coaches and staff, there have come to exist some substantial differences in our views." CSU Exec Dir/Public Affairs & Communications Mike Hooker said that Graham will "continue to receive his salary and benefits for 90 days under terms of the 'termination for convenience clause' in his contract." He will "continue to receive his annual salary of $260,000 in monthly payments, minus any money he might earn through subsequent employment, through the end of his contract," which goes through November '16. Hooker said that those payments will "come from private funds" (Ft. Collins COLORADOAN, 8/9). The AP noted Graham was leading the campaign to raise $110M by October to "get the go-ahead" for the proposed $220M on-campus stadium project. Frank plans to report to CSU's BOG in October "about the project and will discuss the impact of the leadership change as part of that presentation" (AP, 8/8).

BLOW TO STADIUM PROJECT? The COLORADOAN's Lyell noted Graham's firing could "be a blow" to the stadium project. Graham is the one who "first pitched the idea" to Frank in '11 and received approval based on the understanding that at least $125M -- half of the estimated construction costs at the time -- "had to be raised through private donations before ground could be broken." Frank insisted that the firing was "unrelated to the stadium project" (Ft. Collins COLORADOAN, 8/10). Frank said that it had "become clear" that he and Graham "had irreconcilable differences of opinion about the direction of the department" (DENVER POST, 8/9). In Colorado, Miles Blumhardt wrote Graham's firing "sent shock waves" through the stadium project. Blumhardt wrote of Frank, "Fort Collins is an affluent community. Just say it like it is. You finally figured out that CSU completely botched selling the community on the project, and anti-stadium proponents effectively derailed the project. ... Making music with Graham wasn't working, and you decided to save your reputation and let Jack go because Jack wasn't giving up his dream" (Ft. Collins COLORADOAN, 8/10). 
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