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Daddy University

Published: November 8, 2012, 12:19 am ET
Collegian Contributor

The “Daddy Story” takes place in the Richmond “bubble,” an imaginary world where leaders are exempt from accountability and dollars trump the truth. Enjoy!

The Daddy Story: Once upon a time, The Daddy (a major donor, Robins School alumnus and trustee) secretly fundraised $3 million in order to bring lacrosse to the University of Richmond. He knew it would result in the termination of men’s soccer and track.

The Daddy’s son plays high school lacrosse and is slated to attend Richmond next year. Surprise!

A reliable source suggests that the primary reason why the university president expedited the decision to add lacrosse was that The Daddy pledged to also fund a new campus visitor center.

Flashback: Two years ago, the Richmond soccer alumni were proactive in forming the Soccer Steering Committee, which placed them on track to build a new soccer stadium, and they were told not to fundraise this past year. All the while, The Daddy was collecting donations to start a lacrosse program behind closed doors.

Richmond soccer and track programs are number one and two in overall GPAs on campus. In 2011, track and field had the highest GPA of any track team in the country, beating out Harvard and Duke universities.

The newly hired Richmond lacrosse coach knew about the coaching position as early as July. The announcement to cut men’s soccer and track didn’t occur until late September.

Richmond’s former athletic director stated that the biggest increase in men’s high school sports enrollment was lacrosse. False — it was bowling and team tennis, according to

This summer, the same man conveniently received a promotion to a new role within the university, and his responsibility for cutting the sports vanished. Well played.

The story closes with a recent quote from The Daddy in regards to donating to Richmond,

“…for those of you who have difference-making money, and you know who you are, I urge you to be active, give it and demand results in return.”

Which is exactly what we need now — results. Please understand: My goal is not to portray The Daddy as the villain. He is well-educated, has worked for his money and is spending it on what he chooses. Instead, I am simply asking anybody associated with Richmond and people across the nation to question the school’s leadership and take action if you feel that this decision was not made in alignment with Richmond principles of transparency and honor or in alignment with your own personal values.

Outside of the “bubble,” the rest of the world is stepping up and taking note of the poor Richmond leadership — even The Washington Post, the eighth largest national publication, released an article about The Daddy and this surreal web of lies. So what can you do?

Option one: You applaud Richmond leadership, embrace the “bubble,” and do nothing. Option two: You provide a voice for Richmond men’s soccer and track, demand answers and assert yourself as a catalyst for change.

Please, consider option two.

Richmond students: Write or call your professors, campus leaders and media outlets. Ask your parents to do the same — for most of you, your tuition is their money.

Richmond student athletes: Stand up for your fellow athletes. Organize a team meeting or impactful event to alert the NCAA. Ask yourself: What if your team secretly got axed?

Richmond alumni: Write or call the advancement office and consider pulling annual donations. To do so, contact Scott Peters. Share your thoughts with Ann Lloyd Breeden, secretary to the Board of Trustees.

Lastly, social media is your friend. Hope Solo, Freddy Adu and Dwayne De Rosario have already tweeted to support Richmond men’s soccer and track. Add your voice to the conversation: #SaveSpiderSoccer.

Allowing Richmond to fall into mediocrity is not an option, nor is letting money destroy the reputable history of this university. It is up to you to change the ending.

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  • Mark Smith

    Wow! Well written and very insightful. Another interesting thing to note is that lacrosse is a favorite of the Wall Streeters who propped up Bill Cooper when he was hanging on by a thread, of which this donor was one. (Their kind was also responsible for the failed ouster of UVA’s Theresa Sullivan – you can read all about how they tried to take over unsuccessfully but they’re still running the Board of Visitors of a public university.)

    These Wall Street guys throw a bunch of money at their alma maters and pull the strings because they have a chip on their shoulder for not being a member of the Ivy League clubs in the northeast. They will never ever be admitted to those exclusive clubs, nor will their children. So what do they do instead? They take out their frustrations and feelings of inadequacy by bribing hungry presidents and fundraisers at their colleges with their millions to reshape their alma maters as they see fit. It would be interesting to uncover the high school transcripts of their kids to prove that they didn’t have the credentials to be admitted to Daddy’s school and that Daddy bought their way in – since they couldn’t buy their way into the Ivys. I am sure a talented reporter could find that info out since I will bet those same kids love to brag about Daddy’s influence. It’s sickening.

