The new president of Iowa State University sounds like he’s a fan of I.S.U. athletic director Jamie Pollard. Steven Leath took over as I.S.U. president in February and Leath says he is “very pleased” with Pollard’s management of Cyclone athletics.
“I’ve developed a close working relationship with Mr. Pollard and I anticipate great successes with him there,” Leath says. Nebraska left the conference last year to join the Big 10. Missouri and Texas A&M will soon be leaving, but Leath doesn’t expect other exits.
“I don’t think so anymore,” Leath says. “The conference is very stable now. The fact that we have equal revenue sharing changed most members thoughts on participation, so I see a very stable conference for quite a few years to come.” Leath has set a goal of raising 100-million dollars in private funds during his first year on the job.
He considers athletic success as a key ingredient of a fundraising strategy for the university. “Athletics are the front door of the university. That’s how many people perceive a university. Often their impression of whether you’re a mediocre school or a great school is influenced by the success of your athletic teams and it’s also a great experience for students,” Leath says.
“It’s a part of campus life and it’s also a great way for us to raise revenue which is something we need to do more and more.” Leath says he is “comfortable” that Iowa State’s athletic department is placing a proper emphasis on ensuring Cyclone athletes are good students and graduating at a rate that’s higher than the general student body.
Leath made his comments during a weekend appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program.