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UO Professors Criticize Athletics Spending

NerdsAnother salvo in the battle between academics and athletics appeared in Sunday’s Register-Guard in the form of an opinion column by UO biology professor Nathan Tublitz and UO English professor James Earl, both former UO Senate presidents. Citing the $2 million settlement of outgoing AD director Bill Moos’ contract and multi-million dollar spending on housing and recruitment for student athletes, the professors accuse the University of financially prioritizing athletics, resulting in the devaluation of its academic reputation. One solution they propose to resolve this imbalance is to divert some funds from athletic programs for academic scholarships:

Many people think athletics makes money for the university, but that is not true. At Notre Dame and Ohio State, the athletic departments give back more than $10 million every year to education – but at the UO, not a penny. A few years ago the faculty asked the athletic department to add a mere 25 cents to football and basketball tickets, to be earmarked for student scholarships. The request was refused. We asked that a small percentage of every donation to athletics be earmarked for education. The administration refused. All athletic revenues and gifts go entirely to the athletic budget, which has been growing four times faster than the university’s. When education is in trouble, we think the Ducks should be able to contribute something more than fun.

We are by no means suggesting that the university get out of intercollegiate athletics. Athletics is and will remain an essential part of campus life at the UO. But the current emphasis on athletic success draws our attention away from the real problem, which is academic decline, while the administration pretends that everything is fine.

A total of 90 UO faculty members co-signed the opinion piece.

Update (01/16): Frohnmayer issues a reply in the R-G.

  1. Niedermeyer says:

    The academic learning center mentioned in the article is currently being discussed in the University Senate, according to a brief summary in last week’s student Senate meeting. Frohnmayer appears to insist that the center is “not explicitly just for athletes,” but is aimed at curing Oregon’s reputedly poor academic support for athletes. He also assured the faculty that the administration had not yet committed to the project, though it was noted that the plans appear to be “well developed.”

    Seems like the faculty knows that the Moos thing went over like a lead balloon, and want to see how much leverage they can get out of it. That $600 million has got to be on plenty of people’s minds. Frankly, the fact that Athletics can’t even come close to breaking even sends much the sae message as the Vegas Bowl did: too much sizzle, no steak. Plenty of money for uniforms and freaking holographic helmets, but they need a full third of the capital capaign. So much for having one of the few sports marketing schools in the country!

  2. Doomscheissah says:

    The only ones I cared about on that list were Falk and Freinkel. And really, this won’t do anything to change the way things are done on campus. Until the faculty clean up their act, that is.

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