Duck student-athletes not to talk to reporters without permission

Update: Reporter Jack Pitcher’s story on this is now up on the Emerald website, here.

3/20/2017: That has been the policy of the athletic department for years. Supposedly it will now change.

This post is related to UO General Counsel Kevin Reed’s investigation of the Duck Athletic Department’s efforts to intimidate student-reporters and prevent student-athletes from talking to the press. The UO Senate called for an investigation back in November, and President Schill commissioned it from the GCO. Jack Pitcher should have a story in the Emerald later today. Meanwhile here’s some history.

Back in 2011, Duck Football spokesperson Dave Williford took to the pages of the NYT to attack a research paper by 3 UO economists that showed a link between Duck football wins and declining grades for UO’s male students. President Lariviere made him apologize. Not clear how Pres Schill will discipline Williford over the Jacoby case.

Then of course there’s Coach Dana Altman’s successful effort to keep his players from talking to reporters after their #BlackLivesMatter protest. The GC’s report doesn’t investigate this. Odd.

Despite what the GC’s report claims, keeping control of the athlete’s ability to speak freely has been “a long-standing policy” for the athletic department for years. Below is a repost from 2012, back when the Senate was debating Randy Geller’s random drug testing policy for athletes. (Sorry the links are broken now, try the wayback machine.)

The GC’s office doesn’t seem to have obtained any emails or documents from the athletic department regarding those incidents that they do investigate – they simply rely on interviews (and one snippet from a Williford powerpoint). That’s a rather surprising lack of due diligence, given how eager the GC was to use the public records law to get copies of my emails with reporters about academic freedom.

That said, the GC’s report does make some helpful if milquetoast recommendations for improvements in the athletic department’s policies. It’s hard to believe they will be enforced however, given the GC report’s failure to hold the athletic department accountable for their efforts to intimidate Jacoby and other reporters – or even accurately describe the athletic department’s actual policies and practices.

10/9/2012 Teach your children well:

Posted yesterday on the UO athletic department’s website:

There is misinformation about the University of Oregon Athletic Department’s interview policy for student-athletes, coaches and administrators. To provide clarity to this long-standing policy, all interview requests are to be arranged through the Athletic Communications office.

The practice, which is the same at all Pac-12 member institutions, is in place to help manage the interview process for individuals. Student-athletes face the unique challenge of balancing extremely busy schedules involving class, studying, practice, training room and competition. Student-athlete welfare is paramount, and that includes eliminating potentially intrusive situations.

If contacted by a media member unaware of the policy or in blatant disregard for the policy, student-athletes and athletic department personnel are instructed to contact the Athletic Communications office to properly schedule the interview. In no way does the policy require student-athletes or department personnel to refrain from sharing their views or opinions on a topic.

It’s all about protecting the athletes from excessive talking. Orwell would love that last sentence – it doesn’t require they keep quiet, it just makes it real clear that the AD will know what they say and that there may be consequences. I’d interview some “student-athletes” what they think of having big brother Craig Pintens looking over their shoulder, but … .

From what I can tell Rob Mullens and his crew felt the need to re-iterate this policy after the recent public meeting on random duck drug testing, where the lone athlete present refused to speak with Register Guard reporter Diane Dietz:

University of Oregon tennis player Lena Macomson listened intently Wednesday at a sparsely attended public hearing on the university’s new policy to require drug tests on a random basis from student athletes.

And though she appeared to be the only athlete in the room — and so the only one potentially subject to the proposed requirement to give a urine sample — she didn’t take the floor to testify as to how she felt about the matter.

Macomson said afterward that she could not speak to a reporter without first getting the permission of Andy McNamara, assistant athletic director for media relations.

Dietz got one player to speak later on the phone, obviously he caught hell for it. I wonder who tells Craig and Andy what they can say to whom?

Altman to lose NCAA tournament to Creighton in round 2, on academics

3/10/2017 update: InsideHigherEd has the bracket here:

A reminder that not all coaches exploit their players as much as the Ducks. This tongue-in-cheek bracket is based on the teams “Academic Progress Rate”, an easily scammed measure designed by the NCAA to make big-time college sports took good, and help their coaches get bigger bonuses. More on it here.

3/10/2017: Can Mike Schill and Andy Karduna’s new IAAC help UO’s student-athletes?

Kenny Jacoby had a long piece in the Emerald yesterday on the history of the IAC, PAGIA, and IAAC. The story starts with this:

Connor Johnson, a former longsnapper on the Oregon football team, said it’s a “bummer” how many athletes have to make decisions they don’t want to make due to conflicts with sports.

Almost all the time, he said — whether it’s being unable to enroll in certain majors or take classes that conflict with their practice schedules — athletes are asked to put sports above their education.

