“[A]ttendance fell by 7.6 percent between 2014 and 2018 at games involving the 130 big-time programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and the average turnout in 2018 was the lowest since 1996. Not only do major powers like Alabama and Clemson struggle to sell out their home games, but a 2018 Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that, on average, only 71 percent of those holding tickets for FBS games in 2017 ever made it through the turnstiles.”

Because [huge] network money has to come from somewhere, we can anticipate more and longer commercials in games that already subject fans’ patience, bladders, and backsides to what amounts to a four-hour stress test. Those who head from the stadium to the local motel instead of fighting traffic and fatigue on the long drive home are almost certainly looking at two-night minimums on rooms at grossly inflated rates. Throw in gas, food, and tickets for a family of four, and your credit card tally will scream of a weekend in Paris, not Clemson.

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

James Cobb, Spalding Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Georgia, goes on to describe

the sinister contagion of unadulterated commercialism now enveloping college football at every level. Left unchecked, it promises to make exiles of the students, alumni, and loyal fans in general who long saw games, not simply as athletic contests, but the centerpiece of a deeply personal, culturally affirming ritual.

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

UD thanks Jim.

‘Sometimes very big money — like the $10.4 million Texas A&M owed Kevin Sumlin for firing him without cause after last season. Sometimes ridiculous money — like the $35 million Clemson would owe Dabo Swinney if the school did the same to him this year.’

Life of the mind, USA.

Clemson: Where it’s all about gaming.

Everyone from the president on down games the university ranking system.

The school is about pretty much nothing except football games.

The school’s budget goes to

an HD theater, a barber shop, a nine-hole putt-putt course, a golf simulator, a basketball court, laser tag, a bowling alley, an indoor slide and outdoor firepit

for football players.

Clemson: Games within games within games.

Kray-Kray Clemson

What’s the craziest school in the world?
Clemson U Clemson U
What’s the nuttiest nut in this wonderful world?
Clemson U

Captain of US News
Lord of the fifty-yard line
Flyer of private planes
To get football’s finest to sign

Who’s the slimiest rat in the pack?
Clemson U Clemson U
Who’s unthinkable
(U!)
Who’s unsinkable?
(U!)
Whose existence is totally stinkable?
(U!)

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.

What you do with your money if you’re a football school.

Give the coach $93 million.

University of Maryland: Just another insane perverted little football program with no president.

Five months and one day after Jordan McNair collapsed at a Maryland football practice, D.J. Durkin, the head coach who oversaw the system whose failure led to the offensive lineman’s death, was reinstated to his job. That decision was made over the reported protests of university president Wallace Loh, who didn’t mention Durkin’s name at a Tuesday press conference and was told he’d be fired if he didn’t follow the regents’ recommendations…

[One of the football program’s trainers] allegedly used homophobic slurs and threw everything from food to weights to vomit at players, while other unnamed coaches forced them to watch graphic videos of “serial killers, drills entering eyeballs, and bloody scenes with animals eating animals.”

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

Chicago Trib:

[For the University of Maryland,] being guided by the memory of a 19-year-old whose death was wholly and completely preventable means that the football coach who oversaw a program built on — among other things — demeaning players should be welcomed back. So here comes the inconceivable: DJ Durkin, back on the sidelines…

[T]he University of Maryland — in its entirety — is delusional…

“Greetings, mothers of prospective Maryland football players. Come in. Have a seat. Let me flip on this video of animals disemboweling each other, just to get you in the right frame of mind. Oh, sorry, is there puke in that trash can? Allow me to fling it across the room. That should do it. Would you like a candy bar? No? I insist. Seriously. Eat this &$%@#! candy bar!!!!!!!! Or else!!!!!!!!!”

… That DJ Durkin remains the football coach at the University of Maryland defies common sense and common decency. That Damon Evans remains his boss as the athletic director means Maryland has installed a leader who is defined more by his mistakes than his successes. And the entire university system has exposed itself.

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

It’s all chaos, degradation, and continued danger, and the whole world is watching. Take a look at today’s Google News page for the University of Maryland.

A Forbes writer gets it right: Unless you’re Clemson and Baylor and Nebraska and the other total-football-and-nothing-else schools, you’re eventually going to find yourself deep in the same sort of shit Maryland’s in right now.

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

The hot mess in all its glory.

Two things almost for sure:

1. Durkin will go.

2. This entire episode will end up costing the university at least ten million dollars, plus endless further costs arising from multiple lawsuits.

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

Headline on this one: IN AN AGE OF REFORM, MARYLAND SAYS IT’S FINE WITH SLIME

President Loh …. advocated that Durkin be dismissed. Instead it’s the president who’s leaving. The coach, beggaring belief, gets to stay. Unknown is whether he can find anyone willing to play for him, now or ever again.

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

The Maryland head football coach, who in the very best-case scenario, was so incompetent at overseeing a program that he allowed it to turn into one so toxic and so physically dangerous to players that it killed one, but who was so competent at instilling a culture of “fear” that players and subordinates were too afraid to speak up with their concerns, was reinstated on Tuesday, along with everyone else who bears responsibility for Jordan McNair’s death.

… As for why the board of regents appears so committed to Durkin, well, look no further than his contract. The coach is in the third year of a six-year contract that pays him about $2.5 million annually. If he were to be bought out, it would cost the school $5 million. If he were to be fired without cause, it would cost 65 percent of his remaining salary, or, again, about $5 million. If he were to be fired with cause, there would likely be an expensive and protracted legal battle. It is no wonder, that at just about every program, a football coach has more job security than a university president: He makes more money.

