Clemson Faculty: That’s so cool!

“Are you saying the athletic department is fully paying its entire expenses, including salaries, and the university is not contributing?” asked chemistry professor Dvora Perahia.

“We are part of the university,” Hill said. “We are what is called an auxiliary enterprise, which by definition produces its own revenue and pays its expenses.”

Hill said reports on how self-sustaining athletics departments are will vary depending on accounting definitions. Clemson, for instance, grants in-state tuition to athletes so that the scholarship dollars stretch further — a savings of about $2.5 million to the athletics department. This and the student fee, though it provides tickets to students, are considered subsidies in some reports.

Still, Hill said, Clemson athletics pays the salaries of every staff member and coach, covers all its buildings’ utilities, pays for all team travel, and raises all the money for $8 million in athletics scholarships.

“We charter jets?” American literature professor Susanna Ashton said.

“Of course,” Hill said.

“Sorry, I don’t do sports. The word ‘jet’ caught my attention. That’s cool,” Ashton said.

“We’ve got a football team with out-of town games, and we have to get them back for class,” Hill said.

Rutgers: The Clemson of the East Coast

“You have money sucked out of academics and huge subsidies going to athletics,” said Mark Killingsworth, an economics professor. “You wonder what is this place. Are we a university or what? …”

… Rutgers does not intend to diminish its ambitions. Last year, the university explored joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, and on Thursday [AD Tim] Pernetti said that the Rutgers program was “priced to move in every way.”

“… Clemson and West Virginia University could each have to pay $2 million for unsold tickets if no more tickets are sold.”

Hey, where is everybody? We’ve got these hotshit teams, going to the big bowl and all, and … nada! Not only do our universities take a big ol’ hit, but we’re gonna have to scramble to find people to give these tickets away to if we want to avoid looking a bit… meagre… fanwise… on tv.

“Obviously we had hoped that we would sell more with it being a prestigious bowl, a BCS game,” [the West Virginia University sports marketing guy] said.

Yeah WTF. Human enterprises don’t come any more prestigious than the Bowl Championship Series; and – dang! – football’s the front porch of the American university! I challenge you to say one word against big-time university football! So WHAT the hell’s going on.


… is just the sort of headline to make UD‘s heart leap up.

How good it is to know that “Revenues from big-time athletics at Clemson University have soared by more than $20 million since 2005, yet the program last year operated at a slight loss even as income from ticket sales jumped 59 percent.”

How comely in thy sight, O Lord, that “These figures come at a time when an analysis by USA TODAY shows that the nation’s top sports colleges are propping up their athletic departments to the tune of more than $800 million, while many are cutting faculty salaries and raising student fees and tuition.”

And amen to this: “At Clemson, nine assistant football coaches will earn a total of more than $1.8 million this year, and the board of trustees last week approved raises for them, bumping the total to $2.3 million. In addition to that, head coach Dabo Swinney got a $900,000 raise. That brings the total payroll for Clemson’s 10 football coaches to $4 million – up from $2.6 million in 2009.”

Various dust-ups at Clemson University…

… reveal the place to be just … a little different.

It’s being sued in federal court, but wants the suit thrown out since Clemson’s got sovereign immunity as an arm of the state.

Let’s listen in as the lawyers have themselves a little parley.

Clemson attorney Tom Bright cited a dozen ways Clemson is an arm of the state, including Clemson money being held by the state and Clemson’s budget being approved by the state Legislature.

“The state controls all manner of activities for Clemson,” Bright said.

Collins countered that Clemson officials for years have claimed it is a municipality with its own magistrate’s court and fire department.

Collins likened Clemson to Humpty Dumpty saying, “When I use a word … it means just what I choose it to mean, no more or less.”

He said Clemson wants to tell people it is a municipality but then say in court it isn’t.

Moreover, said Collins, seven of Clemson’s trustees are appointed for life, and the state constitution prohibits life appointments to state positions.

“If Clemson University is an arm of the state, all the life trustees are disqualified,” Collins said.

Under Clemson’s unusual charter, seven of its 13 trustees are appointed for life and choose their successors.

Clemson’s Bright said even though some trustees are called life trustees, “it doesn’t make them trustees for life.”…

Removing a Clemson Life Trustee can be done, but it’s tricky.

