University Diaries
A professor of English describes American university life.
Aim: To change things.
Contact UD at: margaret-dot-soltan-at-gmail-dot-com

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Trustees Try to
Get in on the Action,
Are Batted Down.

Columbia Daily Tribune:

The University of Missouri-Columbia’s athletic program might face scrutiny by the Board of Curators if two curators have their way in forming a task force to study the health of the program’s athletics and academics.

David Wasinger, a lawyer and board member from St. Louis, proposed the task force yesterday after MU Athletic Director Mike Alden made a presentation to the board during a regular meeting on the university’s St. Louis campus.

Wasinger, one of the board’s most outspoken members, said it seemed the department was being managed from "crisis to crisis." He said he was tired of having to spend Sunday afternoons in telephone conference calls with the board dealing with athletic department troubles.

…"I don’t know the answer," said Wasinger, who has been on the board for about a year. "What I intend to do is I’m going to make a motion that we form a task force to assess the health of intercollegiate athletic programs." Wasinger’s motion was seconded by John Carnahan III, a board member from Springfield.

Board President Angela Bennett of Kansas City told Wasinger the timing of his motion was not proper. She said the time for its consideration would be during the board’s business session later today. Other curators said they didn’t know enough about Wasinger’s idea to meaningfully comment on it.

…In his statement yesterday, Wasinger compared the athletic program to the front porch of a house. He said if the porch looked like it was not in good repair, the impression existed that the rest of the house was in poor shape, too. He said the character of MU’s athletic program performed the same function for the entire university.

"We as board members, whether we like it or not, are going to have to take a greater role in athletics," Wasinger said.

Alden told reporters during a break in the session that he believed the problems during Snyder’s departure were over and that it was time to move the athletic program forward.

"We’ve discussed these issues, and we are beyond them," Alden said. "We are excited about the future. I feel very good about where our athletic program is headed."

Alden said from what he knew of athletic departments at other universities, most report to campus officials rather than the schools’ governing boards. While Alden was answering reporters’ questions, Don Walsworth, a curator from Marceline, stepped in front of the television cameras, shook Alden’s hand and told him he was doing a great job.

Walsworth, who heads a book publishing company, supplements Alden’s salary at the rate of $50,000 per year. His company also prints athletic department program guides for a company that has a contract with the athletic department.