This Thanksgiving Day, the Florida State University Community Gathers Around its Tables to Thank God for its New President, John Thrasher.

America’s rapeabilliest campus prayed for a president able to deflect relentless incoming sexual assault claims, and God gave it the perfectly named Thrasher — a man willing to spend his twilight years (he’s in his seventies) thrashing back and forth like Bonnie and Clyde in their 1934 Ford Model 730 Deluxe Sedan as one sex-bullet after another smacks him pow right in the kisser.

As they pass the turkey, students, faculty, administration and alumni can reflect with gratitude on the way Thrasher’s long career as a Florida pol and lobbyist, er, seasoned him for the curious job of chief academic officer at a school with virtually no academics and virtually non-stop rape claims.

FSU is the star of a new film; it’s featured in big splashy New York Times articles; and just this morning, as FSU football fans begin to dig in to the bird, news outlets all the country are headlining the just-released content of court papers that detail special treatment for football players accused of rape, the fear of retaliation on the part of victims, and… you know … just the whole stinky stewpot of a school that wants everyone to shut the fuck up so it can watch men bash each others’ heads in.

And sure – things are closing in on FSU. Even the DOE is after them for mishandling the assault claims. But did Bonnie and Clyde give up? Did they run and hide and try to live respectable lives? No! They were what they were unto the breach! Sic Semper FSU and amen!

Florida State University: Keepin’ It Real!

At Florida State, salaries for non-coaching administrators rose from $7.7 million to $15 million. That’s the raise that Seminoles athletic staff gave themselves for running up a deficit of $2 million, while presiding over an academic fraud scandal involving 10 teams, and mishandling criminal allegations against football players.

At some point, the nothingness of university football becomes metaphysical.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?

If [the University of Hawaii] loses its ninth consecutive game of the season at Aloha Stadium in a near-empty area, did it actually happen?

On failing to see the historical inevitability of universities like Louisiana State.

LSU’s football program is rich as all get-out; whatever’s left of the university it’s sort of attached to is totally up shit’s delta.

So what to do with the shabby close to bankrupt nothing that used to be a university? The bunch of rags dangling off the quarterback’s Platinum Dazzle thigh? Team boosters at LSU are about to find seventeen million dollars to buy out a coach they don’t like, but money for a … school?

This guy’s panicking because after all “there is no football team without a functioning Louisiana State University… [T]here is no LSU Athletics without Louisiana State University.” You gotta keep the school at least on life support to keep the football team alive. Don’t you?

Not really. Think of the evolution of LSU in the following way. You know how in the first Alien film the alien baby needed John Hurt’s body in order to gestate? That’s LSU football. Needed a nice warm university to grow in, but now it’s all grown up and its host has no reason to live anymore.

There are plenty of ghost universities with thriving football teams, and UD has often named them on this blog. Auburn.* Clemson. Nebraska. Their spectral story is also LSU’s. Accept it, says UD.



Some [Auburn] purchases … were optional, like two new twin-engine jets: a six-seat 2008 Cessna Citation CJ2+ ($6.4 million) and a seven-seat 2009 Cessna Citation CJ3 ($7.8 million), each bearing a blue and orange “AU” insignia on its tail.

The jets are used primarily by coaches to criss-cross the country meeting with recruits, contributing to Auburn’s recruiting costs nearly doubling in a decade, from $1.6 million to $2.7 million.

[Its] new video board, the largest in college sports, was also optional. Auburn has a history of trend-setting electronics displays. In 2007, it installed the first high-definition video board in the SEC, a $2.9 million purchase Athletic Director Jacobs decided was obsolete eight years later.


UD thanks John.

“Although the cuts are mainly targeted towards the liberal arts side, the athletic department knew they weren’t exempt.”

Shite! Things are so bad at the University of Montana that they’re not just going to gut their liberal arts — THEY MIGHT GO AFTER ATHLETICS TOO.