“It would be really nice to have the academic people looking out for the athletes so that they’re actually getting a decent education and what they were promised out of high school,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he would be in favor of some faculty oversight when it comes to how the athletic department spends its $120 million budget. Because all the athletic department’s decisions, he said, boil down to money.

It was the Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee’s attempt in the fall of 2013 to investigate similar complaints from student-athletes about UO’s Services for Student Athletes – including claims that revenue-sport minority athletes were particularly poorly treated – that was the immediate cause of former UO President Gottfredson’s decision to allow the athletic department and SSA Director Steve Stolp to stop coming to IAC meetings, and then to replace the IAC with the secret PAGIA – although the athletic department had been unhappy with the IAC for years.

I went to the first meeting of the new IAAC last week. AD Rob Mullens and SSA Director Steve Stolp gave the same canned presentations that they used to present to the IAC. I still remember the first time I heard Mullens brag about how graduation rates for UO student athletes were the same as for non-athletes at an IAC meeting. It’s well known that students in the non-revenue sports – particularly women in sports like tennis and soccer – have excellent graduation rates. The problem is the revenue sport athletes, who are pushed by their coaches to train more and study less. So I asked Mullens if he would break those graduation rates out by race, or gender, or for the revenue sports.

He wouldn’t, and he got mad when I pressed him on it. (I eventually got the numbers from Roger Thompson’s office, and now they are supposed to be posted on-line.) So we’ll see if Karduna’s IAAC is any more successful at dealing with the big-money people from the Duck athletics enterprise than the IAC was. It’s not off to a good start.

UO claims the Duck coach who put 3 students in hospital is “faculty”

More national publicity for UO, from CBS Sports:

The unregulated world of strength coaches and college football’s killing season

When three Oregon football players were hospitalized in January following a strenuous workout, they were being led by a strength coach certified from a track and field coaches association.

For a $245 fee, the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) offers a 21-hour strength training course to become a certified NCAA strength coach in any sport. By comparison, the widely-used Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA) requires 30 times as much training — a 640-hour certification process.

According to the NCAA, that track certification was all that was needed by Oregon football strength coach Irele Oderinde, who was suspended for one month due to the January workout.

… Oregon declined to provide a copy of Oderinde’s resume to CBS Sports since it is part of his faculty record. Oregon said faculty records cannot be released without an employee’s written permission, and Oderinde did not grant permission.

You can’t make this shit up.

Youtube: Chicago Prof Geoffrey Stone lectures UO Law School on free speech

Is free speech on campus dying?

If so, it’s still kicking. Friday’s engaging talk by Geoffrey Stone from Chicago Law laid out and put to rest the arguments against free speech and academic freedom one by one, then finished them off with his responses to audience questions about the increasing use of hate speech by conservatives, and safe spaces for our increasingly diverse students.

Free Speech on Campus: A Challenge for Our Times

Friday, February 17 at 4:00pm Continue reading

Econ grad gives UO $5M for PhD students

Around the O has the excellent news here:

“This terrific support from Steve Raymund, one of our most innovative and successful alumni, will have an immediate effect,” said Michael H. Schill, UO president and professor of law. “We are inspired by his confidence in our mission and grateful for his personal involvement in realizing our vision for the university.”  Raymund, a 1978 economics graduate, will become UO Foundation chair this fall. “I want to help boost the university’s overall excellence,” Raymund said. “More than ever, the university is in charge of its own fate. When you believe in the management, you want to fund their vision.”  Over time, the gift will provide $4.5 million to support doctoral students in every academic department. Schill said the entering class of 11 Raymund Fellows arrive this fall.  “Steve is answering a critical need with this gift, because a strong Ph.D. program is one of the key components to being a research university,” Schill said. “We compete head-to-head for these students with our AAU peers like Berkeley and Chicago. We’re increasing the size of our faculty, and we will need to bring on great doctoral students for each professor that we hire.”

Elsevier buys Academic Analytics competitor


10/27/2016: Provost drops $100K subscription to faulty Academic Analytics faculty data

This is great news. The $100K that Provost Coltrane just saved will allow UO to hire a tenure track humanities professor.

Oh wait, sorry. This comes from the Provost of Georgetown University, Robert Groves. Read his full blog post (yes, their provost has real blog, with comments) here:

With the rise of the Internet and digital records of publications, comparisons of quality of universities are increasingly utilizing statistics based on this documentation (e.g., the Times Higher Education university rankings). Many academic fields themselves are comparing the product of scholars by using counts of citations to work (through h-indexes and other statistics). Journals are routinely compared on their impact partially through such citation evidence. Some academic fields have rated their journals into tiers of “quality” based on these numbers. Platforms like Google Scholar and ResearchGate are building repositories of documentation of the work of scholars. …

In short, the quality of AA coverage of the scholarly products of those faculty studied are far from perfect. Even with perfect coverage, the data have differential value across fields that vary in book versus article production and in their cultural supports for citations of others’ work. With inadequate coverage, it seems best for us to seek other ways of comparing Georgetown to other universities. For that reason, we will be dropping our subscription to Academic Analytics.

