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.

“CLEMSON, USC SPENDING MILLIONS MORE ON SPORTS”…

… 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.

Cosmic Convergence

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

MOST FLAGRANT CHAPLAINCIES“:

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

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

MOST ARRESTS:

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.”

Overserved?

[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.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm Scathes Through…

… that classic mode of American letters, the apologia for the depraved university football program.

Local Minnesota booster/journalist Chip Scoggins shows you how it’s done for that state’s benighted school. Let us do a close reading.

Tone-wise, the big sustained thing, the ground tone, is a variant of Coacha Inconsolata (put the phrase in my search engine if you’re not yet familiar with it), in which shock, heartbreak, and an indomitable will to be shocked and heartbroken again rule. Have at me! says the bankrupt befouled and humiliated campus…

Oh my men I love them so
They’ll never know
All my life is just despair
But I don’t care
When they take me in their arms
The world is bright – all right!
What’s the difference if I say
I’ll go away
When I know I’ll come back on my knees someday…

Texas Tech is the nation’s sluttiest pain slut, hands down. Penn State assumes the crown if for any reason the current titleholder cannot fulfill her reign. The University of Minnesota is one of the five semi-finalists.

Why, just four days ago, before UM’s Athletic Director, via text, volunteered his muffdiving services to some random woman, Chip was burbling about how the program had finally begun to regain its respectability (church groups were mentioned). Now it’s back to the post-oral-sex-offer, pre-alcohol-rehab-stint status quo, and Chip’s got some familiar heavy lifting to do.

Headline: Teague Scandal Rocks Gophers Athletics Amid Recent Gains

Always give them some shred to hold onto – allude to vaguely defined gains.

Opinion piece summary: The accumulation of disappointment over the years — NCAA violations, misdeeds, awful hires, heartbreaking defeats — has created this perception that the U can’t get out of its own way.

A couple of points here. Note how the random expected fact of lost games gets included in this list of self-inflicted misfortunes. All teams lose games, but at masochistic schools it’s always one heartbreaking loss after another, and what’s a girl to do?

Note further: The “U can’t get out of its own way.” What does this particular formulation mean? It means that the stupid stubborn fact of a university, of all things, having to run a football program is once again the stumbling block. Where the hell does a university get off running a football program? You want to run a football program, be like Alabama and Clemson and get rid of the university!

The Gophers athletic department suffered another black eye that brought the kind of negative, unwanted attention that has become all too familiar.

No one felt surprised. That’s the sad part.

Again, always keep it more in sorrow than in anger. Sad. Sad.

Oh, we’re all shocked by the lewd details, the fact that a person in Norwood Teague’s position would act like such a Neanderthal. But not shocked that something like this happened to the Gophers, another deep dive into a pile of dung.

… Within hours of Teague’s resignation as athletic director, three people sent me text messages. A former university employee, a die-hard fan and a booster. All shared a similar theme in their words.

Here we go again.

It’s fair to guess that employees inside the department shared that same deflation of morale, which is too bad because a lot of earnest, hardworking, passionate folks work in the Bierman complex. They deserve better.

Shocked? Really? But as SOS points out above, it’s crucial for schools like Minnesota to keep an ever-refreshed stock of shock alongside heartbreak. A man coming on like that to a woman? What a shockingly lewd Neanderthal! In Minnesota, stuff like this is just so unfunny and shocking…

University President Eric Kaler tried hard to create a clear divide between Teague’s conduct and his school’s image, saying one man’s deplorable actions shouldn’t define an entire operation.

Please. UM doesn’t belong to its president any more than Joe Paterno’s Penn State belonged to whoever that dude was who made the public service announcements.

Instability at key positions in college sports — AD, football and basketball coaches — stunts momentum and forces athletic departments to continually hit the reset button. The Gophers know that too well. They need normalcy for once.

But constant administrative turnover, hugely expensive buyouts and lawsuits, relentlessly criminalized teams, and of course indifferent students who fail to fill up the brand new hugely expensive stadium is normalcy at jockshops like Minnesota. There are no earnest prudes in Bierman; there are only suckers. Everybody else is studying or whatever.

Teague ultimately proved to be a bad hire by Kaler, and the president can’t swing and miss on such an important position again. The Gophers carry a $105 million athletic budget. This is not a mom-and-pop operation.

See SOS‘s point above. You hire some goddamn academic to run a football program and this is the kind of dumbass hiring decision that gets made. Lose the president. Get Jim Tressel on the phone!

Those who cling to the idyllic perception of college athletics probably resent the fact that football and basketball are placed on a pedestal above every other sport, but that’s the reality now.

Sing it sister. But take it a teeny step further and tell the whole truth.

