big time athletics enabled "Sandusky to attract potential victims to the campus and football events"

7/12/2012: From the NYT on the Freeh report on Penn State:

“In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the university – Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse,” the report said. Paterno “was an integral part of this active decision to conceal,” Freeh said at a news conference. 

School leaders “empowered Sandusky to attract potential victims to the campus and football events by allowing him to have continued, unrestricted and unsupervised access” to campus and his affiliation with the football program, the report said. The access, the report states, “provided Sandusky with the very currency that enabled him to attract his victims.”

No word yet on whether or not Phil Knight will now stop calling Paterno a hero and rename Nike’s “Joe Paterno Child Development Center”Update: Nike will now rename the child care center.

No word yet on how new UO President Gottfredson will strengthen oversight of the UO athletic department. He could start by replacing Jim O’Fallon, who’s had the job of UO’s NCAA “Faculty Athletics Representative” for 24 years, without a review, and who is no longer faculty. Update: …

7/1/2012: There doesn’t seem to be an end to the corruption that big-time college sports brings to universities. It now looks quite likely that former Penn State president Graham Spanier will be indicted for covering for Sandusky and allowing him to continue his child raping, and that Coach Paterno instigated the coverup. Phil Knight’s eulogy of Paterno, whom he calls a hero, is here. (Given before the latest revelations.)

How can anyone read these stories and not understand that college athletics needs more transparency and oversight, not less? Yet Bob Berdahl spent a fair amount of his time and energy during his short term as interim president trying to drastically weaken faculty oversight of UO’s athletic program. And if you’re a sports reporter, good luck trying to get public documents from the UO athletic department ever since Berdahl gutted UO’s public records process.

Berdahl’s not exactly naive. He knows about corruption in college sports, and he knows the effect of his efforts to intimidate the IAC and to limit access to public records. So why did he do this? Why the secrecy about Duck athletics?

Why Bob Berdahl hates public records access

Not sure why this took me so long to find. The San Francisco Chronicle, 2005:

UC’S PAID LEAVES CALLED ‘BETRAYAL’ – REGENTS’ EDICT IGNORED – 3 top managers were given lucrative furloughs in violation of university policy:

Former UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl received a 13 1/2-month leave at $315,600 a year. … UC granted the leaves despite a policy approved by the university’s governing Board of Regents in 1994 limiting paid administrative leaves for senior managers to a maximum of three months. The regents reaffirmed the limit in September.

“It’s a betrayal,” said former state Sen. Quentin Kopp, who helped push UC to declare an end to the paid leaves in 1994. “You can’t depend on the probity of university leaders.” … Both the state Assembly and Senate have scheduled hearings in the wake of stories in The Chronicle reporting that UC quietly paid hundreds of millions of dollars to employees in bonuses, relocation allowances, administrative stipends and other compensation.

The revelations come at a time when the university has said budget constraints have forced it to boost student fees, cut services, increase class sizes and freeze pay for thousands of lower-paid workers.

Sounds familiar. Another headline on Berdahl from 2006:

Ex-chancellor to leave UC, pocket cash – He won’t need to return salary he was paid during year’s leave:

At the time, UC said all three executives were faculty members who otherwise would have qualified for yearlong academic sabbaticals to do research in their fields of expertise. But because of their administrative service, UC said it decided instead to grant them “administrative leaves in lieu of sabbaticals” at their full executive salaries. Berdahl, for instance, received his chancellor’s salary of $315,600 a year, instead of his faculty salary of $130,900, while on leave. 

Sounds remarkably similar to the sabbatical deal Pernsteiner gave Frohnmayer, or what Lariviere gave Bean.

In reaction to these and other similar scandals the CA legislature appointed a “Task Force on UC Compensation, Accountability, and Transparency”. Their report here calls for an end to these sweetheart deals for administrators, controls on income from corporate boards, and for improved transparency and public records access. UC-Irvine seems to have implemented a pretty reasonable process to do this – and UO had one, until Berdahl took it away. 6/12/2012.

Bad market for research PhD’s

7/9/2012: From the WaPo:

Traditional academic jobs are scarcer than ever. Once a primary career path, only 14 percent of those with a PhD in biology and the life sciences now land a coveted academic position within five years, according to a 2009 NSF survey. That figure has been steadily declining since the 1970s, said Paula Stephan, an economist at Georgia State University who studies the scientific workforce. The reason: The supply of scientists has grown far faster than the number of academic positions.

