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Schwoeffermann Strikes Back

Well, it’s 4 am, I can’t sleep, and apparently Ty Schwoeffermann is writing again… just what I needed.

Having disappeared from the Emerald after his now-infamous “Watch out for Jungle Fever” column, Ty is back with a guest commentary entitled “Athletics should offer more to higher education.” Whereas “Jungle Fever” was unrelentingly, overbearingly, crushingly stupid, the latest opus is more mildly confused with just a dash of the famous Schwoeffermann crazy.

The piece begins:

The majority of students are grateful for the opportunity to attend such a high-caliber school, and if your family is wealthy (the average University of Oregon student’s family income is $100,000 per year), then a quality education is implied.

The rest is of about the same quality, except for this little nugget:

Financial assistance along with many other supplements can change the racial and class disparities at this school. The Athletic Department is not causing racism and economic inequality, but it is not advocating against it. By not actively working to fix these problems, the department is only facilitating the inequality by putting student athletes to work on the plantation fields.

So let’s recap: Schwoefferman railing against interracial dating is not racist, but the Athletic Department’s lack of advocacy is. C’mon Ty, don’t athletes get academic support and residence options that aren’t available to the average student? Do you really think anyone takes charges of racism seriously from someone who thinks interracial dating “isn’t right”? Don’t you think it’s a little bit insulting to the memory of the survivors of slavery to compare their ordeal to collegiate athletes in the 21st Century? And I thought the Commentator was desperate for content…

  1. anon says:

    Sorry, I didn’t want to be an abominable ho-man or anything.

  2. Jacque says:

    LOL thanks for the correction on the spelling… no spell check on this thing… see I’m getting my edumacation!!!

  3. Hmmm says:

    I understand. (I have to say, though, Snoop, Kobe and TO were my role models growing up, and I got into college. I had shit grades, never attended class and spent most of my time playing basketball and partying. But I decided to move out of my house and live with my aunt and uncle. I got straight A’s and pushed out more than 2,000 other UO applicants that year. ‘It ain’t no fuuuuuuun if a homey can’t haaaaaaaave none.’ Yeah! Please don’t diss Snoop.)

  4. anon says:

    I agree, Jacque: Many of his points aren’t “Ludacris.” And I can say with a fair amount of certainty that many of Ludacris’ points aren’t “ludicrous” — he’s got hos in different area codes, and that’s no lie.

  5. Jacque says:

    What I would like you to do is put yourself in the place of a young black boy whose role models only include Snoop Dogg, Terrel Owens, and Kobe Bryant. When you contrast this with the family and community realities in which this young black boy lives what choice does he have but either try to be a hard core gang member or an athletic phenom? My point is that if you argue that these athletes have a choice, I guess, but as I have stated numerous times given the background and socio-economic realities in which many black people live in can you truley tell me that the choice is truley there? Do the coaches really say “focus only on sports” no of course not but when it is something that has been engrained into our culture there comes a point where not only is the choice no longer there but people no longer have to say overtly “focus only on sports” its implied.

  6. Nick says:

    “Is the Athletic department the problem in and of itself? No, the problem is that we still live in a society where people are mentally enslaved. Does the athletic department perpetuate this, I think yes. yes, because they are in a position to propel student-athletes into the national spotlight and use this for a good purpose rather than just to make millions of dollars for the school.”

    “…I feel that that is what is missing when you tell a student athlete that sports is the only thing that they should focus on. ”

    So what’s a possible solution? Doesn’t the athletic department provide students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend college the chance? And doesn’t it bring in tons of revenue? I think academics should be the main asset of any “institution of enlightenment,” but you can’t say sports is contributing to the problem. Sports gets people into colleges where they can pursue a career. If athletes focused more on school then they’d have a much more sustaining future, not one that could come crashing down due to a torn ACL, for example. It should be the student athlete’s responsiblity to do well in school. I really don’t think the athletics department encourages stupidity. Do coaches really say “focus only on sports”? Isn’t there a minimum GPA they have to keep or something?

