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Cardiac Spill: A Personal Appeal From AD Scott Barnes

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The University of Pittsburgh athletic department simply cannot survive on ticket revenue and merchandising alone. If we want to swim with the big dogs, it's on our wealthy and fabulous alumni to Phil Knight/T. Boone Pickens/Papa John's it up. [Editor's Note: Scott Barnes had nothing to do with this article. No offer presented below is a real offer from Athletic Director Scott Barnes, who did not write this article.]

See this? We need a guy like this.
See this? We need a guy like this.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Hi everyone, Scott Barnes here.

I have to say: I've loved my time here so far. From the piles of inexplicably moist fan mail I still get every day from LSU fans addressed to "PITTSBURG??" to the fully-assembled cookie table I found in my office after the announcement about the script coming back to my contractually obligated staring contest with Coach Narduzzi every Tuesday, every day of the past six months has had its own wonderful little highlight. But short of me actually, literally changing my name to Not Steve Pederson, or somehow bringing the script back again, I know the only way for me to pay back this gratitude is with wins on the field and court.

And wins are so, so very expensive.

Now, this sort of statement would normally be made in private - at fancy booster luncheons, or maybe a face-to-face meeting with a major donor. I've been an athletic director before, I know how it is. However, before he left, my predecessor took the liberty of consuming, page by page, his entire contact list. Of course, we still have digital copies of this list - but until our IT Guy gets back from a globetrotting adventure, it is entirely inaccessible. So for the first time, I will make our recognition levels public. Please, Panther Fans: if you know any rebel billionaires or shiftless former tycoons, do not hesitate to forward this along to them.

$100

$100 gets you an active membership in Panther Club for one year. That's pretty cool, right? How many clubs do you get to join as an adult? Come eat brunch before a game with us.

$1,000

A $1,000 donation gains you access to a better, fancier version of Panther Club, and I'll throw in a membership in Chancellor's Circle. It's two clubs for the price of ten clubs! Plus, you'll be invited to a special summer luncheon wherein we toss around buzzwords like vision and long-term goals that we know get you real excited-like.

$10,000

You'd think this is a big deal amount of money. And it is, kind of. We really appreciate it! We really, sincerely appreciate how big a deal this probably is to you, to give us this sort of money. But - not to be a jerk or anything, just being honest - a budget increase of $10,000 for us isn't exactly a life-changer. Sorry! Just want to be upfront about this.

So here's what we can do for you: for ten thousand dollars, you're now a member of Chancellor's Circle, Ultra Deluxe Panther Club, Burger King Kid's Club, and we'll let you pretend you were a Druid even if you "weren't." (Sure you weren't. There's no such thing as the Druids.) You will have unlimited access to basically everything the department is doing, and you can call me, personally, hook me up to a polygraph, and find out which rumors are true the second you hear them.

This is also the level where we start giving you free stuff, so at this level you'll get a University of Pittsburgh bucket hat.

$100,000

Alright, now we're talking! Come in, get comfortable.

At this level, you essentially get to be Lucy (from the movie Lucy) whenever you're inside Pitt athletic facilities. You can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone. Reality bends at your imagination. You can sit at my desk, you can get a massage, you can blow a whistle and make things stop. Want another movie reference? How about Eyes Wide Shut? Because at this donor level it's your right to have that kind of party in our film room. What about Jaws? If you want to release a shark in our hot/cold tubs, go right ahead. The only movie reference you can't make come to life is The Last Boy Scout, which, come on, man.

Also: it's actually really easy to beat a polygraph, and I know how. Those $10,000 people, they think they're getting the straight dope. You - I promise - will actually get the straight dope. The straightest dope, if you will.

At this level of giving, you will also receive a pair of University of Pittsburgh Women's Ditzy Shorts.

$1,000,000

Have you ever read the news about a new coaching hire and been disappointed? (Hopefully not in the past few months, but if so, I'm sorry.) Well here's something just for you: if you donate $1,000,000, you will receive power of veto over one athletic department hire. I will give final say to you, and you get one veto for whatever reason. And it doesn't have to be a good reason, either! Does he have strange, shifty eyes? Do you not like the cut of her jib? Are you looking to strike back against the oppressive Rooney Rule? I can't stop you!

This veto applies to all levels, by the way. If you want to kick an athletic training major off scholarship, we can make it work.

At this level, you will also receive a University of Pittsburgh toothbrush.

$10,000,000

This is around the donation level that got the John and Gertrude Petersen the naming rights to The Pete. For that reason, I am prepared to offer the following deal: if you donate $10 million to the athletics program, you can pick anything you want from the football program - a training room, a section of Heinz Field, a student-athlete, Roc, me - and rename it "The Pete." Your call. The only limit is your imagination.

At this level of giving, you will also receive a University of Pittsburgh denim-pattern mousepad.

$100,000,000

I can't get into too much detail here, but I know what you're thinking, and at this level: yes, you can. You absolutely can.

$1,000,000,000

Seriously?

A billion dollars.

One billion.

Buh.

Buh-illion. Yeah?

Well, alright, you scoundrel, you've tipped my hand. I know what you really want.

You think I didn't notice this when I interviewed for the job? You think I didn't notice that I was asked the same question every day for a friggin' month? You think I haven't thought about it? We got guys calling my office every day saying they'd kill their own mother for an on-campus stadium. And you think I didn't know that?

I thought about where to put it, too. But since I have no authority to raze North Oakland, it's gonna cost you.

So here's my deal to you: if you raise me a billion dolllars - a billion freakin' dollars - I won't build you an on-campus stadium. But I will build you a below-campus stadium. You get it? I will dig deep below campus, build a gorgeous, 80,000-seat arena, with luxury boxes and Quaker Steak and the works, put an elaborate elevator system to drag everyone down there, and name it after you. You get season tickets for life and your tomb will be at the 50. Actually, you know what? You don't even have to name it after you. Your call, here. Big Swingin' Dick's Subterranean Field at Bring Back Firefly Stadium. Boom! It's literally the best I can do. You can even tailgate in the elevators! You can parachute down into the hole every Saturday and deliver the game ball! I don't care! I just got a billion dollars! I'm the greatest A.D. of all time!

At this level of giving, you will also receive a pack of University of Pittsburgh Logo Bandz.

Please donate today at this link. Thank you.

Scott Barnes
Athletic Director, University of Pittsburgh

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