“Much of the criticism of that athletic spending has come in the direction of [Eastern Michigan University’s] Division I football program, which saw its base budget expenses increase from $2.2 million in 2015 to $3.1 million in 2016, finishing with a 1-11 record.”

It’s an annual autumn ritual in America: College presidents and trustees all over the country snap to it and notice that they’re running a student-chiseling, all-football, all-losses, no-attendance operation…

No, that’s wrong. What actually happens is that other people (legislators, faculty, journalists, students) notice with the start of another academic year how beyond-belief bad things are in places like the Alaska public university system, and those people make noise and that noise forces the mindless somnolent deluded sports-loving trustees and presidents to…

To say this is the end of sports as we know it at our university!

Yes, these stewards of the university have figured out that you can shut everyone up each year by saying ridiculous shit like you’re right we’re just gonna have to cease all physical activity on campus:

There are three athletics options under consideration by the university. Under the first, the University of Alaska Anchorage and University of Alaska Fairbanks would end all sports.

WHAAAAA….???? My lower intestine just curled around itself and I’m losing control of my bowels… Please no… no…

So that’s the basic move, whether you’re EMU or Fairbanks or dozens of other ridiculous hemorrhaging jockshops – scare the fuck out of people and wait for them to shut up.

Behind Eastern Michigan University’s 65-0 Loss to Florida.

You have to understand how much that shut-out cost EMU. To do that, you have to revisit the following University Diaries posts:

1. The post pointing out that “virtually no one shows up to watch” games which cost EMU millions to put on.

2. The post pointing out that

NCAA rules stipulate a school must average 15,000 fans per home football game to remain in Division I. Eastern Michigan, which averaged 6,401 fans per home game in 2010, uses $150,000 from a distribution contract with Pepsi to purchase tickets from itself at a rate of $3 apiece to remain NCAA compliant.

3. The post quoting an EMU finance professor saying

“We’re down to 57 percent regular faculty, and the other 43 percent are lecturers and part time. Searches are being held back, and I’m unhappy that they spend so much money on athletics and not academics. It’s important that we have full time faculty…Over the last few years, the budget for academics was cut by four million dollars. They need new programming. They redid the football stadium before they redid the academic buildings. … The football coach makes more than the president.”


UD calls football the freak show that ate the American university.

At EMU, you can actually watch the process of digestion.

‘Take Saturday’s game against Western Michigan University where 2,177 fans attended out of 30,200 possible seats.’

There’s an intriguing point/counterpoint in these two Eastern Echo articles dealing with the cosmic nullity that is the Eastern Michigan University football program. As the first student points out, when there’s no there there there’s every reason to stop pretending there’s a there. There.

Year in and year out, money continues to be wasted on a program in which virtually no one shows up to watch. … [There] are better things to do with the $2.47 million in the football budget instead of wasting it away with a sub-par product…

The writer calls for the university to shut down the program.

The other student argues that…

He doesn’t really argue. Even on the level of content, it’s hard to follow what he’s saying, since he doesn’t know what a semi-colon is. But his main point seems to be that the school has produced some NFL players.

Plus, some really impressive things are happening in the program. For instance, they just fired their crazed homophobic coach – and breaking his contract will only set the school back a few hundred thou. Oh, and

I would argue that wins and fans go hand-in-hand. If you want fans in the seats, you have to put some wins on the board.

Well, Coach English was trying to do that by calling everyone a faggot! What do you want?

Sure, some commenters point out that putting wins on the board actually doesn’t – at EMU – put fans in the seats. Like, I mean, really; (note semi-colon) no one at your school gives a shit about football…

‘Lmaooo EMU smacking refs’

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when Eastern Michigan University was arguably the most pathetic of America’s many pathetic football schools. But now. Now! Not only does their quarterback hit out so wildly at opposing players that he clocks the referee; another player gets ejected for spitting on an opponent.

Life of the mind, my beloved country. Life of the mind.

‘”The ultimate source of that mismanagement — or the primary cause of it — is excessive spending on athletics,” said Professor Judith Kullberg, president of the EMU chapter of the American Association of University Professors.’

Eastern Michigan. A national sports joke. It has spent itself into the gutter on games. It thinks for-profit online courses are going to save its sports-dead ass. What absolute total idiots.

