Take a struggling public university in just about the poorest region of the United States…

… Give it some money… And watch its president ignore the overwhelming sentiment of its student body and give that money to athletics.

Eastern Kentucky University is in this neighborhood (the article I’m linking to is absolutely terrific, by the way). Its schools need to spend scarce funds on training and education, but the president of EKU wants to spend them on football. EKU students know the president is full of shit.

While the fee has yet to be approved by the Regents the student body continues to debate the hike, most recently represented by a survey. In this survey distributed by the Student Government Association, students overwhelmingly did not support fees for athletics. In fact, more students participated in said survey than voted in the most recent SGA election, showing just how much students care about this issue.

But no! says the president (who, with the board of trustees, will ram this down the students’ throats anyway). Our students can easily spend an extra four hundred dollars tuition on football! I mean look at Western Kentucky! They charge more than that!

Ah, Western Kentucky. One of our favorite subjects here at University Diaries. Feast your eyes.

Yeah – we want what Western Kentucky’s got! If our students are so stupid as to think we should spend that money on their education, they’ll just have to suck it up. After all, says the prez, consider the arguments for soaking our poor students for football:

“I don’t think we can afford to stand still — that’s my concern,” Benson said. “This may be our window of opportunity, and if it closes on us we may have forgone an opportunity that may not come around again.”

Touchdown!

You have to go to Daniel Greenberg’s Center for the Absorption of Federal…

Funds to begin to make sense of a scandal like Sul Ross University. A terrible school with a graduation rate approaching zero, a school only lately on probation, Sul Ross naturally is all about athletics.

Back in November the entire football coaching staff was fired. Then the president of the university resigned days later.

There’s no there there, at Sul Ross, which opens the door to local bullies and boosters and hangers-on. No one’s saying exactly what happened (maybe everyone on campus is too addled to know), but the local press suggests the latest Sul Ross administration ran away because

There were claims that coaches were physically and verbally abusing players, that athletes were being bribed to incriminate coaches, and that coeds were being pushed to have sex with recruits.

Yadda yadda. Bottom line: When there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go, boys will get up to trouble. And Sul Ross is all about boys.

It’s odd to UD that Sul Ross is about anything. I mean, anything you and I have to pay for.

“[A]t universities that are essentially owned by their sports programs … no reform takes place until there is a major disaster. In the mid-’80s, not until a sitting governor of Texas admitted to his role in a slush fund for players did Southern Methodist lose its football program for two years. More recently, it took the conviction of a coach as a serial child molester to force Penn State to examine the football program’s stranglehold on a fine university.”

The [Jameis] Winston revelations are one more reminder of just how far universities and their apologists are willing to go to protect the multibillion-dollar enterprise that we call “college sports.”

******************

Well, you know, we get these little eruptions; sometimes, as in the Florida State scandal, the New York Times gets involved and things seem to make slighter larger eruptions.

But keep this in mind. University athletes accused of rape, university athletes found guilty of rape — these events are a dime a dozen. (University athletes accused of beating the shit out of people are a penny a dozen.) During the life of this blog, UD has covered dozens and dozens of them. Sometimes schools like the University of Montana produce so many stories of this sort that they – and the one-watering-hole-per-square-inch towns that harbor them – begin to get a reputation. Enrollment suffers because parents don’t want their daughters living in a rape town. But overwhelmingly – as the NYT reports – these things go absolutely nowhere.

Wanna know why? Okay, here’s the list.

1. No one cares. People care about their team. They like their team’s aggressive players, and… you know… hard to keep all of that shit on the field. Too bad.

2. Billions of dollars are on the table.

3. It’s just girls getting hurt. Or – in the Sandusky case – underprivileged young men. Who cares.

Not only will things go nowhere. You can already see the rehabilitation of Paterno’s Penn State moving along nicely, with much of Happy Valley galvanized at the prospect of The Statue going up again… and at the much-discussed prospect of another statue of Paterno being commissioned for another high-profile place at Penn State.

Yes, this is what that university is all about lately. The important thing at Penn State is tons of people getting to work packing the board of trustees with true Penn Staters like Al Lord. (Note that Lord’s campaign page features not a picture of the candidate, but a picture of God himself, halo’ed in white.) Lord might well win a place on the Penn State board of trustees.

So before that happens, you want to understand the culture? Read and learn. Here’s Al’s position statement, with UD‘s commentary in parenthesis. (UD thanks an anonymous Penn State person for sending this to her.)

