Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eddykayshun at OU

Thanks to Ridenbaugh Press for a heads up on this one. The Opinion Piece in the Register Guard signed by 92 Oregon University faculty is distressing to say the least. Some college athletics departments give money back to the university, at Ohio State U it's around $10 million, at our OU it's zip, yep nada. If everything was just ticking along that might not be an issue, but everything is not just ticking along. While the athletics department's budget has increased by 224% since 1994, $18.5Mil to $41.5Mil the biology dept. gets along with 20% less office staff for 20% more students and a budget increase of 47%. You get a situation where a student athlete costs $92,000 per year while a biology student costs $705 per year. I like sports well enough, but gee whiz, on an absolute scale biologists trump football players.

With faculty salaries on the low end of the American Association of Universities and academic rankings sliding it seems that the rah rah emphasis is misplaced. With athletics at a zero return to the school, being a major league training camp instead of a high power university is not a mission for OU that I'd back. In fact, in that scenario, once you get past giving students a common ground to root for the school it's a big fat waste of money. Versus providing a top notch education I don't particularly care if they can't beat the Baker HS Bulldogs.

The Opinion Piece offers quite a bit more detail and is worth a read if this is the sort of thing that gets you in an uproar. I've sat in -20F in a blizzard that was dumping 2 feet of snow watching an MTU football game, it was fun, it meant something to us, and we also were attending one of the top 3 universities in applied science.

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