  7. Niedermeyer says:

    T: If comments are being deleted, nobody told me about it.

    Anon, Jacque: right on!

  8. Jacque says:

    Yes, Ty is a racist. I am not saying that he is not. I am not saying that many of his points aren’t ludacris. What I am saying, and what I said to Ted last night is that while the root of the problem begins while people are in diapers does that mean that it is ok to have a system perpetuate the problem rather than actively working to curb it? No. Its kind of one of those things: if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem. Is the Athletic department the problem in and of itself? No, the problem is that we still live in a society where people are mentally enslaved. Does the athletic department perpetuate this, I think yes. yes, because they are in a position to propel student-athletes into the national spotlight and use this for a good purpose rather than just to make millions of dollars for the school.
    Being by biracial I can tell you, it makes no difference what race a person is they can still be a racist. Teds comment about someone who is an african-american academic being labled “not black” is spot on. I can’t tell you how many times I have jokingly “had my black card revoked” now I take it as a joke but this concept that there is one thing that is black and one thing that isn’t is ludacris. I hate it. So again we in every aspect of our society should discuss race and its place in our society because I feel like that discussion doesn’t happen. Education is a unique thing because I feel like it is the “great equalizer.” I am also a first generation college student and will be the first in my family to recieve an advanced degree. My struggle to get to where I am has placed me in a position to have met many judges, and prominent community members, in a position to make a difference. This is a gift that I recieved from my education and I feel that that is what is missing when you tell a student athlete that sports is the only thing that they should focus on. The idea that they are not told that, welll… just look at popular culture. Do you see prominent black professionals represented there? Nope. But you do see people like Bill Gates, Donald Trump and the like represented… Anyway now I’m rambling but you get my point… (I hope) 🙂 Lets start a discussion about race issues I think it does need to be both internally within different minority groups as well as transcending racial lines…

  9. Timothy says:

    In my mind, all of y’all are on fire.

  10. Nick says:

    Hmmmm….Olly….Olly….That’s a tough one to make a ‘hilarious’ joke about, actually, it’s a funny name by itself. 😉 J/K. I wasn’t disagreeing with Dumbscheissahkopf. I think he was being quite simple with his idea of a fix to the education system, but I don’t disagree. I just wondered what a “problem teacher” meant in relation to racism and black kids not having enough routes to college (other than sports, according to Schwiff.) The comment after that was just to piss you off.
    I do wonder, though, what situation allowed him to get to college. Obviously he doesn’t play sports. But what is his family income? Does he fit into the category with the average student whose parents make $100,000 a year? And of course I’m interested in how he passed a writing class considering his inability to get a verb and a noun to agree.

  11. T says:

    As a reader I ask: Why are things being deleted from this comments section?

  12. Goward says:

    I do have to agree that this is typical Ty. I worked last year with him in the ASUO, and this is his typical crap. While calling people racist, he was being racist. A double standard… “its not right for anyone other than I to be racist.” Ty’s comments are just about as bad as me saying I hate gay people (you would have to know me to get that) but I guess there are gay guys who are homophobe out there, but they are just as absurd as Ty though.