****************************

“I walked onto the Ogontz (now Abington) Campus mid-December, 1963. Since, I have felt an outsized, almost inexplicable affection for Penn State. [Almost inexplicable. The guy's a hell of a writer - the sort who shoots himself in the foot, making the reader giggle.] Though a very average student I always have felt fortunate to possess a Penn State degree. [Try to puzzle out the logic of this statement. It might make sense to say Because I was an average student I feel fortunate... But Though?]

Penn State’s relentless evolution from just a state university to America’s best [Relentless. This is the macho sports guy talking - everything that happens has to be a heroic struggle, high drama. And did you know Penn State was the best university in America? Mere months after having hosted the nation's most sordid university scandal?] has been a fifty year source of pride. Better than others, Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno created the healthy alliance of academics and athletics. [Okay, the guy's got balls. The name Spanier and the word healthy in the same sentence. Okay.] Penn State wins national championships in several sports and graduates America’s best prepared students. [Penn State students are certainly prepared to talk in great detail about what goes on during man on boy shower action. They have learned all about that.] Both academics and athletics well—that is our Penn State. [Word missing before "well"?] Our Trustees and Louis Freeh see a different Penn State. [Capitalizing Trustees is strange.]

I seek a seat on the PSU Board of Trustees because I can no longer watch the willful, cowardly destruction of our Penn State. [This is the way Donald Trump writes and talks. This is a Trump guy. Rich hothead with a surfeit of self-regard, and knows - like Trump - that he knows everything and we know nothing.] Our Boardroom splits between pride and shame; yet still none know the facts. [Again - can you figure the logic of this last sentence?] “Freeh’s facts” are incomplete, selective, and largely unconvincing. [Quotation marks around "Freeh's facts." What does he mean by them? That these facts only appear to be facts? That Lord spits on so-called Freeh's so-called facts? As with Trump, the character-age, if you will, of this writer is around fourteen.] Freeh’s report destroyed our past; left unchallenged it will diminish the future. [Again note the high-heroic tone, the would-be Lincolnesque rhetoric which comes off as bragging clueless nothingness.]

… Father of two grandfather of six. Wife of 48 years, Suzanne, received her Penn State PHT (Putting Hubby Through) in 1967. [UD finds this nod to the wife's PHT degree particularly winning.] … ”

Ah! UD wondered why her referral log is showing a sudden intense interest in…

… Northern Kentucky University’s much-beloved athletic director, Scott Eaton. Ooh la la. Well, we already knew Scott was a bit of a rascal…a massively overpaid rascal… but … heck… you know, what AD isn’t? … But even with all the acclaim and money the desperate, pathetic, sports fans at would-be jock school NKU (jock school is pathetic enough; can there be anything more pathetic than would-be jock school?) threw at Eaton… w-a-all… lessee… (UD scratches her overalls in private places) seems like it jest wernt enuf. Hyuk! He done stole ’bout $350,000 and is going to jail for ten years. And people is kinda confused.

Many will wonder how Eaton could’ve gotten away with his theft for six full years, and had the former employee not come forward, it could’ve been even longer.

Jail will be especially challenging for Eaton, given his, er, needs.

An internal investigation determined that Eaton had “intimate, inappropriate relationships” with four university employees, including two he supervised, and a similar relationship with a student in a class he taught.

Hyuk. Is zat five? And that don’t count, you figure, all the rest which is too embarrassed to come forward.

Enjoy this photo from happier days. Read the chart behind him. And weep for schools like NKU, epicenters of the dumbest shit the American university has to offer.

‘”We expect these men to be extremely tough, brutal on the field, and above all, win. And then off the field, we expect them to be distinguished gentlemen. That’s a lot to ask,” explained Plante.’

Thomas Plante, a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University, is on the case. Turns out it’s hard to reconcile outrageously rewarded brutality with civility.

Of course most sports aren’t like football. Hockey is; but most sports don’t demand absolutely insane intensities of aggression. Football does, and that’s why Nebraska and Oregon got to enjoy local heroes like Richie Incognito.

But – bottom line:

“More and more people have learned about the private lives of athletes, and they’re not surprised by these things. As athletes get in trouble and show questionable judgment, fans just become numb to it all. And they’re far more concerned about how it will affect their team’s play.”

Arizona State University is well on its way toward becoming…

… the scummiest university in America. It isn’t there yet – there’s a good deal of competition from states like Hawaii and Alaska – but UD would be very pleased to see a winner from the mainland for a change, and ASU, as of now, is definitely the front-runner.

What pushed it over the top is its mandatory $150 a year student athletics fee, imposed (no student vote – why do that? – they’d only vote against it) on every student to pay for all the shitty games no one goes to, plus for all the overpaid loser coaches.