A Life Trustee may only be removed by action of the other Life Trustees. In the event four Life Trustees believe that another Life Trustee has failed to properly perform the duties required of all Trustees, the four shall present their concerns to the Life Trustee with the longest continuing service (“Senior Life Trustee”), exclusive of the Life Trustee whose actions are in question. In the event two or more Life Trustees have equal years of service, the Senior Life Trustee shall be deemed the Life Trustee whose last name appears first in alphabetical order. The Senior Life Trustee shall convene a meeting of the Life Trustees to hear the allegations and to render a decision. The Life Trustee whose failure has been alleged shall have the right to be notified seven days in advance of the meeting and shall have the right to present evidence in his or her own defense. The Senior Life Trustee shall establish procedural guidelines for the meeting, but in no event shall any attorney be permitted to attend the meeting for the purpose of representing any party involved. Once all evidence has been presented, the Life Trustee in question will leave the meeting and the remaining Life Trustees will deliberate and vote by secret ballot. In the event five Life Trustees vote to remove the Life Trustee, then his or her service on the Clemson University Board of Trustees shall be terminated. An action to remove a Life Trustee shall be effective immediately, unless otherwise specified at the time the action is taken.


Update: Some more information:

Unlike situations at many other state public universities, Clemson’s inner workings have rarely undergone scrutiny. The state’s watchdog agency, the Legislative Audit Council, has investigated finances at other top state education institutions but never looked into Clemson’s financial practices, according to its Web site.

Unlike leaders at other colleges and universities, a majority – seven – of Clemson’s trustees are called life members and are self-appointed. They are not subject to direct oversight by the governor or legislature. The legislature chooses only six trustees.

At the state’s 12 other four-year colleges and universities, the trustees are picked mostly by the legislature. Clemson’s life trustees were a requirement set out in the will of Thomas Green Clemson, who died in 1888, leaving most of his estate to found the school.

Not that politician-appointed boards are a pretty thing! Look at Southern Illinois University, for god’s sake. But this here arrangement’s mighty weird for an arm of the state.

Clemson’s Faculty Resolves…

… to express its anger at the university’s leadership.  The draft resolution on disproportionate administrative salaries is here.

Via FITS News.

Background here.

Scummy Clemson…

close up.

Faculty outrage over well-publicized administrative bonuses there has reached the boiling point, including some in the faculty senate calling for a vote of no confidence in Clemson president James Barker and provost Doris Helms, who saw her pay increase by 32.8 percent over the past two years.

Adding fuel to that already burning fire was news earlier this month that Barker’s son was recently hired in the Office of Marketing Services to make $51,000 and Board of Trustees vice chairman Joseph Swann’s daughter, attorney Erin Swann who works in Barker’s office, received a 24.2 percent raise. The information came out of a faculty senate meeting on Tuesday, March 10, in which Clemson French professor emeritus John Bednar brought the personnel and raise issues to the floor and issued strong condemnations of Clemson’s leadership.


Over the past two years,
Clemson gave pay raises ranging from 10 percent to 100 percent to 99 people — only 46 of whom were faculty members; the majority of those raises went to administrators, coaches and extension employee[s]. The university also has come under fire — rightly so — for hiring the president’s son and giving a 24 percent raise to a lawyer whose father is vice chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Background, if you can stomach it, here.

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.

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.


Why, asks this writer, is Temple University going to be the next school to screw itself over but good by building a new football stadium? Why? And why does no one ever ask why?

The question that we never seem to ask is why… What we won’t ask, what we never ask, is why a college such as Temple University – or any college, really – should care [so much about things like football and football stadiums]. We won’t ask how a Top 25 ranking or a visit from ESPN helps fulfill the mission of an institution of higher learning, or why such an institution should spend any of its resources pursuing them, particularly when those resources are financed in large part by taxpayer and student debt.

Take, for instance, the University of Akron’s stadium, “a $55 million project that would be funded exclusively by private donations and stadium revenues. When it hosted its first game in 2009, it was a $62 million project funded primarily by student tuition and fees… [This] year [Akron’s deeply indebted stadium] is attracting the lowest attendance in the MAC.”

David Murphy provides other examples. There are many.


But okay. Let’s go there. Why? Big stadiums and big football programs have nothing to do with (indeed they erode) the academic mission which defines a university, and they will almost certainly do terrible damage to everyone at the school (via deficits and scandals) except for the athletic department and whatever trustees own companies doing sports-related business with the university.

Some people will claim that the mystery of the new stadium is essentially a religious mystery, having to do with the “unchurched” American’s evolution away from houses of worship and toward football fields.

Clemson University coach Dabo Swinney is aggressively Christian, even letting one of his players get baptized on the 50-yard-line during practice, never mind that Clemson is a state school.

A Georgia public school is looking into a mass baptism on its football field that was posted on YouTube but later taken down.

If your font is a fifty yard line, you’re stadium-building on faith, not reason. The economics of New Life Stadium are simple: The Lord will provide.

But there’s more to the stadium mystery, I think.

