FAR Jim O’Fallon endorses “separate and unequal” athlete tutoring subsidy

FAR Jim O’Fallon: 0.5FTE at $195K FAR Tim Gleason: 0.5FTE at $219K

Jim O’Fallon has been pulling down $100K or so a year to serve as UO’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative for 25 years, without any faculty review. Last summer Mike Gottfredson appointed retiring Journalism Tim Gleason to replace O’Fallon in this sinecure, but let O’Fallon stay on for a last year. So at the moment we’ve got two FARs – both paid out of the academic budget, of course. The academic side even pays for their away-game junkets.

On March 4th the UO Senate unanimously passed two pieces of athletics legislation. The first will require the Ducks to gradually start paying a modest amount of money to UO’s academic side, for things like student scholarships. The second will replace Gleason with a Faculty Athletics Representative that’s actually picked by the faculty. Sounds crazy, I know.

Meanwhile, here’s O’Fallon’s letter to the RG Editors in response to the first legislation. He’s defending the $2.2M subsidy the academic budget pays the Ducks for the athlete only Jock Box:

Jaqua center aids student-athletes

Register-Guard readers may find some additional information helpful in understanding the circumstances of the academic support program for student athletes that was covered in the March 7 article regarding the University of Oregon Senate’s effort to secure fund transfers from the athletic department (“Faculty eyeing athletics budget”).

The exclusionary policy in the Jaqua academic center for athletes is functional. Its purpose is to secure an environment where student-athletes can study without undue distraction.

For many high-profile student-athletes, that’s not possible in more accessible study spaces. It wasn’t a point of contention in the space previously occupied by the program, but it’s become an easy target for invidious comparison in the new building.

The article mentioned “free lunch.” That’s a benefit recently authorized by the NCAA as part of a reform package aimed at student-athlete welfare. It addresses concerns related to the nutrition of these very active young women and men.

One further bit of information may be worth mentioning. While academic support services are a staple of Division I athletics programs, there’s a significant split in how they’re funded.

Many institutions believe the best practice is to keep the funding in the hands of academic authorities, rather than in the athletic department. The UO’s practice reflects agreement with that judgment.

JIM O’FALLON
PROFESSOR OF LAW, EMERITUS
FACULTY ATHLETICS REPRESENTATIVE, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
Eugene

Jim is full of shit, of course, as the commenters on the RG page point out. It’s even more absurd than they know. While UO’s regular students are stuck subsidizing the athlete-only Jock Box, it’s the athletic department that controls it. To the point of charging the academic side if we want to use it:

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4 Responses to FAR Jim O’Fallon endorses “separate and unequal” athlete tutoring subsidy

  1. UNC’s scandal was made possible in part because its athletic department oversaw the implementation and funding of academic assistance for athletes. Zero possibility of a check nor a balance. If Oregon (and anew NCAA institution) is going to provide similar services, most places do what Oregon does.

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  2. charlie says:

    You’re telling me that the U of Owe has paid, more or less, one guy somewhere in the vicinity of $2.5 million dollars gross, for 1/4 of century of doing almost nothing but flack for the AD? And the best he can do is the idiotic tripe he gave the RG? Screw anything else, if this isn’t an example of the extreme waste of public resources occurring at American unis, then nothing is….

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  3. uomatters says:

    Yes.

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  4. Raven says:

    How’s that for justification? Some athletes are superstars & simply can’t function because of “undue distraction.” One might argue the whole athletics program is an undue distraction to the academic side of the college. A few years ago, my (non athlete) U of O student took a gander into the Jaqua canter- & invited the press to come along. They walked back the “athletes only” rule (for the cameras), and said that was a misunderstanding. He said they have a very nice library up in the forbidden territory. I think the students just need to go there & use the building. It’s their campus, their student fees paying for the place. Don’t allow the athletics department to practice to run their version of student athlete apartheid. (Ok it is not a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race– but grounds of being an athlete or not). It is both segregation & discrimination– and worse they make the general population of students pay for it!

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