Add to this ASU’s mentally challenged regents, its charming student body, and its amazing frats, and you get an institution profoundly symbolic of twenty-first century higher education in America.

UD has long enjoyed laughing her way through hometown booster columns in the local rag…

… and this one, in the Kansas City Star, is a classic. The background is of course super-squalid – University of Missouri athletes and coaches staggering and slashing their way around town…

Seven Mizzou football and men’s basketball players have been arrested eight times since January… That tally also doesn’t count an independent investigation scheduled to be released Friday about the alleged rape and eventual suicide of former swimmer Sasha Menu Courey… [A] football coach was suspended after a drunken-driving arrest two years ago, and [a] basketball coach was suspended last season by the NCAA.

Tickle me pink! These laddies!… But put the thing in context:

As far as athletic-department problems go, North Carolina would probably trade its apparently deep-rooted academic scandal for a string of arrests.

Those poor suckers at UNC! They’d give anything to have our puny string of arrests! PLUS: And here’s really the only thing that matters:

Plus, in the big picture, the last year or so of Missouri sports has been wildly successful.

You wanna know the big picture, that’s the big picture! We’re winning!

And, you know, end of the day, it’s all a learning opportunity:

We’d all like to see the family inside the MU athletic department, and in particular the football program, support [one of the most-arrested of the players] with tough love, guidance and motivation to help him move off this precarious path.

Big hug!

Ya got me.

[C]ases of “jock” behaviour on campus remain rife and college sports are actually swelling in terms of commercial and cultural power…

Perhaps that is not surprising: as anthropologists know, every society has power networks and rituals that enable groups to coalesce. But another truism of anthropology is that rituals are most effective in upholding power structures – however distasteful – when nobody talks about them at all, be that on Wall Street or university campuses. In that sense, then, the good news about the 2006 [Duke lacrosse] scandal was that it spurred debate about standards.

The bad news, though, is that [the basic] question remains largely undiscussed: why should universities be so dominated by sports?

UD’s always kind of amazed at these university football team stories…

but no one else is. I guess she just needs to puzzle it out logically, and if she does that she’ll join the rest of America, which yawns at news stories about whole squads of university students – venerated revenue sports players – roaming the bars near campus and, with remarkable violence, beating students up. She admits to being amazed that no one seems to care about American universities going to great lengths to recruit and retain frighteningly violent people to their campuses. You’d think students would be a little nervous, since they’re the ones getting beaten up. But they seem to welcome these scholarship students.

Logically, though… Logically, you’re looking for the most violent people you can find – it’s football, after all – and you’re doing all you can in grueling team practices to make them even more violent… So the reasonable way to look at this is … If you want a winning team, you’re almost inevitably going to end up admitting a few people, every few years, who can be expected to damn near beat random undergrads to death. Price of doing business.

Like this student at Lehigh University who, with some of his teammates, hit the bars one night and got into a fight with another group of students walking out of the place. No reason for the fight – he and his buddies were just drunk and belligerent… Spoiling for a fight, as they say.

So this particular football player just kicked the living shit out of this student.

When police arrived after receiving reports of a fight, they found [the student] unconscious on the ground and the former Mountain Hawk defensive back running away. Police managed to chase down [the player] and arrest him, according to court records.

Witnesses told police Phillips kicked at Graham as he lay unconscious and defenseless. Graham testified today the attack broke his jaw in two places, and he had to have his mouth wired shut, leaving him unable to eat or speak. His injuries delayed his education by a year, and he is still in counseling over the attack, he said. He cannot yawn without paralyzing pain, he said, a condition doctors say will stick with him for the rest of his life.

Hell of a tackle there, and UD is sure the pros will be all over this guy when he gets out of jail. I see him playing shoulder to shoulder with Richie Incognito. Dream team.

Another Div I Success Story

Since the move to Division I, UC Davis has struggled greatly as evidenced by the 9-22 record for men’s basketball and the 5-7 record for football this year. Compare this to UC Davis’ Division II career, when it won six Director’s Cups, which are given to the top Division II university in the nation.

But at least it’s destroying their non-revenue sports and bleeding money from the school.

“Calling on Congress: It is time for probing hearings into corruption at the NCAA and the serious misuse of college athletics and college athletes by major educational institutions for their own profit. Haul up Mark Emmert, a passel of college presidents and athletic directors, Shabazz Napier and other current and former athletes who have been exploited by the system, and let the chips fall where they may.”

Sure, laddie.

Listen up.

Until Hillary’s in power, you’ll never rustle up enough guys to do this. President Obama is a major jock, and he sets the tone. Forget it.