You’d feel some pity, I suppose…

… if it weren’t soul-crushing, budget-crushing, brain-crushing, and university-crushing football.

The recent article featuring the Madness of Georgia State University’s King Mark…

seems to have drawn more than a few eyes to itself. Its description of universities across America making their financially struggling students pay through the nose for football games they don’t attend is apparently compelling enough to have caught the attention of people.

The Washington Post, for instance, cites the article, and goes on to note that more and more schools are

requiring students who have few discretionary dollars to pay for something that has zero impact on their classroom experience. According to the Chronicle/Huff Post analysis, the 50 institutions with the highest athletic subsidies have many more financially needy students than those universities with the lowest subsidies.

What’s more, nearly all the growth in Division I athletics during the past decade has come at public universities. At the same time these university leaders were obsessed with conference realignments and big television deals, taxpayer support for public universities has fallen to unprecedented levels.

But what’s most devastating in the Post piece is the long memory of its writer. We all know that when it comes to the bullshit promises that university presidents make about football, a good memory – to quote Elizabeth Bennet – is unpardonable. Yet Jeffrey Selingo goes there.

Nearly 20 years ago, I wrote an article about a group of universities that had recently joined the elite of college athletics: the NCAA’s Division I. They included California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ok kiddies so before I reveal the fate of those schools, go ahead and guess how well they fulfilled their presidents’ promises of huge revenue and huge increase in applications and huge prestige. Go ahead! Or – you don’t have to guess, do you? Because the names Cal Poly San Whatever, Hampton, Norfolk State and Whatsizface at Greensboro just come racing to your mind when you think of revenue and enrollment and renown and prestige… And all because of Div I football!

What’s more, look at the attention they’ve drawn to their sports programs!

[All] have been relegated to the backwater of college sports, with games on weekday nights on obscure cable channels. The only way many of these universities make it to the big time is to have their name appear on the stream of scores on ESPN’s ticker or as blowout fodder for elite programs.

That’s right. Not only did their elite Div I status do nothing (probably less than nothing) for their academic status, it didn’t even do anything for their athletic status. All at huge cost to their students.

Indeed Selingo is impolitic enough to trace the outcome of Greensboro’s Div I promises even more closely:

[Twenty years ago,] its student fees paid for 80 percent of the subsidy provided to the athletic department. Officials told me they expected the share of student support to fall over time as their teams established winning records and garnered more outside support… Greensboro students today provide 81 percent of the subsidy. In other words, nothing has changed except that the department’s budget has quadrupled since the late 1990s and the student fee for athletics has almost doubled, to about $700 a year per student.


People wonder why universities keep doing this. I mean, eventually, as Selingo concludes, their students are going to leave in order to attend a school where they’re not “paying for someone else’s [child-like] dreams.” So why?

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know how UD answers that question. Her answer is very simple, and you will probably resist it, but she thinks she might be right.

They do it because they can’t think of anything else to do.

I mean, of course, some presidents – like the hack running notorious Florida State University – are anti-intellectuals whose animus against thought processes as such will always mean a teeny mouselike teaching staff and a titanic athletics program. And some big sports schools, such as the University of Montana, have scared away so many potential students with their rape statistics that they have nothing left but games and a few vocational courses. (Remember: Just as, at the end of life, hearing is the last sense to go, so at the end of a university’s life, football is the last activity to go.)

But most of the universities doing themselves in via football are simply overseen by people – academic leaders, trustees, even faculty (remember the many loyal faculty foot soldiers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill) – for whom football (and sometimes basketball as well) is the very definition of a university. Their job is to worry about naming rights, beer sales, how many classes they can cancel around game days, cleaning up campus after tailgates, preparing for NCAA investigations, covering up crimes committed by athletes, building new stadiums, recruiting faculty who will help athletes cheat their way through their courses, and so many other things. They find these activities totally engrossing, and they will pursue them until vanishing state appropriations and vanishing enrollees force them to call it a day.


thanks Prof. Mondo.

