According to at least one important donor to Texas Longhorns athletics, some of the critcisms levelled at athletic director Steve Patterson are way overblown.
"Some of this stuff is just fiction," Dallas lawyer Steve Stodghill told the Austin American-Statesman. "There's more truth in a Jurassic Park movie than in some of the stuff I read on the Internet about Steve Patterson."
Indeed, the Statesman also offered the following:
Athletic department officials believe part of Patterson's perception problem stems from a June report by Horns Digest. The widely circulated story had a laundry list of allegations, which the Statesman found to have varying degrees of truth.
But the perception problems are real inside the university because new UT-Austin president Greg Fenves took Patterson to task last week -- a report indicated that Fenves wants Patterson to "change his personal style" following allegations of frosty relations with donors.
While two donors refused comment for the report, mega-booster Joe Jamail also weighed in, saying that he didn't cancel his football suite for the 2015 season in protest of Patterson's efforts as the head of Texas, Inc. and adding that he doesn't agree with all the anger directed at Patterson by fans.
So what is Patterson doing behind the scenes to ensure that money held in the deepest pockets of Longhorns boosters end up in the athletic department coffers? The Statesman reports that he's been holding fundraisers around the state and region in which he sells the future of Texas athletics by asking a few simple questions.
"What do you want this school to be?" he told the Statesman. "You want us to be the best? You want us to provide the best? You want our kids to have the opportunity to have tremendous changes in their life story, which changes the world? Or not?
"If it's not, OK, then it's not. But I don't think it's not."
Simple, but most likely effective -- he is talking to people who have a great deal of pride in the university. Clearly a Patterson supporter, Stodghill also said that Patterson is a "perfect fit" for what the Horns need moving forward, even though the athletic director himself admitted that his emotional quotient isn't as strong as his predecessor, DeLoss Dodds.
As for Fenves, he apparently wants people to stop calling him complaining about Patterson.
With Stewart Mandel and Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports now on record predicting that Patterson won't be able to keep his job through next spring, those private fundraisers need to start creating a sea change that trickles down to fans and faculty to give Fenves' phone a break before the president starts thinking more seriously about a change.