ATHENS – When he coached at Georgia from 1996-2000, Jim Donnan didn't have to be at the mercy of the television executives.
His Bulldogs were a huge draw and held enough power in the relationship to be able to dictate some terms to TV, such as no weekday games, but Donnan knows what it's like on the other side as well.
Donnan coached at Marshall from 1990 to 1995 and one of his most crucial achievements at the school was a television contract with local cable companies.
"We didn't make much money, but the exposure got us in line with some mid-level Division 1-A players that we probably wouldn't have been able to attract," Donnan said.
For schools in the Southeastern Conference, television contracts are mostly about money and how much they can get to sell their rights, but for smaller schools like Marshall, they deals are about much more. Marshall's television contract turned the Thundering Herd into a regional recruiting player and helped the school get a contract with Nike.
The biggest difference Donnan saw with his team on television was in recruiting, he said. "The recruiting of the athletes, that's how you win games," he said. "You've got to get players, and they like that exposure. They like being on College Gameday. They like all that stuff. Everybody is worried about their parents being able to see them play we were able to tell them at least that their parents could still see them play."