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Anchor Drop, February 24, 2020: When it hits the fan

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Oh... well, this doesn’t sound good.

NCAA Football: East Tennessee State at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning.

So, last night, Chris Lee at VandySports decided to drive all of us to drink (but, really, when did we ever stop?) when he posted the rare free article about the uncertainty surrounding the grand facilities plan that was supposed to be coming any day now. I don’t care who you are; quotes like this are, well, brutal:

A football locker project, with an associated cost of $6-7 million, was supposed to be the first domino. As of the middle of last week, Vanderbilt hadn’t started any work on the project.

The athletic department is still attempting to raise the money for that project. One source believes that, while the project is “close to closing,” that only $2 million has been secured.

So, yeah. That doesn’t sound good. We were told a year ago, when Malcolm Turner was first hired, that Vanderbilt was about to start taking this seriously. Instead, a year later, we’re less than halfway to a new locker room for the football team. That’s it? That was the big plan?

Oh, but there’s more...

Vanderbilt has hosted three luncheons for athletics boosters in an attempt to raise funds specifically for the locker project. The last was on January 24. Those did not go well.

“There was not a positive vibe towards athletics in the room,” a source who was there for one of those meetings said. “Nobody was interested in giving. They said, ‘We need to see something for the fans.’

“Boosters see the situation for what it is. Show us something, and then we can talk.”

VU has several boosters who could easily fund the project with one check.

“I’m speculating, but, I think the big donors told them, ‘no,’” a source said.

Another long-time booster indicated he’s done with the university until it shows solid commitment to athletics, and said he’s not alone.

“People are tired of throwing good money after bad money,” the source said. “Until we get confidence in the leadership, why make further investments?”

There are two ways of reading this. One is that some of Vanderbilt’s boosters frankly don’t think Vanderbilt has any idea what it’s doing, and like a parent slowly coming to the realization that the financial support they’re giving to a child is mostly going to fund said child’s cocaine habit, decides to cut them off until they get their act together. But the other way to read this is that Vanderbilt’s boosters are pulling back at exactly the time when the athletic program needs them to step up the most.

But, in case you’re wondering how much they really care about the fans, there is this line buried deep in the story:

Tearing down Memorial Gym was discussed. That also met resistance, though not as much from the university as much as from the historic nature of the building.

No. That should never even be on the table.

Anyway, how’s everyone’s morning going?

In actual sports news, baseball completed a three-game sweep of Illinois-Chicago with a 5-2 win on Sunday, and women’s basketball fell below .500 on the season (and to 3-11 in the SEC) with a 67-63 loss at Tennessee.

Scoreboard

SEC Women’s Basketball: South Carolina 67, Kentucky 58 ... Alabama 66, Mississippi State 64 ... Georgia 73, LSU 56 ... Texas A&M 84, Auburn 54 ... Florida 83, Arkansas 80 ... Missouri 82, Ole Miss 67.

SEC Baseball: LSU 10, Eastern Kentucky 2 ... Tennessee 7, Stanford 2 ... Florida 5, Miami 3 ... Santa Clara 8, Georgia 4 ... Kentucky 8, Appalachian State 7 ... Ole Miss 13, Xavier 3 ... Texas A&M 14, Army 12 ... Alabama 5, UNLV 1 ... Northwestern 4, South Carolina 3 ... Arkansas 9, Gonzaga 5 ... UCF 12, Auburn 2 ... Oregon State 7, Mississippi State 2 ... Missouri 8, Texas A&M-CC 4.

NBA: Lakers 114, Celtics 112 ... Nuggets 128, Timberwolves 116 ... Raptors 127, Pacers 81 ... Bulls 126, Wizards 117 ... Thunder 131, Spurs 103 ... Pelicans 115, Warriors 101 ... Trail Blazers 107, Pistons 104.

NHL: Capitals 5, Penguins 3 ... Sabres 2, Jets 1 ... Stars 2, Blackhawks 1 ... Islanders 4, Sharks 1 ... Flames 4, Red Wings 2 ... Blues 4, Wild 1 ... Golden Knights 6, Ducks 5 ... Oilers 4, Kings 2.