|ESPN.com: College Football||[Print without images]|
|Joe Malugen, left, didn't attend Troy University, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming the school's No. 1 booster.|
|POWER OF THE BOOSTERS|
It's a love-hate relationship that binds a college and its boosters. They are often the first ones pointed to when recruiting violations surface. And the first ones called upon when facilities need an upgrade. With their money comes their two cents. Some call it influence. Others say it's meddling. ESPN.com examines the role of the college booster:
• Just do it! It's not just a Nike catch phrase, it's heady advice in dealing with billionaire philanthropist Phil Knight, who lords his money over his alma mater.
• Money talks: Giving $100 million to his alma mater does more than get Boone Pickens' name on OSU's football stadium, it buys him decision-making influence.
• Corporate $upport: Joe Malugen didn't graduate from Troy University, but he saw the giant-killing football team as a marketing vehicle for his company.
• Wave of support: In the wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastation, Tulane's athletes have served as roving ambassadors for the storm-ravaged university.
• The high price of supply and demand: The face value of a seat at a college football game is but a fraction of its real cost, thanks to mandatory donations tied to season-ticket sales.
• A Tiger of a trustee: He might be slight of frame, but none throws his weight around like the Most Powerful Booster in college sports.
• Power Brokers: The power to pull strings isn't always decided by those with the fattest wallets in ESPN.com's top-10 list of college boosters.
• Boosters Gone Wild: Deep pockets, dirty deals and death threats make for college football's "most unhealthy rivalry."
|After he led Troy to its first bowl appearance, the Cowboys made Demarcus Ware their first-round pick in last year's NFL draft.|
|After Joe Malugen and Richard Scrushy pledged to bankroll Troy's jump to Division I-A, other boosters quickly followed.|