Purdue has made the necessary investment in Darrell Hazell and his staff, paying the types of salaries appropriate for Big Ten coaches.
Now comes the hard part: finding the funds for those salaries. It isn't easy for a program that has seen a decline in attendance for several years, including a 3.6 percent drop (in reported attendance) from 2011 to 2012.
Raising ticket prices at a time where the program is floundering/transitioning and attendance is dropping doesn't seem like a smart move. But Purdue needs the money from somewhere, and it has come up with a new proposal to do so for the 2013 football season. It's called the Legacy Fund.
Purdue fans sitting in two desirable sections of Ross-Ade Stadium will make Legacy Fund donations of $250 or $100 per ticket. Season-ticket prices in the Prime section, where the $250 donation is required, actually drop from $357 to $273. Prices in the Sideline section, where the $100 donation is required, remain at $273 per seat. Season-ticket prices in the other sections, including the student section, won't change for 2013 and don't include a Legacy Fund donation.
According to the school, Legacy Fund revenue will go directly to investments in the football program, including the new coaches' salaries.
From The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier:
"I found a way to take care of about two-thirds of what we need through new dollars or internal reallocation," athletic director Morgan Burke said. "There's a smaller fraction that I can spread over a bigger base. It can't be one of those things -- show me and then we’ll do it -- we all have to dive into it at the same time.
"Everyone said you're too cheap, you're too frugal, you're too this, you're too that. OK, I threw myself in and it's got me in a little bit of risk but I think it's the right thing. I'm going to need a little bit of help from people."
Burke also told reporters, "The easiest thing to say is if you fill the seats, you’ll have the money. I don't know if I can fill seats. I'm going to have to go back to the fans that have been the most supportive."
The Legacy Fund proposal shows that Purdue's spending in football has been near the bottom of the Big Ten (although it has invested $16 million in the past five years). The proposal also outlines how eight other Big Ten programs use similar seating plans for prime tickets, and how Purdue's will have the lowest cost.
"The fans with the legacy fee attachment allows us to take the next jump into potentially the top quarter of the Big Ten in that area," AD of marketing and ticketing Chris Peludat said. "That's roughly about a $1.3 million net because we have rolled back some pricing in those areas. That's based on the current capacity in the donation areas that we've done. So if we retain the same numbers there, that's the improvement we can make."
It'll be interesting to see how Purdue fans react to the initiative.