UD suggests that at some universities it’s a combination of not being able to think of anything else to do, plus sexual fantasy. The two things are related, because when people don’t have much to do, when their lives seem kind of drifty and pointless and empty, they’re liable to do a lot of fantasizing.

I think some leaders of universities – presidents, trustees – don’t know what to do with themselves. A very high-profile professor, a leader, at the University of North Carolina spends years negotiating pretend grades for pretend student papers and thinks nothing of committing the grade-haggling to writing in an email. What was Jan Boxill thinking? asks the Chronicle of Higher Ed. The answer is absolutely nothing, just like her colleague Julius Nyang’oro; they were just sort of drifting along, lost in erotic reverie about their beautiful athletes for whom they would do anything, including destroy themselves and their university. An assistant coach at the University of Louisville comes up with the idea of turning an athletes’ dorm into a brothel. Why? Popped into his head one day during a sexual reverie. Popped into his head while he was thinking hard about how to make his beautiful athletes’ lives even more beautiful.


You have to have a high threshold of embarrassment to read people describe their feelings about football.

I loved football. I loved it desperately. Even now, four decades later, I remember endlessly damning myself for being too small to play it at a big-time college. I ached for it, for the violence of it…

Look at the shirtless boys with faces and torsos painted in the school colors; look at the cheerleaders on the fields, the ‘waves’ surging through the stands.

These men, either of whom could have written “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl,” represent countless sports-factory denizens spending their days in a haze of university-hatred and hormones.

Is hatred too strong? What sort of emotion allows you to seek and destroy any vestige of intellectual seriousness?


One key here is hiring retired politicians as university presidents, good old boys who don’t give a shit about “academia,” whatever that is. The sort of men currently running, for instance, Florida State and Oklahoma University.

[The university’s academic unit can go, but] the football team must be saved because the intense tribal loyalty generated by big-time sports is one of the chief mechanisms employed by universities to create the illusion that they exist. I’ve lived in Chapel Hill and experienced the closest thing to full-scale Dionysian revelry one is likely to find in modern America, on Franklin Street after the men’s basketball team won it all. It was thrilling. It felt like we were one people, all of us, conquerors. But it was also an illusion (I wasn’t a student at the time), a false consciousness manufactured by the university to conceal its non-existence as an academic institution.


Listen to this song. It also asks why. Listen to its lyrics, and imagine them sung by a university president as he or she thinks about one of the school’s football players. You just tiptoe into all my dreams…. It’s the kind of passion that will not be denied, no matter how many hearts are broken.

UD thanks Ian.

The last school that pimped like Louisville was the University of Miami…

and has that ever paid off. Scenes from their most recent game.

There was booing …from the sparse crowd even before the first quarter ended, and the stands – where some fights broke out – were largely empty by the midpoint of the third quarter.

Miami, playing in an empty stadium, was held to 146 total yards and just six first downs. The 58-point loss was the worst in Miami’s history, surpassing a 70-14 loss to Texas A&M in 1944.

UM’s athletic director, surveying this empty stadium, blithely reminded everyone to “make sure we continue to support our team.”


Yeah, it’s all gonna be okay. Maybe we’ll get a new coach.


Miami’s AD doesn’t understand that if you want people to go to your games, you shouldn’t make them puke forever.

“The school also recently launched an internal investigation into whether it illegally used $5 million reserved for academic purposes to help pay for the football stadium. The University of Houston System’s auditor eventually cleared the school, saying the money had been spent on the portion of the stadium used by the band, which technically isn’t an athletic program.”

Meanwhile, the school has missed financial targets. A 2015 audit of athletic department finances reported that spending on equipment, uniforms and supplies came in 88 percent over budget in the 2014 fiscal year, while travel expenses were 57 percent over their mark. Meanwhile, revenue from ticket sales came in 21 percent under budget.

Overall, the school had planned to reduce its athletic subsidy by $3.5 million for the 2014 fiscal year, according to the audit. It ended up increasing it by $700,000.

La vie continue at wanna-be sports factory the University of Houston; this article about it even has the dude in charge of turning Houston into Clemson alerting us to the fact that sports are “truly the front porch of the institution.” So true, so true, which is why The Texas Tribune has done a long piece on how the school is spending itself into the gutter subsidizing games no one on campus wants to watch.

The quotation in my headline’s intriguing, isn’t it? Technically isn’t an athletic program. Yes, I see the point. It’s in the stadium and it’s used by the marching band, but it has nothing to do with athletics. It’s academic, see.

Along with all that money transferred from academics to athletics, UH has a new football coach who’s kind of the equivalent of this chick — he issues threatening language to students who might be considering not going to a football game (she issues threatening language to students who might be considering using terms like male and female). Poor students.

“The tragedy at the heart of college sports is college sports.”