    • URstudent

      Regarding the end of your post suggesting that “The Daddy’s” children haven’t earned their way into UofR — you have no idea what you’re talking about. You don’t know them personally, and you don’t know them academically. Keep your ludicrous assumptions to yourself until you can provide some truth to them. I have a feeling you’ll turn up empty-handed.

      • Spider Alum 22

        I would tend to agree with you URstudent that we don’t know these kids – academically and personally, but we know the way the world works and that is through MONEY. Lets assume – as the article points out – that there was a parent who was able to get 3 million dollars together to start a lacrosse program at UR. Do you think for a second that this parent’s high school son will not be admitted to UR. I doubt the kid needs to even fill out an application or write an essay. Not saying the kid is worthy of being admitted or not, but the 3 million dollar donation secured his spot in the school. No different than if a certain Ukrop or Robbins wanted to attend UR – I have a hard time believing the University would tell their largest donors, thanks for the money – but your child is not smart enough for us. I think that is all the last post was trying to point out. Is it right that some private and even Public Universities work in this matter – no. But that is the way it is – and with the economic downturn our country has sustained the past year or so – money has become even more important in these types of situations.

      • Rachel Stewart

        It’s called a Presidential Admission List. There is a list of children of top donors and friends of top donors who are considered for admission even though the applicants don’t meet admission requirements. The president reviews them with his staff and the head of admissions. You can bet that there are multiple kids enrolled in Richmond right now who got in through their connections – I would name names but you should be smart enough to figure it out on your own. Funny isn’t it that these donors only started to give when their kids were in high school?

        • URstudent13

          Yes dear, you might be right, however, there is also a little thing called an athletic flagging list. Athletes get into the University when they don’t necessarily have the academic background so that they can play a sport. Funny isn’t it how you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

          • Rachel Stewart

            Since the soccer and track students regularly have the highest of GPAs at UR and nationally, I don’t think these students were lacking in their academic credentials.

  • thwack

    AD Jim Miller and Ayers want their legacy to be all about lacrosse but it won’t. It will be the two conference established and nationally recognized sports teams they euthanized just to make way for a glorified niche club sport of regional interest.

    The campus should be outragedthat no one was consulted and that existing resources were ignored

    Although I can’t really say I expected an better out of miller.I didn’t go to Richmond, but when I met him I commended him for the growing soccer teams and their commitment to a new stadium which seemed to me to be leaps ahead of the rest of the conference he seemed so indifferent by my compliment that it became apparent to me that soccer must be in the way of his agenda or no matter to want to preserve beca se I have never seen such ambivalence from someone in a position where he could take credit for everything good happening whether hecreated it or not. Much like Ayers and Miller will try to fo with lacrosse interests.

  • Spider Alum 22

    I would also suggest a peaceful demonstration outside the President’s office on Campus and outside the next Board meeting (I believe in December). Just look at what happened down the road at UVA. The Board made a decision in the middle of the night – got rid of the President, and the students and faculty demanded answers and didn’t agree with the decision. They protested, and within a few weeks – the President had her job back.

    Alumni, students, faculty, and athletes need to all come together to show their support for the track and soccer programs and their disapproval of the Board and their decision.

    Otherwise – UR might as well put a “For Sale” sign on the front entrance. If you have money, you can run the school, for a little while, until deeper pockets emerge.

  • Jon ’80

    yeah yeah yeah. go do all the kid said in his article but don’t forget to go see the lacrosse games because lacrosse is awesome and I guarantee you if it is a team that WINs and Kicks butt then it will not have the highest GPA of any sports team. Get your priorities straight folks and go see the fastest growing team sport in the country and the fastest game on two feet Lacrosse. So over due at University of Richmond!

    • URugger

      Fastest game on two feet? Google Rugby. Also, Google real size sport fields.

  • EquallyLong

    Let us not forget about Joanita! This hulla-ba-loo has come far too inconveniently for a university community that is already experiencing cowardice, avarice and other ices regarding one of its best and brightest!