  13. Anon says:

    I’m remaining anonymous also because of conflicting interests, and also because I know Ty personally. Well, I thought I did before the “Jungle Love” article. I’ve known Ty here at the UO for about 3 years now, and never had an inkling of what he was hiding. The thing I find the funniest is that Ty is himself half-black and half-white. He is the product of an interracial relationship, and while I can’t comment on his parents relationship, I see now that his childhood must of had some affect on his opinions in the world. Having many friends in relationships that transcend race, and myself also being biracial, I was appalled and frankly disgusted. If a white person had written that arictle there would of been far more upheaval over that article. The white writer would have been called out as a rasict and the public would have demanded an answer from the ODE, and the writer as well. Ty gave no response to the public- never apologized or defended his opinion. I know he is entitled to it, but all of us who thought we knew him were left with jaws hanging. Ty finally answered his friends, or at least me, by claiming that he was not a racist, simply a separatist. He believes that white and blacks should be seperate, and that our spheres of life shouldn’t ever co-mingle, but merely co-exist. Seperatly. Divided. But equal, Right? Wait a minute, I swear I’ve heard that reasoning from loony racists before. If not wanting to interact with someone based purely on thier skin color isn’t racism, I obviously don’t know what it is.
    And anyone who wouldn’t date me because I was ‘too dark’ or because they are thinking about ‘what would others think?’ weren’t racist. Oh, now I get it, they were all just separatists. I thought we were trying to get beyond defining people according to their skin tone, but Ty just goes and reinforces that line of thinking. My skin color may define my reality, but it does not define who I am. As MLK said, I choose my friends based on the content of thier character rather than the color of thier skin. I recommend that Ty simmer down a bit, and think carefully before he opens his mouth. Ty is looking for a controversy, and I, for one, won’t give him anything to argue about.

  14. Olly says:

    “What you

  15. Doomscheissah says:

    Nick: Not really related to Swifferduster more than just people in general. Swifferduster is just a complete and utter moron who will probably end up in a low-paying job being an advocate for Bob Jones or Bob Jones University.

    And Niedermeyer: It’s cool. Without making light of a situation, we brood in darkness.

  16. Nick says:

    Oh, I get it. Silly me. What you’re saying, Dumbscheissahkopf, is because of a pitying teacher, Schwifferdouche should have been kicked out long ago because he couldn’t pass English?

  17. Niedermeyer says:

    Hey Doom, if you think that “Someone who is willing to pass a kid in class because they feel sorry for them” is a problem teacher, it just means you aren’t working the system hard enough. Without these “problem teachers” I might have my dignity, but I’d have flunked out long ago. With that, I’ll apologize for making light of an otherwise serious discussion.

  18. Niedermeyer says:

    Bingo, Andy. Nobody is saying that institutional racism and a thousand other forms of inequality don’t exist, what’s being said is that in the big picture, collegiate athletics is generally more “problematic solution” than “tool of oppression.” Furthermore, the critique that says athletics are “presented as the only thing that a young black man will ever be good at” is simply incorrect. Yes, athletics are one of the few ways that incredibly talented and motivated people can become fantastically rich, but it is much less available to people of all races than your average middle-class job, and I think most collegiate athletes know that better than anyone. Furthermore, one hears that African-Americans who pursue academics as a principal interest are often characterized by their communities as “less than black,” a great example of which is a certain African-American who is running for President. How is that kind of cultural self-persecution less of the problem than the fact that Universities offer athletic scholarships?

  19. Doomscheissah says:

    What constitutes a problem teacher:

    Someone who is unwilling to change their position on certain issues involving classroom behavior.

    Someone who is willing to pass a kid in class because they feel sorry for them.

    Someone who abuses tenure in order to try and control a department.

    That’s just the start. Administrators need to have oversight and a clear way to fire a teacher without having major reprocussions.

    At the same time, Administrators who encourage said behavior should also be axed.

    My point is, specifically, if you want better students, you find better teachers and replace the problem ones.

  20. Andy says:


    So what about all the Hispanic kids who can’t make it onto the teams? Or Asians? Or basically anyone who is poor or minority who can’t run a 40m in 4 seconds or can’t bench 300lbs? Ty conveniently forgot all of those minorities, which I imagine aren’t on academic scholarships.

    Ty is a racist, and when he acts out, we shouldn’t call that ‘bringing attention to a problem’ but what is actually is – racism.

  21. Nick says:

    What, exactly, constitutes a “problem teacher,” Mr. Dumbscheissahkopf?

  22. Doomscheissah says:

    You can blame the Teachers’ unions for all of this, demanding 6.3 billion dollars for K-12 that, in reality, doesn’t teach anything.

    We need to start at the root of the problem, which means reforming our education budget, reforming the way teachers are hired and give administrators the ability to fire problem teachers, even if they are in a teachers union.

    Start at the root of the problem. Don’t try to take off a limb.