University football’s degrade and destroy mission…

… is making remarkable strides at the University of Montana, where tanking enrollment rates (due in part to the school’s team-induced rape crisis – the subject of a new best-selling book) are emptying the campus and driving it into deeper and deeper deficit. Will the state increase its support of the school?

Since the state largely understands the school as a football playing entity, and since the school’s team remains mired in naughty players and emptying stadiums, UD isn’t sanguine about legislators’ and taxpayers’ continued generosity. Here’s a recent snapshot. Ain’t pretty.

Life of the Mind, USA

[F]ootball is built on large men running into each other at great speed. That creates dramatic moments — and creates constant risk of head injuries, too. And football wouldn’t be football without it.

The Madness of King Mark

You’ll never get anywhere with university football until you focus with laser-like clarity upon the Major Kongs riding their schools to oblivion; and the Chronicle of Higher Education knew it had a winner when it decided to feature in particular the head of Georgia State University. This frenetic delusional man will go on bleeding his indifferent-to-football students for more and more sports fees until they all decide to drop out and attend schools run by sane people.

Meanwhile, though, Mark Becker will build the world’s largest empty football stadium.

Mr. Becker’s bold idea to reduce the [escalating student] subsidy: Spend even more on athletics. He wants to build a football stadium for his team about a mile from the campus. He envisions a modern, 25,000- to 30,000-seat facility that offers a lively game-day environment. He also wants a baseball field and a soccer field, retail shops, and student housing.

Don’t imagine anything can be done to stop the madness. GSU’s trustees no doubt consider the man a genius, and no one else is in a position to do anything about him.


With this win Fresno State solidifies Hawaii’s last place position in the West Division Standings.

A school like Hawaii is an even more interesting case. Hawaii proves that even a team with no fans, a virtually unblemished loss record, and a school-bankrupting budget, will keep playing.

Reflections after events at the University of Missouri…

… go to the amazing centrality of football in American public universities. As one professor puts it, “intercollegiate football, or basketball, is perceived as the face of the modern public university, large or small.”

The. Face.

So, a couple of comments post-Missouri:

So much of the political and social economy of state universities is tied to football, especially in big-money conferences like Southeastern Conference, where Mizzou plays… [University] administrators created this world where our universities revolve socially, politically and economically around the exploited labor of big time football. Now let them reap what they sow.


[W]hen did sports become more important than academics in American universities…?

… [T]he USA is the only country where college sport venues … consume as much, or more, capital budget than the entire balance of the university.

… [It is] worth great value to a college to recruit a “student” who possibly [can] barely read and write.

… It is doubtful anyone is willing to separate athletics out of America’s universities. But not recognizing the corruption this has done to the original academic purpose of these institutions is turning a blind eye to the obvious. For far too many universities job #1 is about running a sports franchise.

When most of the meaning, and much of the budget, of your state school rests on football, when you are essentially a setting for farm teams, the figures on campus impersonating university presidents and provosts will be toppled again and again with each athletics crisis. Those crises – cheating scandals, rape epidemics, whormitory exposes, the abuse of players by coaching staff, teams that double as criminal gangs, professors who offer hundreds of bogus independent studies per semester, cripplingly cost-overrun stadiums, outrageous student fee hikes, etc., etc. – are built in to the football school system. Only when you drop all university-pretense, in the way Auburn and Clemson and Nebraska have done, will you stop clownishly crashing into one catastrophe after another. Humiliating betrayals of your academic mission only happen if you continue to pretend you have one. If you are smart, you will make the University of Alabama your model, where the long and happy reign of the state monarch – the football coach – guarantees social tranquillity.

UD thanks Rick.

Greg Hardy: Still – and Always! – a Hero at Ole Miss.

