Last week, CSU president Tony Frank fired the biggest supporter of CSU athletics and their AD, Jack Graham. An unexpected move to almost everyone involved with CSU, the timing and suddenness of the move has gotten a lot of press. Three weeks before your first football game is not a great time to fire the person in charge of said game, and it leaves little time to hire an AD before the season starts. Tony Frank has earned the benefit of the doubt for CSU, but as recently as last week, the same could be said for Graham. Rumors abound for his sudden firing, some of the most popular being he didn't play well with others, CSU wanted to downsize the stadium project and Graham didn't, or Graham played fast and loose with rules regarding fundraising and Frank didn't want the bad press. Here is a good article for seeing the official documents CSU and Jack Graham, with Frank citing "irreconcilable differences" as the official reason for kicking him out the door. My personal belief as to the cause of his firing? He couldn't raise enough money for the stadium, so CSU showed him the door. It is nearly impossible to raise 110 million, in three years no less, with a 5,000 season ticket holder base and an apathetic host town. Graham bit off more than he could chew. But you aren't reading this to see my personal belief, you are reading this to see how this affects CU.
CSU Becomes More Likable
This may irk some CSU fans, but it's true. I've never had a problem with the school or the teams of CSU themselves, but some of the die-hard fans have a hatred of Boulder that is so strong, it's hard to like them back. This was amplified under Graham. He had a habit of writing checks with his mouth that he couldn't cash. Captain Jack liked to guarantee wins against CU in both football and basketball, and liked to advertise CSU to the point of putting down other in-state programs. With him gone, I suspect CSU will mellow out. Without a fearless leader, CSU can go back to being a fanbase that supports its team without putting others down. Then again, you never know with them, they love their Rams ALMOST as much as they hate CU.
RMS Future in Question
This is a shockwave from the firing that CU fans should be talking about more, given how much some of them hate this game. Don't look now, but both architects of the "RMS in Denver" deal are fired. Without Jack Graham's conviction and unwavering loyalty to this game, suddenly it becomes a lot easier for Mr. George to move the series to a home and home, or, even further, cancel the annual game. I can see a situation, relatively soon, where Rick George tries to negotiate with the new AD about moving it to home and home, or a more traditional 2&1 between a MWC and Pac-12 team. Given all the liberties the P5 teams have been given recently, it is becoming more and more likely CU will try to re-negotiate this deal in order to get more money out of it. The pillars that held this game up are falling, and I think it's only a matter of time before CU at the very least negotiates its way to a home and home.
Jack Graham was a mouthpiece for CSU athletics, and while he brought a lot more attention to the program (as well some good coaches), eventually he drowned out the success he created. Let me know what you think about his firing below!