    That is where you find the solution.

  23. Ian says:


    Right, but the problem you’ve specified lies with America’s secondary schools, not collegiate athletics. It is not the fault of the Oregon Athletic Department if a scholarship they’ve offered to person from a low-income family is the better option among only bad choices.

    The two main criticisms of NCAA athletics is that the student-athletes are bound by a special set of rules and that they receive no compensation other than a free education despite the fact that they can make their schools millions of dollars. The first criticism is absurd, because organized teams require rules. The second complaint is far more valid, particularly since programs often push student-athletes to emphasize sports over their classwork. But if schools were allowed to pay athletes and engage in contract negotiations with them, do you think that would increase or decrease the number of available scholarships? I would guess that since costs would go up and uncompetitive programs would go away, the total number of athletic scholarships available decrease.

    But anyway, in our current NCAA system choices do exist for players and even if they are bad choices it’s still absolutely fucking absurd to equate college athletics with slavery.

  24. Jacque says:

    Now, I don’t pretend to know what his point was I was giving you what I got out of the article… maybe I have some unique insight when it comes to racial issues. Additionally, the fact that athletics is a gateway to an education is great but we really aren’t doing anyone a favor by giving them a scholarship, which seems to be what you are suggesting, when you have people that are still graduating from high school and even college without being able to critically think and take part in ourt society. So yes for shame on the athletic department, and for shame on our society. For shame because we tell people that they don’t have to succeed in life through use of critical thinking and academics. You say that people sign up for things voluntarily when they participate in college athletics while this is true this choice is illusory when it is seen as the only way to get out and presented as the only thing that a young black man will ever bee good at. For this reason many young black men do not have the option. They are more likely to attend schools in inner city schools because of their familial situations. These schools are not funded welll enough to truely educate. Then they are pushed through the system and told that if they want to do anything they need to pick up a football or a basketball. We are not educating them to the extent so they get to the point of not ever being taught anything and then you say well it was your choice? I call b.s. its institutional racism that goes back to when these college athletes are born, not at the time they decide to accept their fat scholarship to a pac 10 school.

  25. Nick says:


  26. Timothy says:

    A man can hardly be said to be raising a point if his writing is incomprehensible, nay, utterly asinine. Rather than assume that you, Jacque, have some sort of unique insight into whatever it is Ty is on about, I’m going to continue to ignore his poorly written rants.

    I’d also note that it’s hard to be a slave to something you signed up for voluntarily. I mean, how dare athletics be a gateway to an education people wouldn’t have gotten otherwise! For shame! FOR SHAME!

  27. Jacque says:

    Is Ty’s point that due to the allure of athletics and the problematic financial situation many minority students have little choice but to rely on college athletics as a way out of the financial situations their families are burdened with and in effect they become a slave to the “college athletics” glitz? Because I agree with that statement and if he goes on to argue that the athletic department should try to actively alleviate this by putting a stronger emphasis on academic success. While it is true that people have a choice to focus on either athletics or academics, that choice is mostly illusory for many people, specifically minorities. Although his writing style not good and he presented an issue in a generally unintelligable manner, he does raises interesting points. Lets focus on that and start a discussion about it….

  28. Timothy says:

    The #1 rule of the intertubes applies in real life: do not feed the trolls.

  29. Niedermeyer says:

    Anonymous- I’m not sure why you’d defend this piece of unmitigated tripe, but if you really think that the Athletic Department is engaged in the moral equivalent of slavery, for Gods sake tell us why, because Ty sure doesn’t. His piece points out several broad, pervasive social problems, namely racism and economic inequality and blames the Athletic Department for not solving the problem. Then he claims that athletes, with their full-ride scholarships, individualized academic support and locker rooms dripping with plasma-screens are being “put to work in the plantations?” Find me one athlete who will agree with that. While you’re at it, find me someone who has been enslaved in our lifetime (they exist, and they’re all different colors) and see what their reaction is to this.

