Athletic Department Transparency

3/29/2010: Now that President Lariviere has apppointed Lorraine Davis as Interim AD it will be interesting to see if we can get more information from the athletic department’s financial situation. Davis’s own salary is a case in point – she’s been getting paid out of the academic budget, while working in large part for the athletic department. I doubt she’s the only person doing this.

Meanwhile Rachel Bachman of the Oregonian reports on the new Nike contract. Looks like a little new money, but nothing close to what it will take to cover the new expenses. Melinda Grier is hiding some details, apparently just because:

The contract, released to The Oregonian after a request under Oregon’s public-records law, shows the athletic department receiving a cash payment from Nike of $500,000 in 2008-09. Nike also was to provide Oregon teams with $1,950,000 in gear that year, and up to $150,000 in extra gear as requested by athletic-department officials.

The new agreement supersedes a seven-year deal with Nike that ran from 2003-2010, and shows significant increases in each category in 2008-09: up $250,000 in cash, $550,000 in team gear and $50,000 in extra gear.

But the value of the nine final years of the contract isn’t known, as UO officials blacked out the dollar amounts on the contract.

It was not clear Friday why Oregon would release to The Oregonian a full copy of the previous deal, as general counsel Melinda Grier did in Year 4 of the seven-year agreement, and a redacted copy of this one. But in recent years, Oregon has argued that its marketing and endorsement deals with private companies are trade secrets.

 And finally (from a comment, thanks!) there’s this sensible letter in the RG today: 

Bellotti payout answers needed

As a Duck Athletic Fund supporter and alumnus, I am greatly troubled by the $2.3 million payout to Mike Bellotti. In my profession (city-county management) it is a serious breach of ethical conduct to voluntarily leave a managerial position less than two years after acceptance of the job. In addition, the only time that severance payments come into play is if the manager is fired. Also, it is highly irregular to pay any form of severance in the public sector when the individual is moving on to other lucrative employment. Coaches and athletic directors may fall into a different category, but as role models in the state’s flagship public university, they should abide by similar ethical, if not legal, standards of openness and fairness to the public they serve.

I had great respect for Bellotti as a football wizard and public relations master, but we should take into account that he was already the highest paid public official in the state of Oregon’s history. As a beneficiary of the Public Employees Retirement System, taxpayers will already be footing the bill for his unprecedented retirement benefits for the remainder of his life. Shouldn’t those benefits also be made public as part of this golden parachute?

The fact that this agreement was never reduced to writing or made public also raises serious questions that should be investigated by the attorney general’s office. Supporters of the University of Oregon deserve better. I certainly will be looking for better answers before I write my next check to the UO.

Steve Bryant
Albany

Green Power or Education?

3/29/2010: From Bill Graves in the Oregonian:

Oregon leaders expressed frustration and anger Friday after learning that thousands of college students will not get need-based state scholarships because grants awarded this year exceed the state budget by millions of dollars more than expected.

The Oregon Student Assistance Commission reported to the Legislature in February that it had committed $9.7 million above its $57 million budget this year to scholarships known as Oregon Opportunity Grants. This week it reported that overcommitment has swollen by $5 million to $9 million more.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski expressed his exasperation in a stern letter to the commission, which he appoints.

“The belated revelation of another over commitment of this magnitude is disturbing to me,” he wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday. “I am also concerned about its impact on the credibility of the program — with the Legislature, our educational institutions and the public.”

Last year Kulongoski vetoed a bill to cut back on his Green Energy, after it went $165 million over budget. Then of course there’s spending $250,000 on signs for the Pape Beltine. Odd priorities.

Diversity Resources

Suggestions welcome:

AAU/AAAS Handbook on “legally sustainable diversity programs”
http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2010/0507diversity.shtml

With the help of an extensive appendix outlining key legal opinions, the handbook “provides examples of field-tested tools for diversifying faculties and student bodies,” Chubin said during the teleconference.
The tools expand the notion of diversity beyond race or gender, said Keith, by considering factors such as socioeconomic status and a person’s success in working with and fostering participation by people from a broad range of backgrounds.
With this new focus, she said, campus administrators can build diversity by recruiting people “who have either scaled barriers themselves or broken down barriers for others.”