This writer is talking about the big-time stuff, football, basketball. He thinks paying the players would make matters even more sordid. He sets the scene:

[P]ractically all of the dozens of football players [at the University of Southern California] with whom I interacted [as a tutor] resented their schoolwork, or to be specific, the requirement of it. They viewed it as a particularly onerous element of the raw deal that was playing collegiate-level professional sports for free. Without quite saying it, they viewed amateurism as a farce, a predatory bargain struck long before any of them had nailed their first slow-moving quarterback. They could live with the exploitation, it seemed, but certain things fell beneath their dignity, compulsory study being one of them.


[T]he tragedy at the heart of college sports is college sports. Paying the players would only ensure the continuation of athletic programs as currently constructed. Everything would remain as it is, with the freakishly lucrative enterprises that are Division I college football and basketball nestled awkwardly within our higher education system. Payment would, in fact, give the system needed space to grow, protect it with a thin veneer of legitimacy, and free everyone from the constraints that have lately burdened the good time of college athletics.

Constraints here means the need for universities to find ways to pretend that these guys are in some sense students.

The pretense works fine as long as the university is itself, tout court, a pretense – the University of Alabama, Clemson, Baylor.

The pretense is always falling apart at Blanche DuBois schools, schools that continue to flatter themselves that they’re universities (Penn State, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill). At UNC they have spot checks to make sure professors are meeting their classes – – along, of course, with spot checks to make sure athletes are attending them. It’s one big pre-school program.

Cosmic Convergence

Eight of the fifteen American university football teams that dominate the “most flagrant chaplaincies” list also dominate the “most team arrests” list.


Auburn University
University of Georgia
University of South Carolina
Mississippi State University
University of Alabama
University of Tennessee
Louisiana State University
University of Missouri
University of Washington
Georgia Tech
University of Illinois
Florida State University
University of Mississippi
University of Wisconsin
Clemson University



1) Washington State: 31
2) Florida: 24
T-3) Georgia: 22
T-3) Texas A&M: 22
5) Oklahoma: 21
T-6) Iowa State: 20
T-6) Missouri: 20
T-6) Ole Miss: 20
T-6) West Virginia: 20
T-10) Florida State: 19
T-10) Tennessee: 19
T-12) Alabama: 18
T-12) Iowa: 18
T-12) Kentucky: 18
T-15) LSU: 16
T-15) Marshall: 16
T-15) Oregon State: 16
T-15) Pittsburgh: 16
T-19) Arkansas: 14
T-19) Michigan: 14
T-19) Oklahoma State: 14
T-19) Purdue: 14
T-23) Auburn: 13
T-23) Colorado: 13
T-23) Kansas: 13

Repetition, Henri Bergson famously told us, is at the heart of comedy.

From Punch and Judy to Waiting for Godot to Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition, when the same thing happens over and over again, it often becomes hilarious. For instance, as she read through this article about multiple settled sexual harassment and gender discrimination suits, UD found herself laughing out loud.

[Virginia Commonwealth University] ­settled that complaint in July 2012 for $125,000 …

[The University of Minnesota] settled [that complaint] in April 2014 for $175,000 …

In 1995, [the University of Minnesota women’s volleyball coach] received a $300,000 settlement from the university after she filed a discrimination complaint about the school.

On and on it went, accompanied by equally hilarious efforts (see “he’s pining for the fiords”) by administrators to explain it away (“University of Minnesota spokesman Evan Lapiska said the school has received only the two complaints about [ex-Athletic Director Norwood] Teague. Asked about [a third complaint], Lapiska said it was filed against the U, not Teague.”).

Nothing to see here! Nothing to see! We don’t hire known harassers and then pay people in order to hush up their subsequent harassments just because we need a good coach/fund raiser to sustain the one hundred million dollar football franchise that runs our school! This is an intellectual institution, damn you, and these occasional glitches have nothing to do with the culture of the place…

“I view this as the action of one man who was overserved and a series of bad events happened,” University President Eric Kaler said at Friday’s news conference. “It doesn’t reflect the culture and the values of the university.”


[The University of Minnesota places] athletics and its financial interests ahead of everything else, including the mission of the institution and the safety of its employees from inappropriate contact.

Teague “resigned” Friday after revelations that he had groped and sent sexually graphic texts to athletic department employees.

Almost immediately afterward, Kaler began the process of attempting to distance the university from Teague — …largely because there are financial benefits to doing so.

… This is about abuse of power, in a system that has completely forgotten the mission of a public university — to educate students, not to generate revenue and contributions for athletic facilities.

At least Auburn and Clemson and Alabama are honest about being nothing but football teams. UD‘s contempt is reserved for Penn State, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Minnesota.


UD thanks Carl.

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