A guy I umpired with for a lot of years owns a SW Minnesota insurance company with I think 8 branches now. Went to ND and so have 3 of his 4 kids so far. He’s a fairly significant donor himself, but his son is a cardiologist and is a REALLY significant donor. I’ve had dinner a couple times with the family and we’ve talked about the process of how money flows into those programs. He’s a really interesting guy and the average college football fan has zero clue how much power donors have over every aspect of a program. Way, WAY more than the ADs except in a situation like Alvarez.I think that is history. The Big USC boosters are mostly now 80 at the youngest. ND has lost a lot as well. What does continue is regional local team support to some degree in places without an identity such as Iowa, Nebraska, Alabama. Then there are the OSUs and UMs which are their own animal.
Anyway, ND isn’t on the way down by any means, they’re just the opposite. There’s a huge contingent of people sick of the down stretch they went through who are in their 40s and 50s and remember the ND their parents and grandparents talked about and they want it back. Bad. And they’ll get it. ND grads are a different breed and there’s more money there than you could possibly imagine. They’re already on the way back up, but look for them to join a conference soon and become a mega power again.