College football is well known for it's adorable absurdities. This is most well visible during the season, when all of our sacred traditions, from the Hog Call to running through the A to Bubba Hawg, are on full display. But there is also one tradition that never gets mentioned in any of the football preview magazines. Donation season. Yes, I, and I'm sure several other fans, recently received the email from the Razorback Foundation in which I am politely reminded that the football pledge drive is underway.
Each year, the athletic department asks the fans, "Just what level of Hog are you? Big, Tush, Wild, or Super?" For some fans, the answer may be the same each year, and for others, it may depend on the size of your tax refund, Walmart bonus, divorce settlement, amount you saved by not turning on the lights for a month, or other some such sum. And if you want the right to get a quality $45 ticket to watch Arkansas dismantle Jacksonville State on Labor Day weekend (and reserve your spot for Alabama, LSU, and the others), you smile as you make your partly tax-deductible pledge and whisper "For Bobby" as you sign the check. (How it works after the jump)
This process can be tricky, so it's important to know what you're doing. With the recent success of the football team, there's a good chance there are some rookies out there. Here's some things to know. You'll see stadium sections with designated "minimum donations" for a seat in a particular section. If you think you can donate the minimum for whatever section you want to sit in, unless it's the upper level, you're most likely mistaken. Other people have donated well beyond the minimum (remember-partly tax deductible) so don't put much stock in that. You might also think it's a good idea to call the Foundation and ask "how much do I have to donate to get tickets in section xyz?" They won't tell you. It might be true that they don't totally know, but they aren't going to do anything to deter anyone from donating as much as possible. It's somewhat like Blackjack. They want you to lay down 21 every time, even if an 18 would win.
But remember, they're not doing that to be greedy, but because if you want to win in the SEC, you have to shop at Neiman Marcus. You may have seen the plans for a facility upgrade, which they've been showing to recruits, or cheered Bobby Petrino's contract extension. The donations pay for all of it. In the end, if you're willing to pay tens, hundreds, or thousands of dollars just for the donation, you have every right to be an insane SEC fan. Not a tree-poisoning idiot SEC fan, but a tailgate-is-nicer-than-my-house fan. So ignore the Sarah Mclachlan commercial in your head. You're donating to a worthy cause. We've got banners to hang and ESPN's got documentaries to make, and they don't make them for 8-4 teams with a Sun Belt locker room.