Maryland football does not turn a profit. It had run, for years, at a multi-million-dollar deficit, but believed that moving to the Big Ten would make it the money-printing machine it always believed it could be. But so far, by all reports, it’s barely breaking even, and has committed to years of serious expenses paying off its fancy new football facilities. The board of regents appears to believe the program cannot afford to take the hit of paying off Durkin to leave, and the likely accompanying loss in donations from insane boosters, on top of the inevitable lawsuit from McNair’s family. The regents announced yesterday, in so many words, that doing the right thing would cost too much money.

When very young, smart, popular, university athletes violently kill themselves…

… it staggers us, it makes the papers, it’s a big deal.

Sometimes, as in the 2016 case of Ohio State football player Kosta Karageorge, it’s not a mystery: Macho, covering up concussions that are starting to produce symptoms, easy access to a gun, a fight with a girlfriend, a history of depression. What one remembers of Karageorge is not the mystery; it is the unbearable pathos of his having placed himself inside of a dumpster before pulling the trigger.

More typically, the suicides of intense and gifted student athletes – like, most recently, Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski – are indeed mysterious. Most exhibit few to no overt signs of serious mental disturbance; up until the moment of death, they seem genial, social, active in their sport. Indeed, intensely active – and this is something Karageorge shares with many more enigmatic student athlete suicides: All of these people seem too intense about training and winning.

“He was really hard on himself,” a Yale friend said of Cameron Dabaghi, who jumped off the Empire State Building eight years ago. “If he lost a tennis match, it wasn’t because of a blister or a bad line call … He believed in fairness, he believed he had to be better.”

Madison [Holleran] was beautiful, talented, successful — very nearly the epitome of what every young girl is supposed to hope she becomes. But she was also a perfectionist who struggled when she performed poorly,” writes Kate Fagan about a University of Pennsylvania runner who jumped off a parking garage. Another woman, an intensely competitive track star at Wesleyan, set herself on fire on one of the school’s playing fields.

Hilinski took (without telling him) a friend’s AR-15-style rifle – a much more physically destructive form of suicide than the pistol Karageorge used. Certainly any discussion of young, often impulsive, student suicides needs to note the wide availability of profoundly destructive firepower in the United States.

Hilsinki’s predecessor as WSU quarterback tells Yahoo Sports:

“I feel like at times we feel like we can’t express our emotions because we’re in a masculine sport and him being a quarterback, people look up to you as a leader. He felt like he really probably couldn’t talk to anybody. We’ve got to change some of that stuff. We have to have resources and not have a stigma of people going to that.”

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

A former Clemson player:

“Especially a male athlete, and a football player in such a physical rough sport, you never want to be the guy that’s having to admit that something’s wrong. You get that mindset of always pushing through. Nothing’s wrong. I’m good to go.”

“To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.”

Anyone who blogs about universities – ‘specially university athletics – has the very same task Samuel Beckett describes. How do you make room for – make sense of – the mess? For the theater of the absurd production that schools like New Mexico State (and let NMSU stand for myriad others like it) stage every single day? Go here for background on this clown school with its budget-killing big sports program and its vast empty stadium. Then go here for an update, as the state of New Mexico pulls funding from the school and lets the big thinkers on campus figure out how to keep their players rolling around in a huge vacant shell.

But that’s just one state school, from a notoriously anti-intellectual state. Consider the sporty devolution of the University of Minnesota, of all places, where they pay coaches millions of dollars to preside over endless sickening drug and sex scandals. People are now officially worried that the state legislature might be too grossed out to approve UMN’s funding requests. You’ve even got some restive citizens wondering about – wait for it – whether athletics might compromise a university’s mission. They seem particularly upset about coaches’ salaries.

But UMN to the rescue! They’re about to appoint this guy as one of their regents. Good optics.

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

The Washington state senate shows you what can happen to a university’s autonomy when it keeps fucking up its athletic budget.

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

At least we’ve got the very top of university football, with packed stadiums and plentiful revenues, to admire. Dave Zirin describes these lucky schools.

[Clemson’s] head coach in 1981, Danny Ford made $50,000 that year (adjusted for inflation, that would be $140,000 today). Dabo Swinney takes home a base salary of $4.55 million. He also made $1.4 million in bonuses for a total salary of just under $6 million. As for players, their lot in life is the same as in 1981, except now they receive a $388-a-month stipend.

[Clemson coach Dabo] Swinney was asked about the idea of actually paying players, given the dramatically transformed economic landscape of the game, and he said that if players are ever paid, “I’ll go do something else because there’s enough entitlement in this world as there is.” To call the desire to end this rank exploitation “entitlement” is Orwellian in the extreme. He might as well write “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” on the locker-room walls.

If anyone has expressed an obscene amount of entitlement, it’s Swinney. Here is someone working on a refurbished plantation who makes millions of dollars off the sweat and head injuries of overwhelmingly black, unpaid labor, and yet when asked about the Black Lives Matter movement in September, he said, ”Some of these people need to move to another country.”

… College football is a septic tank of entitlement. It’s a fungal culture created by the head coaches of Big Football. Dabo Swinney is the very embodiment of that culture: adrift, clueless, and filthy rich.

Yuck. Another fine mess.

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

UD thanks John and Carl.

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