Those who cling to the idyllic perception of college athletics probably resent the fact that football and basketball are placed on a pedestal above every other activity on the UM campus, but that’s the reality now.

See? That was easy. That didn’t hurt.

The Trembling President

… I don’t really blame Saban; I blame Alabama’s school president for allowing a football coach carte blanche on what players are admitted into the university. The same goes for presidents at Florida State, Florida, Clemson and the countless other schools that recruited Dalvin Cook, the star FSU running back who was arrested recently and charged with punching a woman outside a Tallahassee bar.

According to records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Cook was arrested as a juvenile on two separate charges – one involving a robbery and another involving possessing and firing a weapon on school property.

Question: Don’t colleges and college presidents have a responsibility to protect their student bodies by not admitting football players who might be a threat to fellow students?

Mike Bianchi reminds us that jockshops like Clemson, etc., do have presidents. Admittedly these people do little other than attend football games and perform acts of obeisance to their head coach. (And fill out institutional assessment forms.) But just as a cat may look at a king, so a jockshop president may overcome his awareness of his microscopic salary compared to the salary of the coach and beg a few words with Nick or Jimbo about his quest for the biggest, most violent undergrads in America.

[S]everal years ago … Miami recruited Willie Williams, a prep-All-America linebacker from South Florida who was arrested 11 times as a juvenile.

UM President Donna Shalala, in an attempt to justify the signing, wrote in a letter to school boosters: “Mr. Williams is one of us — a son of Miami. We have a special obligation, relationship and commitment to the young people of our South Florida community. We want them to continue to think of us as a place of academic excellence and opportunity.”

Shalala’s letter may be the biggest pile of pabulum in college football history.

That makes me nostalgic. Here at University Diaries we had a hell of a good time following Shalala’s hyper-criminalized University of Miami, and fact is we miss her.

How we talk about universities in the United States.

If Cook pleads out in the battery case or gets convicted, Fisher’s choice should be easy. But it probably won’t be because Cook is really, really good.

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

Did Florida State (along with Florida, Clemson and the dozens and dozens of other schools who recruited Cook) have any trepidation about bringing someone onto their campus who was arrested twice as a juvenile — once in connection with a robbery and the other in connection with firing a weapon and possessing a weapon at an event on school property?

Swiney

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney on Wednesday reiterated reservations about how schools will implement the oncoming trend of providing “full cost of attendance” to scholarship student-athletes. He said that while he’s all for “modernizing the scholarship,” he opposes “professionalizing college athletics.”

Mr. Swinney’s defense of the amateur-athletics ideal would sound more convincing if he weren’t making $3.3 million this year to coach Clemson on a contract that runs through the 2021 season.

‘“People say, ‘Look at the price of the plane,’ and I say, ‘Look at what we’re paying coaches,’ said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brian White, an Anderson Republican who sits on the Joint Bond Review Committee, which will review the request. “It’s the times.”’

There’ll always be a Clemson.

“Consistency is all I ask!” “Give us this day our daily mask.”

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s chatter captures an important truth about corruption and hypocrisy as they play out at some of our highest-profile big-time sports universities. Everyone knows that universities like Auburn and Clemson are corrupt; but Auburn and Clemson are consistently corrupt; they wear the daily mask of honest hypocrisy. They have a modest, becoming, forthcoming, hypocrisy.

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

Think of it this way.

“[A] state like Illinois with a high corruption rate makes a better investment than a state with a moderate corruption rate… The reason is that the return for your bribe is more certain in a highly corrupt environment.”

It turns out that a very corrupt state offers its own kind of transparency.

That’s the kind of transparency I’m talking about. Almost all big-time sports universities are highly corrupt, but only some are transparent about it.

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

Or think of it this way: Who do you prefer to represent international banking, Lloyd Blankfein or the Reverend Prebendary Stephen Green? Recall Blankfein’s reliable mask as he testified in front of Congress; compare this to the reverend’s chilly refusal to lower himself to discuss his own lowness… his refusal to accept his lowness.

What I’m trying to say is that the truly contemptible universities are those, like Duke and Chapel Hill, who keep flouncing around like Blanche Du Bois, denying that they’re just as whorish as Clemson and Auburn. Duke’s Beloved Leader – like Rev Green – refuses to discuss his program’s latest scandal. UNC doesn’t want to talk about the likelihood that it’s as corrupt on the graduate level as it is on the undergraduate. (UD thanks Ken, a reader, for this link.) But they owe it to us – the American taxpayers subsidizing their luxury boxes full of drunken louts and their departments of exercise sciences doing the Beloved Leader’s bidding – to be transparently corrupt.

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