Enter the University of Nevada Las Vegas board of regents warily.

It is as Freud wrote of entering the darkness of the soul:

No one who, like me, conjures up the most evil of those half-tamed demons that inhabit the human beast, and seeks to wrestle with them, can expect to come through the struggle unscathed.

It is as Joyce wrote of the obstetrical theater:

Enter that antechamber of birth where the studious are assembled and note their faces. Nothing, as it seems, there of rash or violent. Quietude of custody, rather, befitting their station in that house, the vigilant watch of shepherds…

The psychoanalyst conjures what is darkest in us; the obstetrician conjures the violence of the birth trauma. Yet both are shepherds, custodians, healers …

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art…

You see the paradox…

And, in some similar sense, to enter that antechamber wherein reside the darkest, most primitive forces of the American university, and then to enter into what Blake called Mental Fight with them, is to emerge scathed. To read – to try to understand – the words and acts of the most primal energies at work in that bastion of enlightenment, the university, is to sense what Marlow must have felt in the forest of shrunken heads.

Let us then in studious quietude listen to them, the trustees of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, as they give a football coach with a 12-37 record a vast raise; as they build for a university community that does not attend football games a vast new football stadium; as they generate a $2.7 million athletics program deficit and make students and taxpayers deal with it… Let us hear their words.

“Maybe we’re being a little generous, but I thought about some of the other factors that were occurring,” Regent Robert Blakely said. “We’re in the process of trying to build a stadium. Having a successful football team is the biggest linchpin. Giving the football coach more of an incentive probably isn’t a bad plan.”

“I’m not enamored with the contract either,” Regent Michael Wixom said. “But I don’t want to jeopardize the momentum (Hauck) has created. [The coach’s most recent season was 7-6!] If we reject the contract, I’m afraid it will do immense harm.”

Regents directed Chancellor Dan Klaich to form a committee to look at best practices in contract negotiations with athletic coaches. However, Regent Allison Stephens said she wanted to see fair-market value and adequate compensation for coaches.

“I just fundamentally disagree that our role in fiscal management means that we have to nickle and dime and negotiate down people working in our institutions,” she said.

Some in the public, who came to support [the coach’s] contract renewal, agreed.

A $200,000 annual salary increase “is peanuts in the long run,” Rich Abajian, general manager for Findlay Toyota’s board of governors, told regents. “Football is the program that can pull you out of budget problems. … You’ve got to pay money to make money.”

It’s official.

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3 Responses to “The University as the Heart of Darkness”

  1. Dr_Doctorstein Says:

    A mere $200,000? When it comes to the gratification of infantile male fantasy, no amount is too much.

  2. MattF Says:

    The coach has to have confidence, that’s what matters. And a small salary won’t provide that– the salary has to be at least as big (or bigger) than any other salary that the Board has ever seen. We can’t have a coach with a small, droopy salary. That would be embarrassing and just won’t do.

  3. charlie Says:

    How many cliches can a BOT utter? If this were a drinking game, I would have passed out after the second paragraph….

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