Aide to Pres fired for messing with faculty governance


The University of Illinois announced Tuesday that it will pay $175,000 to Lisa Troyer to give up her tenured position in the psychology department at the Urbana-Champaign campus. A brief statement said that the university “has not initiated, and will not initiate, any disciplinary process.” Troyer moved to the faculty position after quitting as chief of staff to Michael Hogan, who had a brief and controversial tenure as president of the university system. Faculty members believed that she was sending anonymous messages to faculty discussion groups, urging professors to take positions backing Hogan. … 7/5/2012.

Cost of football wins outweighs benefits

That’s the conclusion from a new paper by economist Michael Anderson from Berkeley, that uses Vegas odds to control for endogeneity:

According to the report, if a college improves its season wins by 5 games, it can expect alumni athletic donations to increase by $682,000 (28 percent), applications to increase by 677 (5 percent), in-state enrollment to increase by 76 students (3 percent) and incoming students’ 25th-percentile SAT scores to increase by nine points (1 percent). But Anderson said these positive effects would not recoup however much money a college invested in its athletics program.

Insidehighereded writeup here, paper here (must be on campus). This is one of few papers to find any positive impacts from big-time sports, even small and expensive ones. The downside includes drinking and bad grades and brain-damage and loss of institutional control. 7/3/2012:

College for whom?

6/18/2012: Robert Samuelson had a recent column, “‘College for all’ mindset compounds problem“, arguing that the US probably has enough college graduates, or close to it. But are the right students going to college? High math ability students from low income families have less than half the chance of attending and completing college as do high math ability students from high income families. High ability/low income students have a 29% chance of completing college – a bit below the 30% rate for low ability/high income students.

President Nixon’s great achievements

6/17/2012: If I was an economist I could give a whole lecture – hell, a whole course – on Nixon’s great achievements:

  1. Replaced the random enslavement of the draft with a paid, professional military.
  2. Established the EPA
  3. Got us off the gold standard
  4. Created the Earned Income Tax Credit
  5. Signed Title IX: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

The NYT has an interesting article on Title IX and sports:

“There’s a whole host of African-American women who have benefited greatly from Title IX. We’ve gotten college scholarships and college degrees; we’ve made Olympic teams. Track and field is an area where a large number of African-American women receive college scholarships.

“But in the grand scheme of things, Caucasian girls have benefited disproportionately well, especially suburban girls and wealthy Caucasian girls.”

According to a 2007 report by the United States Department of Education, among high school sophomores, white girls had a 51 percent participation rate in sports, compared with 40 percent for black girls. The percentages were lower for Asian/Pacific Islanders (34 percent) and Hispanics (32 percent).

The lack of access to sports at youth levels becomes manifest at the intercollegiate level, where African-American women are underrepresented in all but two sports: Division I basketball, where black women represent 50.6 percent of athletes, and indoor and outdoor track and field, where they represent 28.2 and 27.5 percent. They are all but missing in lacrosse (2.2 percent), swimming (2.0), soccer (5.3) and softball (8.2). They are an underrepresented rising presence in volleyball (11.6).

An unexpected consequence of Title IX is that since the legislation was passed in 1972, the percentage of female head coaches has decreased and the percentage of men coaching women’s teams has increased, especially in basketball and soccer. According to studies by Linda Jean Carpenter and R. Vivian Acosta, the percentage of women coaching women’s teams at the intercollegiate level fell to 44 percent in 2010 from 90 percent in 1972. But even here, African-American women have lost ground.

ESPN had a recent article on Jody Runge, former UO basketball coach, now unable to get a job. The current UO coach is Paul Westhead. His contract – an order of magnitude or so more lucrative than hers, and signed by Frohmayer and Kilkenny, is here.

Too many research universities?

6/15/2012: From the Chronicle:

A Missed Opportunity?

In his original proposal for the study, back in 2009, the then-president of the Association of American Universities, Robert M. Berdahl, said he’d like an evaluation of whether the country might simply have too many universities competing for its federal research dollars. …

With universities themselves divided on such programs, Mr. Berdahl’s successor at the AAU, Hunter R. Rawlings, who served on the panel before taking the AAU post, said he didn’t want to touch the subject of potentially limiting the number of research universities.

It may have been a missed opportunity, said William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland. “There might have been an opportunity there to address that very point more explicitly,” Mr. Kirwan said, “and I think that would have strengthened the report.”