  • Nancy Johnson

    If the Daddy is question is the same one referenced in the local newspaper, then he is not a business school graduate anyway – which makes it strange that he targets his gifts to the business school, plasters his name all over it, and allows himself to be described as a graduate of that school. Wonder why?

  • Proud UR Alum

    This is an embarrassing rant. Mr. Donahue, I am sure you are probably one of the students who whines that the university isn’t inclusive enough but then you go on to bad mouth a high school student who hasn’t even started his first day at UR. Consider this kids feelings the next time you think to spread gossip publicly. Regardless of how you feel about the way the programs were cut, don’t bad mouth an 18 year old kid who had no role in this and not cite any sources. If you want to make UR better, start with respecting incoming students.

  • SpiderSweet16

    I know this is an opinion piece, but you really should fact check before you submit.

    -Not a B-School Graduate, he graduated from RC (a quick chck of the UR Trustee Web Site and you could have figured that one out)

    -His son his a sophomore in high school, not a senior

    You say, “My goal is not to portray The Daddy as the villain..”, but you spent the first half of your piece doing exactly that, by using the old tired cliche that the guy is rich, so he must be “buying things for his kid.”.

    In response to the Poster about “plastering his name all over buildings”, last I checked the buildings on campus weren’t called Building 1, Building 2, Building 3, etc. They were all named for someone, and usually it was the $ donor. Nothing new

    And finally to all you, including the voices behind Save our Soccer, Carry the Flag, etc. Having an issue with the Pres, the board, a donor, a coach, etc is one thing. Bringing their families into the discussion, especially teenagers, is way out of line.

    • Sally James

      the poster said plastered his name all over the building. Singular. Meaning the business school, of which he is not a graduate. Strange. And check a little deeper on the names on buildings. You’ll find that most of those persons didn’t demand special treatment or control over the university in exchange for their largess. Believe it or not, there are philanthropists who give selflessly and not in their own self interest. Mr. Robins for example refused the offer of the board to change the name of the school to Robins University. You wouldn’t see him posing on the sidelines of a home football game and literally walking across the end zone while play was underway on the opposite end of the field. Yes, that’s the arrogance that’s in play here. I actually feel sorry for the staff who is having to put up with such arrogance. But if they can’t grow a spine and stand up to bullies, then they are in the wrong business.

      The Daddy is a villain because he has clearly thrown his weight around to the detriment of the soccer and track and field students and programs. For what purpose? So we can add lacrosse. A quick check of his Facebook page and that of his friends – who clearly aren’t smart enough to control their privacy settings – demonstrates that he has been working toward this end for some time. Just talk to the other trustees who feel like this was a back deal arrangement. And the staff who allowed this to happen for the villains – although they may feel like victims of an ever-increasingly competitive fundraising environment. They have to sell the soul of the institution that we all love to case the all-mighty dollar.

      And as far as bringing the family into it – college admissions and college sports are not elementary school enterprises. So if his family and his high school and college kids can’t stand a little scrutiny, then they need to go play somewhere else.

    • spider alum’06

      Well if their “daddy” wasn’t a money wielding self serving scum bag, no one would be talking about their family at all. Of course people are going to be bringing the kids into it…They are in part, a reason why the large donation was made, and consequently the sports were cut. Good luck to those kids if they choose to attend Richmond. I’m sure everyone is going to want to befriend the kid whose dad will buy him anything. Even if it costs the integrity of the University they attend to get it.

      • UR289094

        You lost all your credibility with the phrase “scum bag.” I guess you missed the lessons on civil discourse during your time at U.R. . . . .

  • Embarrassed UR Senior

    Mr. Donahue, you are the villian. In this article, you make it abudantly clear that you have been blinded by your anger and frustration with the administration’s decisions about the sports cuts. Personally, I whole-heartedly agree that soccer and track deserve a place at this school. I will continue to stand by my friends on both teams and carry the flag to help them fight for their sports to survive on this campus. But what you have done here with this article is the lowest move I have seen throughout this entire ordeal. Your words lost all credibility and power when you referenced Paul Queally’s children and made gross assumptions about their academic ability and reason for admission. Like URstudent said, you do not know them, and your issue with their father should not land on their shoulders. To add to your list of orders to all UofR affiliates,

    Richmond alum, Kevin Donahue: Think before you speak, and act your age.

