home sitesearch sitemap contact fan about
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:

Athletics: RCAF donations reach record $6.5 million in 2014

Megan Wyatt, The Advertiser, January 16, 2015


Community support has led to the success of the Ragin’ Cajuns athletic programs. Or is it the success of the Ragin’ Cajuns that is bringing in record donations from the community?

It’s one of those chicken-or-the-egg conversations, according to Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation board member Blaine Barrilleaux.

“There’s been a lot of excitement and buzz around athletics,” he said. “I don’t know if the success is a product of the donations or the donations are a product of the success. I think they go hand-in-hand.”

Either way, the excitement has resulted in a record $6.5 million in donations to the RCAF in 2014, according to foundation chairman Wayne Elmore.

Elmore did not know how much was raised in 2013 for comparison, but he confirmed the $6.5 million does set a record.

“I can tell you it’s substantial,” he said. “It’s over a 50 percent increase easily.”

Elmore had announced just Thursday that a portion of RCAF donations, called the RCAF Annual Fund, had increased 31 percent from 2013 and that the number of donors increased by 29 percent.

A total of $2.16 million in donations was made to the annual fund, which can be used for any athletic purpose.

The rest of the $6.5 million in RCAF donations were made to restricted funds that are earmarked for specific uses.

“This is a huge milestone,” Elmore said. “It shows that the fans are behind what we’re trying to accomplish.”

RCAF donations have increased every year since the foundation was created in 2009, according to founding board member and former chairman John Bordelon.

“They’ve broken a record every year,” Bordelon said. “We’ve had increases in the six years of its existence. I think it’s a byproduct of success.”

And 2014 truly was a stellar year on the field and in the classroom for UL’s student-athletes.

The Ragin’ Cajuns athletic programs were the only ones in 2014 to win a football bowl game, send a team to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, host NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals in both baseball and softball and send a team to the Women’s College World Series.

Student-athletes also outperformed every other university in the state and the Sun Belt Conference academically last year.

“It would obviously be helpful if we continue our winning ways,” Elmore said. “But in addition to that, people are seeing all the improvements we’re making to the end zone and the performance center. People are seeing that and it’s getting them excited, and they know that their money is going to what they want it to go to.”

The RCAF eclipsed the $2 million mark for for the annual fund for the first time in history last year, finishing with a total of $2.16 million. The previous record was $1.67 million raised in 2013.

Investments to the RCAF annual fund provide unrestricted funds to enhance support for overall operations, personnel and facility improvements, such as elements of the Athletic Facilities Master Plan, which was released in 2013.

The final two projects of Tier I of the three-tier plan are underway, with construction on the new track/soccer facility and the Student-Athlete Performance Center slated for completion in the fall of 2015.

Other projects included within Tier I included several enhancements to Cajun Field prior to the 2014 season including the addition of nearly 6,000 seats in the south end zone, the installment of a new state-of-the-art video display system, and additional concession stands and restroom facilities.

“It’s easier to sell a plan for improvement when you’re showing improvement along the way,” Bordelon said.

This year, goals are even bigger for the RCAF Annual Fund.

Elmore hopes to reach the $2.5 million or even $3 million mark to keep the best coaches, attract the best athletes and continue improving the athletic facilities for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

“There’s no minimum to what a person can give and no maximum,” Elmore said. “But there is a structure set up so that donors will get priority parking and seating and tickets to all of the sporting events.”

Learn more about the RCAF by visiting RCAF.louisiana.edu.

At a glance

The Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Foundation Annual Fund donations can be used for any purpose. The total RCAF donations include the annual fund donations plus restricted fund donations, which are earmarked for specific purposes.

Total RCAF donations for 2014: $6.5 million

Total RCAF donations for 2013: Unavailable

RCAF Annual Fund donations for 2014: $2.16 million

RCAF Annual Fund donations for 2013: $1.67 million

Number of RCAF donors for 2014: 2,537

Number of RCAF donors for 2013: 1,967

Source: RCAF Board Chairman Wayne Elmore