And … you know what? Forget it when Hillary takes over too. When that happens, the guys will get even more jockish. In reaction.

“Veishea is a weeklong promotional showcase — an open house of sorts to highlight the campus community’s attributes…”

And, well, here goes

Uh-oh. San Jose State University Gets Audited!

[Howard] Bunsis said there are …issues internally with how money is being spent, with athletics receiving increasing amounts of funding and instruction receiving less and less.

“The majority of the funds to pay for athletics at San Jose State come from the academic side, either from the student success fee or the general fund of the University,” Bunsis said. “The increases in athletic spending far outpace the increases in spending on academics at this university.”

Bunsis pointed out that, of the $19,206,370 collected in Student Success in Excellence and Technology (SSET) fees, more than $7 million goes toward athletics.

He said this means approximately one third of a fee paid by every students benefits only athletics…

Bunsis estimates that 57 percent of athletics’ budget was covered by academic funds this year, although a database kept by USA TODAY has the figure at 66 percent, the highest in the Mountain West Conference.

Bunsis said athletics is “a huge drain” on the budget because it costs so much and makes back only approximately a quarter of its expenses in revenue.

This means that it accumulates debt to the University, but Bunsis said that each year that deficit is forgiven.

Bunsis also showed a list of the 20 highest paid employees at SJSU.

The head football coach receives the second highest salary at $249,000 a year.

Only the president made more in 2013 with $343,ooo.

The Athletic Director made the fourth most with $222,000 and the football team’s offensive coordinator and the head basketball coach also made the list at 14 and 16 respectively.

Meanwhile, Bunsis said that faculty wages and benefits have decreased and there has been a dramatic shift from full-time faculty to part-time faculty, which he said he believes hurts the university.

He said that there are 1,458 fewer full-time instructional employees here than there were five years ago, and subsequently, class sizes have increased and so has the student-to-faculty ratio.

He said that, while the number of non-instructional employees has decreased, the number of employees in management has increased eight percent, and administrator salaries are, on average, more than $40,000 greater than those of full-time instructors.

Bunsis said that the administration, in addition to athletics, has impacted the budget negatively.

The report showed that athletics, advancement and the president’s office were exempt from cuts, while Academic Affairs received a 14 percent decrease in funding and there was an approximate $13 million cut from the operating budget.

Athletics was exempt because it moved to the Mountain West Conference and did not receive its typical support from the Western Athletic Conference.

Bunsis noted that the $2 million it cost to move conferences, being paid out $500,000 per year over four years did not appear to be represented in the athletics budget, leading him to believe it was paid for using funds taken from academic uses.

San Jose State! Good on ya!

“When he was but a baby brigand…”

Excellent writing about one of America’s most prominent university figures, the University of Kentucky’s John Calipari. A sample:

Anyone who follows college basketball sooner or later develops a kind of ethical dementia. The sport is a perfect example of a functioning underground economy. Players have skills that CBS—to name only the most prominent parasite—values at something over $1 billion a year. Because this is not Soviet Russia, players find ways to get paid for these skills under the table, largely because a preposterous rulebook (and a feast of fat things called the NCAA) works diligently to prevent anyone from getting paid over the table. Since everybody involved in the sport has known this for decades, there’s a lot of the old nudge-nudge, wink-wink going on.

… But even in this culture, which is pretty much what a dockside saloon in Singapore would be if it had shoe contracts and golf outings, John Calipari always has been notable for the baroque happenings that seem to surround his every move. Coaches who have barbered the rulebook like Edward Scissorhands look upon Calipari with a weird mixture of awe and disdain. When he was but a baby brigand in the employ of the University of Pittsburgh, Calipari’s recruiting tactics very nearly incited a general hooley at the Big East’s annual meeting.

During his brief, and clamorously unsuccessful, stint coaching the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, a job he landed because of that UMass Final Four run that doesn’t officially exist any more [it was vacated because of rule-breaking], Calipari enlivened things by calling a reporter a “Mexican idiot.” Then he moved on to Memphis, a university with a proud history of employing coaches whom you would not trust to hang up your coat.

Those southern sports factories… You can’t keep ‘em down…

The Hawaiian Senate Looks at UH Sports.

The Senate is not impressed with the deficits the University of Hawaii sports programs have racked up. [Resolution] SCR 38 urges the university not to raise student fees to balance that budget, noting that students already pay $50 apiece for athletics fees each semester and generally aren’t stoked enough about football to actually attend games.

Just a little nudge from hapless Hawaiian lawmakers to hopeless UH. Even though it’s just a nudge, it won’t go anywhere. No one cares.

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