“I think that a university with a Division I sports program cannot, by definition, be considered ‘great.’ In such a place too much time, energy, attention and resources are given to big-time entertainment that is essentially meaningless.”

A writer for the Auburn Citizen wrote this last year, and ever since then UD‘s been chewing on it. In particular, when UD reads about big-time football schools like the University of Hawaii, Western Michigan U., and Eastern Michigan U. — all of them perennially in the news for bankrupting their students and keeping their schools down in order to subsidize shitty coaches and put on games no one attends — UD ponders that “meaningless” thing.

The pathetic state of EMU in particular has attracted the attention of the national media. Singling out that school, an HBO show called The Arms Race featured the following facts:

At Eastern Michigan, the sports program lost $52 million over the past two years according to Howard Bunsis, an accounting professor at that school. Plus the school football team has not a winning season in nearly a couple of decades and regularly posts the smallest attendance figures in all college football.

(That amount by the way is nothing next to national joke Rutgers, where “in the last 12 years, the school’s athletics department has lost $312 million.”)

The leadership of all of these universities — president, trustees — goes ape-shit whenever anyone suggests that the all-consuming activity that has basically killed their school is meaningless. (Faculty and students, two groups immiserated by athletics, feel differently, but who listens to them?) The ferocity of their unanimous response to suggestions that they lead their university in a more meaningful as well as fiscally responsible direction tells you that for these people taking down a university through the removal of all revenues via football is obviously patently totally on the face of it worth it.

So what is the transcendent meaning they attach to what looks to the rest of us like suicide via sports?

UD thinks a hint can be found here:

It is as though they see a successful sports program as a winning multi-million dollar lottery ticket. Never mind that millions of lottery ticket holders lose.

UD thinks a more vivid and valuable analogy would be to the cargo cult phenomenon. Long ago in our ancestral past, godlike men appeared and won games and there was jubilation among the people. Then the big men went away.

Ever since, we have built gleaming stadiums and training facilities to induce them to reappear.

They will reappear.

We will never give up.

This is the meaning of our life.


Some Eastern Michigan University Faculty Members Want More Funds For Academics And Less For Sports

(The link goes to Page Not Found; use search engine to get to article.)

UD has been waiting for this comment…

…or call it a philosophy…

As university students abandon football, coaches and presidents have at the very least a rhetorical problem. They will never of course drop football, because they can always make a profit sending their players out to play one massively losing game after another for the money. On the other hand, the fact that, for instance, at Central Michigan University, “[o]nly 102 students attended the last home game against Eastern Michigan,” does sort of need to be dealt with. The stadium’s capacity is 30,199. That was a home game.

So, you know, some new philosophy, some new rhetoric, some new position-taking is going to have to happen in response to – uh – queries about this situation. Here’s the CMU athletic director (salary: close to $300,000 a year):

“Does it matter if you have no one at your game, or 15,000, or 110,000?” Heeke asked. “Does that somehow deem [sic] that you shouldn’t play football at this school because you can’t reach 15,000? [Like a lot of schools, CMU fudges like mad to pretend to the NCAA that it meets the minimal attendance standard.] If the school makes the decision to play football, why should it matter? It’s their decision how they want to manage the game and what they think their expectation is and what makes it a viable program.”

See, to UD, this is where things start to get interesting on the American university campus. This is where there’s suddenly an intellectually generative convergence between things like philosophy and literature – as in those famous lines at the end of Wallace Stevens’ “The Snow Man”

… the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

– and the sports program. These are difficult, paradoxical lines, easily seen, now, as expressing what you see when you look at the nothing that is Kelly/Shorts stadium.

What does it matter, asks the AD, if there is nothing?

If a quarterback falls in Kelly/Shorts, does it make any sound?


“[D]espite an 0-11 record his first year and a 2-9 mark his second, he received a $28,350 raise on Jan. 1, 2011 that had been built into his contract.”

A fun fact about the football coach at Eastern Michigan University.

EMU is one of many pathetic Division I schools in these here United States. But even by the standards of that tawdry deluded crew, EMU stands out.