“Hardy … likes to hit women,” but much more importantly he likes to hit quarterbacks. So despite all the battered girlfriend pictures that have just been released, he’ll not only continue to play for the Cowboys, he’ll continue to be a university’s poster boy for great sportsmanship. That Ole Miss bio page will stay up forever, just the way the pride of the University of Nebraska, Richie Incognito, will remain on their website. Richie likes to hit everything.

(Hardy’s also got a huge personal arsenal.)

Athletic Director + Homecoming Game: Watch Out!

[At Bethune Cookman University’s] homecoming game, [Senior Associate AD Tony] O’Neal approached officers in his golf cart near the south gate entrance, yelling at them to help with parking tickets. Authorities said a sergeant approached O’Neal to find out what he needed and that’s when the arrest report showed O’Neal became irate and “jumped out of the golf cart, ran up to the Sergeant Morford and banged his forehead against his,” according to a report.

The sergeant backed away from O’Neal but police said he became more irate and “reached out and grabbed the Sergeant Morford with both hands in an aggressive manner, pushing Sergeant Morford backwards.”

Authorities said they were forced to take O’Neal to the ground after refusing to comply with their commands. O’Neal … was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer…

No wonder he gets pretty much the highest salary on campus.

‘”It would seem that a jury will ultimately decide whether Ms. Powell defamed these gratuitous nude dancers,” Powell’s attorney, Larry Wilder, said in a text message.’

Rick Pitino’s recruitment practices: A gift that keeps on giving.

“I think of Baylor as a pro football team with a Bible college attached.”

Well, yes. We all do.

The Bible thing allows you to differentiate between the University of West Virginia, where locals call Morgantown “a drinking town with a football problem,” and Baylor, which seems to have low rates of alcohol consumption, but shares UWV’s burning commitment to recruiting the best players regardless of, er, violent propensities.

At both schools there’s an unsettling conflation of football and the school’s spirit of choice (alcohol, God). And at both schools, whether they regard their players as Christian Soldiers or Frat Boys on Steroids, violence appears to be totally okay.

Goes without saying that guns and gangs (Baylor’s home, Waco, is in the headlines for biker/police shoot-outs) make up much of the rest of the social fabric at these locations.


And don’t forget sex. Nobody competes with the University of Montana and Grizzlyville (used to be Missoula, but the football team is the Grizzlies) for broad-shouldered sexual assault. But Baylor’s in there trying.


Anyone with the intestinal fortitude to examine the deep structure of Baylor – as in, how do you actually produce places like Baylor and Waco? – will tend to gravitate toward the school’s board of trustees, where a Bobby Lowder-like figure name of Buddy Jones seems to run the school and the town.

Buddy’s real enthusiastic about Baylor. Back in 2012, when they won a few games and all, his response was this:

“We like to use biblical analogies, and this is a year of biblical proportions,” Buddy Jones, a regent at the university, told the New York Times in 2012. “As we would say in Christendom, it’s like an early rapture.”

When his vision of the proper role of the booster was threatened by the alumni association, Jones (then chairman of the board of trustees) wrote to a fellow zealot that he couldn’t wait to

put on camp (sic) and load my weapons and go hunting for BAA game. Licking my chops.

Buddy’s official trustee statement has a rapturous boy/girl thing going to explain the nature of the school:

“Baylor’s uniqueness is her commitment to quality higher education by adapting to the 21st century, while never straying from her deep roots in God’s word and her role in his plan for mankind.”

Was Buddy the genius behind the groom’s cake at his daughter’s wedding?

[The cake was] an edible replica of Baylor’s … new stadium with a saluting bear in the middle. But perhaps the most impressive part of the cake is the video screen, which looks like it actually works. At the very least, it had a light in it that gave the illusion of working.


So much of this comes together this Saturday night, when a match-up between two of the nation’s scummiest football schools – LSU and Bama – will feature a political candidate’s prostitutes and patriots ad. Layers upon layers upon layers.

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