  • Barbara Alexander Baroody

    I don’t think the problem is adding lacrosse. It’s dropping 2 other sports.

  • UR289094

    Mr. Donohue:

    Few things could be more democratic and befitting of university discourse than using the newspaper to express opinions — especially opinions that take issue with the actions of leaders with which you disagree.

    That shared, your effort here is simply over the top and does not help the situation in any way.

    Many of your facts are just wrong — the son of the donor is not a senior in high school; the donor is not a business school graduate; etc. — and even when the facts may be right, your approach is wrong.

    Impugning a student before s/he has ever stepped foot on campus and inferring that there are dubious situations associated with his or her admission is an act of wild conjecture on your part — you share no evidence to back your assertions, and, in fact, the student very well may have not applied yet since he is not a senior in high school.

    In addition to resorting to evidence-devoid assertions, the assertions themselves are ugly. The actions of the administration of your (and my) alma mater need to be questioned. But in questioning them, you need not drag through the mud a teenager who has yet to be admitted to (let alone enroll at) the institution. How would you have liked it if your character and reputation were publicly sullied in front of the entire university community two years before you ever set foot on campus? Students come to college, in part, to discover whom they are and, often, to redefine themselves. You had that chance. Why do you deny it to someone else — let alone someone who is not yet even in the community and who cannot defend himself?

    Your misguided approach is not helping the cause, nor is it helping you come across as a reasoned op-ed writer. Believe it or not, a lacrosse blog writer wholeheartedly agrees with your point that cutting two sports was not the way to add lacrosse. However, he points out to you and the rest of the globe that can access his blog via the world wide web that your approach is just plain ugly. In his post titled, “The Richmond Situation is Getting Catty”, he describes your approach as “a blunderbuss of eyerolling bitterness.” Again, this is a guy who agrees with your point that cutting the sports was wrong. (See: )

    The institution deserved better than the approach you use here.

    The people you impugn deserve better.

    I can only assume (hope) you are better than this.

  • UofRSupportTheSports

    It takes courage to write an opinion piece knowing that one’s opinion will likely be berated either way by those with differing opinions, so kudos to this writer for taking that risk for the sake of transparency. Yes, a few secondary facts were wrong (the son’s age, the donor’s degree). But these facts are also irrelevant to the core message here and irrelevant to the situation. It would have been easy and questionable to target the son, but I believe the writer respectfully left him out of it for the most part – all that was said was that he plans to attend Richmond. And is that point not entirely pertinent to the twisted story of hidden agenda being discussed here? Moreover, does a man not affect his entire family when he makes decisions that are publicly discussed? Shouldn’t we consider the ripple effect that our decisions have on those around us? Personally, if I’m about to make a decision (particularly a large-scale one such as those that have happened at Richmond this year) I would consider EVERY person that could possibly be affected or involved before the decision is made – especially my own family. Did the Daddy not think that his decision to donate funds for a lacrosse team would be criticized and analyzed?

    Regardless, it’s time to look past the different “facts” that have been thrown around since September, the subtleties of each story we hear, and whether or not we agree with the language used to deliver this story. It’s time to agree that above all, there was a glaring lack of transparency by U of R administration and there was a severence of trust. Whether you agree with the decision or not, are these not principles worth standing up for – or in the least – questioning?

  • Jake Morrison

    When arguments have become too divisive, it is important to remember that there are many things we can find common ground on. Like pancakes. Everybody loves pancakes.

  • spiderfan

    See the track alumni paper! Richmond should be proud to produce alumni that come up with this!

  • Donolito

    I am Keith Donohue, author of this piece. Corrections: Daddy is a graduate of the University of Richmond, and his son is slated to attend Richmond.

    In regards to Daddy’s son, I stated he supposedly is to attend Richmond and plays lacrosse – information from multiple articles and sources. Huffington Post just wrote about the termination of men’s soccer and track contingent on Daddy funding the new Richmond Visitor Center.

    Please pledge today to save men’s soccer and track. Finally, would this scandal have occurred if Daddy’s son played soccer?