Further facts, from a long article by Pete Bigelow:

The athletic department reported $19.8 million in revenues in 2009. Of that amount, $14.9 million came from direct institutional support and $1.6 million came from student fees.
That $16.5 million represents 83.4 percent of the school’s athletic budget, the highest percentage of direct institutional support any athletic department received among the Mid-American Conference’s 13 member institutions.
Athletes make up 2.5 percent of EMU’s overall student body, but receive more than 20 percent of the university’s financial aid budget. The athletes’ share amounts to approximately $6.7 million.
NCAA rules stipulate a school must average 15,000 fans per home football game to remain in Division I. Eastern Michigan, which averaged 6,401 fans per home game in 2010, uses $150,000 from a distribution contract with Pepsi to purchase tickets from itself at a rate of $3 apiece to remain NCAA compliant.

We buy tickets from ourselves!

Very pomo. Très simulacral. Doesn’t do anything to hide the empty stands, however.

It helps, when trying to understand the Division I losers, to imagine the presidents of these schools as Blanche DuBois, and the big football victory that will turn it all around as Belle Reve.

So on February 7, an Ann Arbor newspaper reports that…

… a member of Eastern Michigan University’s board of regents hasn’t been to a meeting in two years. EMU doesn’t say much when the paper asks for a comment… I guess nobody’s ever been kicked off the board before, says EMU’s spokesperson… Ho hum…

But… as long as you mention it… I guess we’ll can his ass! Okay!

Same paper, a few hours later:

Eastern Michigan University Regent Mohamed Okdie has resigned due to health reasons, Gov. Rick Snyder’s office said today. The resignation is effective immediately.

An AnnArbor.com report published this morning showed that Okdie hadn’t been to a meeting in nearly two years and attended just six meetings out of 20 since he was appointed to the university’s governing board in November 2007 by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

I mean, yeah! Shit! We hadn’t noticed. Thanks.

“Football is very expensive. It would be better if they took football money and gave it to academics.”

Susan Moeller, a finance professor at Eastern Michigan University, spoke at a recent trustees’ meeting and told them that the school’s a mess academically and gives most of its money to a losing football team.

“We’re down to 57 percent regular faculty, and the other 43 percent are lecturers and part time. Searches are being held back, and I’m unhappy that they spend so much money on athletics and not academics. It’s important that we have full time faculty.”

… “Over the last few years, the budget for academics was cut by four million dollars,” she said. “They need new programming. They redid the football stadium before they redid the academic buildings. … The football coach makes more than the president.”

EMU’s president responds: “We had no increases in athletics budget this year aside from necessary pay raises.”

Necessary pay raises. Wonder what they are. I mean, universities all over the country are doing furloughs, salary reductions… What are the necessary raises at EMU?

UD’s guessing those are the raises that raise the football coach’s salary yet HIGHER than the president’s — or else…

You know…

Or else the coach will do what all peeved university football coaches do when the university peeves them: Sue, sue, sue, sue, sue.

Thinking the Unthinkable

The Boston Globe reports on the overwhelmingly positive results of Northeastern, Boston U., and Hofstra having dropped football.

Quite a few other universities continue to “spend between $3 million and $5 million annually on the sport for equipment, scholarships, travel, coaches’ salaries, and facilities, and their teams generate little interest on campus or success on the field.” Some of these universities will certainly drop it…

It won’t happen in the south, of course, where football is a religion.

But imagine… Imagine how strange it would be if significant numbers of schools did can football. You’d have a diminishing group of big boys – Texas, Florida, that lot – begging someone to play with them…

Of course, these schools could just keep playing against each other, but fans would get bored and demand more variety. Hm…

UD predicts that eventually Alabama will pressure Nick Saban to give back 2.5 of his 4.8 million dollar yearly salary so that Alabama can create a football program at another university. Other southern universities with four million dollar coaches will do the same. In order to have someone to play against, these places will begin funding and running football programs at northern universities. Four or so times a year, an organized group of fraternities and alumni from these schools will come up here and deliver PowerPoints on how to do really sloppy drunken tailgates that the whole family can enjoy, etc.


Update: Details on the Southern Model here.

“I’ve never been to Michigan-Ohio State, but I can’t imagine it being near the experience that the entire weekend is of [University of Oklahoma]-Texas,” OU senior Matt Patten said. “The stuff that goes on down there is just ridiculous. I mean you have an enormous amount of alcohol all over the place down by the hotels where we all stay. Fights are breaking out all around you between OU fans and Texas fans…”

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