    The real problem here, is that while Ty may actually care about racial and economic inequality, he’s noticeably more interested in pissing people off. I was willing to write off the angry tirade against interracial dating as a stupid mistake, written in a hurry, and poorly considered. Since the “Jungle Fever” ran, not only was there no public explanation for the piece that launched a thousand guest commentaries, but Ty has also tried to turn a tense PFC meeting into a full-blown shouting match over nothing, and now he is comparing student athletes to slaves. The more I comment on his work, the more I feel like I’m giving him what he wants more than anything else: his own little controversy.

  30. Nick says:

    “The problemS that many black Americans have in accessing an education IS frequently predicated on financial problemS that becomeS apparent in intercollegiate athletics.” I see. So basically what you’re saying is the problems is based on financial problems that becomes apparent in sports, right? Way to use examples to support your argument;)

  31. Blaser says:

    I’d like to know where he got the statistic that the average family income of a student at the U of O is $100,000, as I think you would find that almost all students rely on financial aid, scholarships, loans, and holding down assorted jobs to work their way through school as tuition has risen out of control.

    I think what Ty also needs to remember is that sure, athletes are “employed” by the athletic department, but I don’t think they would balk at the compensation. Athletes are entitled to special academic aid not offered to regular students, many professors cut them slack because of hectic schedules, and they are given housing allowances to help with rent. Not to mention football and basketball players are handed a national stage onto which they can display their talents, and possibly use the opportunity to become a professional. Oh, and you also get a free or severely discounted education in the process. Call me crazy, but I don’t think there is much to complain about there.

    Sure it would be nice to see more athletes achieving more by way of academics, but the fact is they received an athletic scholarship in the first place because they chose to put an emphasis on sports in their life, which is a personal choice, not made by the university and forced upon the students. They could have just as easily turned down any athletic scholarships and chosen to pay their own way through school like most other students, giving them more time and effort to focus on their studies.

    I do agree that college should be more accessible to those who have trouble affording it, but I strongly believe that if you gave a football player the option to either make it through school on a pell grant, academic scholarship, student loans and a part time job (Which are available to anyone who applies) in lieu of a cushy “job” with the athletic department, I think they would all scramble to play xbox in their $1,000,000 locker room instead.

  32. olly says:

    “In fact, racism is very alive and well throughout this University – and this country. Simply put, racism is a real issue, especially to someone who is black.”

    I don’t disagree with any of that. (For instance, this is a University in which people write articles in the student paper decrying the evils of interracial dating. I was particularly shocked by that one.)


  33. Andy says:

    So if someone commits a “hate crime,” you’d view some good in that because it brought “very real issues” to light?

    If you truly believe that there is racism and it should end, at least do the cause the justice of seeing the reality of the situation; namely admitting that rasicsts are as racists do.
    Just because you may think Ty is a good guy and for the right things, his actions certainly are counter to ending racism on this campus – in fact with his ‘Jungle Fevor’ piece he added hate and ignorance to the campus. He is fueling racism by saying racist tripe, but if you think racism from Ty is good because it shines a light on racism, then you too are a racist.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Gonna stay anonymous in order to avoid conflicts of interest…

    But I’d just say that Ty does make some valid points. While I understand that some of his views may be controversial, I do not believe he is as off-base as some people claim. In fact, racism is very alive and well throughout this University – and this country. Simply put, racism is a real issue, especially to someone who is black. It’s very easy to discount the grievances of Ty by attacking his writing style (which isn’t bad) or his sometimes divisive conclusions, but I actually think Ty is trying to express a point of view which can only come from someone who has personally experienced racial divisions. While I respect some people’s interest in critically examining his arguments, I do believe that even behind some faulty arguments there can exist very real issues —

  35. Olly says:

    “The black population, for example, composes [sic] 40 percent of the male student athletes, but added to the total male population of our school it is equal to less then .5 percent of the University population.”

    You know what he means. And yet Ty has just claimed that the University is over 99.5 % female.

    Is it the fault of institutional racism that this man cannot write a coherent English sentence?

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