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“You think you’re paying for a degree and you wind up as a piggy bank for a semi-professional sports team.”

The hilarious details of the national student athletics fee scam can be found here. Most fun section:

[One University of Kansas student] wonder[ed] why the [athletics] department needed $50 from each student every year in addition to ticket payments.

In two years, Kansas athletics spent $9 million in severance on fired football coaches Mark Mangino and Turner Gill. When [the student] did not notice any corresponding layoffs or cutbacks, he decided to do some research.

He reviewed financial statements that showed Kansas athletics income rose from $50.8 million in 2005 to $93.6 million in 2013. In early 2014, [he] sent a 35-page report to the student senate, arguing that the fee, which produced about $1.1 million for athletics, should be eliminated.

“Students were seeing a rise in tuition, more student debt . . . and the athletics department was making more and more money every year. It just didn’t seem like they needed it,” [he] said in an interview.

[His] report was persuasive. Students voted to kill the fee.

Margaret Soltan, November 30, 2015 9:43PM
Posted in: sport

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13 Responses to ““You think you’re paying for a degree and you wind up as a piggy bank for a semi-professional sports team.””

  1. Jack/OH Says:

    “You think you’re paying for a degree . . .”.

    Trustees at my local Podunk Tech yesterday approved master’s programs in athletic training and interdisciplinary visual arts. I’m not making this up. Twenty years ago I would have conned myself into thinking this was evidence of some institutional dynamism. Nowadays I just feel crappy.

  2. charlie Says:

    Jack, about five years ago, University of Oregon founded their Cinema Studies department. According to U of O marketing boilerplate, it’s an interdisciplinary major to create new innovators in the film, or some such crap.

    Meanwhile, Steven Spielburg, who attended, but never graduated from Cal State Long Beach’s film department, gave a speech at University of Southern California in 2013 saying the movie business is imploding.


    At that same conference, George Lucas said much the same thing.

    You’re wrong about institutional dynamism I’m afraid. Admins are very dynamic in creating new ways to con suckers into loan debt…..

  3. Dr_Doctorstein Says:

    At my humble institution all that matters is that a new program show promise of boosting enrollment. We’ve recently added two new undergraduate programs — Adventure Leadership and Programming, and Sports Psychology — plus two new graduate programs — Cultural Resource Management, and Higher Education Administration and Leadership.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Adventure Leadership???

  5. Dr_Doctorstein Says:

    C’mon, UD — you think those climbing walls manage themselves?

  6. Jack/OH Says:

    Hey, guys, it’s all about students, students, students!!! Cymbal crash–cha-ching-$$$$:(

  7. Margaret Soltan Says:


  8. Dr_Doctorstein Says:

    Jack/OH: Yes, it’s all about the money. But in the case of my school, it’s not about padding multi-billion-dollar endowments but bringing in enough money to keep the doors open. The villain is our state’s misguided funding model — based on the silly idea that free market competition always makes everything better — that forces us to compete with other colleges for students.

  9. charlie Says:

    Doctorstein, why should uni doors be kept open if they’re simply satraps and flunkies for Wall Street and politically connected building contractors?


    As the UC faculty found out, tuition has been used as the collateral for the public bonds financing the building projects going on at uni campuses, yours most likely included. Why the increasing use of adjuncts? Because they get paid a fraction of TT, freeing up resources for the debt service. Almost none of the increased UC tuition has found its way to the classroom.

    Further, tuition can be used bond collateral, whereas severe limits are imposed on the public money used for that purpose. That’s why admins may jawbone the state for more funding, the reality is, as the UC profs discovered, admins have done little to actually solicit more state funding. Those admins serve the rentier class, not the students. This isn’t by accident, Wall Street investment houses have long been lobbying and working to get public unis to build more of the nonsense, such as Lazy Rivers and spa like recreation centers, at unis. Follow the money, it will lead you to anything you need to know….

  10. charlie Says:

    Actually, what I meant to post was student loan debt can be used for bond collateral, not tuition. Sorry….

  11. Dr_Doctorstein Says:

    Charlie, universities should be kept open because, while they often are “satraps and flunkies,” they are not *only* those things.

    They are many other things as well. In spite of all the well-documented idiocy and corruption, some real education does take place there. A lot of students really do learn there, and graduate, and get good jobs, including many students from extremely poor families.

    You’re right about following the money. Just be sure to follow *all* of it. There’s a lot of tax money that currently flows out of my local community to the state treasury, and then back to us by way of the college, which is the largest local employer by far. If we were to close up shop, that money wouldn’t come back. It might well be spent instead at the even more opulent, less efficient flagship university 200 miles away. Our local community would become even more impoverished, and Flagship City would get even richer. Fewer of our local high school grads would be able to go to college at all. We’d wind up importing more K-12 teachers from outside (who would stay a couple years before moving on to greener pastures, taking their accumulated wealth with them). And so on.

  12. Jack/OH Says:

    Dr_Doctorstein, thanks. Were I a trustee, I suspect I’d vote for an expansion of degree offerings, too, for the reason you mention. I hope I’d also have the wit to quietly curse the circumstances that compelled me to make that decision.

    FWIW-I vote Libertarian. I used to be an ad guy, a commissioned sales manager, and did okay. Any politician (there may be exceptions) who talks “free markets” with respect to education, combat troops (e. g., Blackwater), etc., is almost surely talking twaddle. IOW–I agree with you.

  13. Dr_Doctorstein Says:

    Not to worry, Jack — I do a lot of cursing, and not always so quietly, either.

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