12/11/2015: Faculty object to use of secret Academic Analytics data in tenure decisions

This is at Rutgers, InsideHigherEd has the report by Colleen Flaherty here. UO has had a contract with AA for several years, at about $100K.

The data available includes reports on individual faculty, such as this, from their website:

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 12.47.16 PM

Obviously more information is good, but the administration holds these reports pretty tight to the vest – even the departmental level ones. Maybe our Senate will need to look into how these data are being used.

IT staff pushes back on BOT’s reorg proposal

The Emerald has the story here. Views differ:

Greg Bryant, who works in IT, felt that an internal discussion, instead of hiring investigators, would have worked just as well.

“These [IT workers] are people who have been here for decades. They’ve solved problems all the time, and they have all kinds of suggestions about how things could be better done, but they weren’t asked that,” Bryant said.

Patrick Chinn, a member of the Transform IT Advisory Board, believes that the reorganization helps the IT staff and students. He said it aims to optimize the IT  department and to improve the students’ experiences on campus.

UO deadwood Alert!

You know who you are, but chill, this post is about firewood. Good news – I’ve looked through the policy library, and there’s nothing preventing UO faculty, staff, or administrators from bringing in a chainsaw and helping themselves to a few of the hundreds of cords of firewood now lying on the ground around campus:

There was a tree policy, but the link’s broken so we’ll just ignore it.It’s possible that the Recycling Policy may even require everyone to take home at least a rick. Unfortunately students are banned from using motorized skateboards to skid out the oak:

RG Op-Ed: UO is right to insist upon cultural competency

I’ve just posted the beginning and end. Read it all here:

UO is right to insist upon cultural competency

Get over it!” “It’s no big deal!” “You’re too sens­itive!” “There are people with real problems in the world!” “Let it go and move on with your life!”

As an African-American woman who grew up in the segregated South and has spent the past 30-plus years in liberal Eugene, I’ve heard these messages all of my life — and they are now being played in stereo in letters to the editor regarding the recent blackface incident at the University of Oregon.

Well, let me add my two cents’ worth.

1) There are people at the UO experiencing a great deal of pain because of this incident. Understand that pain is not felt on a sliding scale. Only the person experiencing pain, embarrassment and disappointment can determine how much it hurt. Their pain needs to be respected.

2) The fact that life-threatening events are occurring in the world does nothing to alleviate the inappropriateness of a professor with more than 30 years of experience at a respected institution being unaware of the historical use of blackface, yet trying to stimulate a conversation on racial biases..

… 5) The fact that no one told her that her costume was insensitive during the party is understandable. It is common for people to be so shocked by insensitive behavior that they become momentarily speechless, especially if they have not had sufficient experience with confronting such egregious behavior and wish to avoid making a scene or offending a host.

… 7) I feel hope when I hear that some of the professor’s guests were able to recognize that the costume was inappropriate and had the will to speak up, and that university administrators heard them. This is the behavior of allies in the fight for racial justice. They should be applauded, not harangued.

8) I am hopeful that the university will use this as an indication that there are probably others who would benefit from diversity training. There are many people in liberal Eugene who cannot see the need for a well-meaning person who “loves everyone the same” to attend such training, but perhaps the professor would not be in this most undesirable position now if she had understood that good intentions don’t always work so well without knowledge and training.

Perhaps it is time for the professor and those rallying to her cause to “get over it,” understand that she harmed the institution that employs her, accept the consequences of her actions, realize that there are greater problems in the world and move on with life.

Martha Moultry of Eugene is a retired teacher and principal who has worked in the United States, Asia and Africa.

Good job market for Econ PhD’s

From InsideHigherEd:

Jobs for economics Ph.D.s — whether they wish to work in or outside academe — are plentiful, according to new data from the American Economic Association.

At the end of 2016, the association had recorded 3,673 listings for positions for Ph.D.s in the calendar year. That’s up 11.2 percent from 2015. The association gathers Jan. 6 for its annual meeting (this year in conjunction with other social science groups), a key point in the interview process for many faculty searches. Similar meetings of humanities groups in coming weeks are not expected to see similarly healthy job markets.

The AEA’s listings do not include every job (faculty or otherwise) for economics Ph.D.s. But association studies of their job listings are generally considered reliable measures of the state of disciplinary job markets.

One key measure of the health of a disciplinary job market is how job listings compared to the number of new Ph.D.s awarded — and the numbers are quite favorable to economics Ph.D.s. The most recent Survey of Earned Doctorates — covering Ph.D.s awarded in 2015 — found that 1,256 doctorates in economics were awarded that year, roughly a third of the open positions this year. …