New Union info:

3/26/2010: It’s been a while since we heard much from the OA/Faculty Union folks, but recently they have posted 3 informative pieces on their website. These deal with three of the more controversial issues: merit pay, shared governance, and what will happen if the union includes faculty and OA’s. From the Union website:

Examples of How Merit Pay is Treated in Collective Bargaining Agreements. Many Collective Bargaining Contracts preserve merit pay as was documented in the book Managed Professionals; Unionized Faculty and Restructuring Academic Labor by AAUP General Secretary Gary Rhoades. In this article by Craig Flanery, AAUP Senior Program Officer, examples of how merit pay is treated in several contracts are given. The institutions cited have AAUP or AAUP/AFT as their Collective Bargaining (CB) agents. Flanery also includes language in the contracts about sharing salary information for salary studies. To view the article click here.
Examples of How Shared Governance is Treated in Collective Bargaining Agreements
This article, created by Craig Flanery, AAUP Senior Program Officer, gives several examples of how shared governance is treated in collective bargaining contracts. To view or download the file click here.
This article discusses who is included in the collective bargaining unit at SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Stony Brook, Rutgers University, and the University of Florida.

Good old boys at play

3/24/2010: I’ve always thought Frohnmayer’s golden parachute gig was pretty corrupt. OUS Chancellor Pernsteiner and his lawyer Ryan Hagemann kept the negotiations secret, and when they finally released the contract showing that UO would pay Frohnmayer $245,700 for 35 hours of teaching – per year – it left out many of the other perks he would get, like another $186,000 for “expenses”. More info is here.

But it turns out Frohnmayer and Pernsteiner are amateurs. Greg Bolt of the RG has an amazing story about Bellotti’s $2.3 million parachute:

The UO had no signed agreement with Bellotti on the terms of his employment or departure when he took over the job of athletic director last summer, yet the UO says it will pay the former football coach $2.3 million to fulfill unspecified “commitments” that were never put on paper.
Bellotti negotiated the terms of his employment orally with UO President Richard Lariviere last July, when both of them were beginning their new jobs, a UO spokeswoman said. Those terms are not being made public. Less than nine months later, the two settled on the details of a deal allowing Bellotti to leave for a television job with the multi-million-dollar payout.
Only the resignation agreement was committed to paper. That document states that the UO will pay Bellotti $2.3 million “to fulfill commitments made to Bellotti at the time of his employment as intercollegiate Athletics Director,” but it does not say what those commitments were.
Lariviere was preparing for a trip to Asia and was not available for comment this week. Reached by phone Friday, Bellotti referred questions about the financial terms of his employment agreement back to the university administration.

There are many more strange details in Bolt’s story. And thanks for posting the contract Greg!

You guarantee him 7%? The money will apparently come from Knight’s $100 million donation pledge. When he was selling the legislature on the $200 million arena bond package, Frohnmayer said this money would be used to guarantee the $18 million annual bond repayments that start next year.  Lariviere has some explaining to do. Avoiding Bolt’s questions is pretty chickenshit.

Why doesn’t Knight simply give Bellotti the $2.3 million himself? Taxes. By going through the UO Foundation, the donations are tax deductible to Knight, saving him 35% on Federal and 12% on Oregon taxes. Bellotti will have to pay, but he avoids the 10% federal gift tax. Nice scam.

Will UO have an open search for the AD and BB Coach?

3/23/2010: So far I haven’t seen much on how Oregon House bill 3118 will impact hiring for the new coach and AD. This bill took effect Jan 1, the text is here. The official summary:

WHAT THE MEASURE DOES: Requires public institutions of higher education to interview qualified minority candidates when hiring head coach or athletic director unless institution is unable to identify qualified minority candidate willing to interview for position. Sunsets January 2, 2020.

BACKGROUND: According to the 2006-2007 Racial and Gender Report Card that is published annually by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports based at the University of Central Florida, whites held 90.6 percent, 89.5 percent and 93.4 percent of all National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) head coaching positions for men’s sports in Divisions I, II and III, respectively. In 2008, there were four African-American head coaches out of 119 in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools. On women’s teams, whites held 89.6 percent, 89.9 percent and 92.9 percent of all head coaching positions in Divisions I, II, and III, respectively. The overall percentage of white male and female student-athletes in 2004-2005 was 61.7 percent and 70.1 percent respectively. 

House Bill 3118-B was modeled on the “Rooney Rule” that was adopted by the National Football League (NFL). That rule, named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, specifies that NFL teams must give fair interviews to minority candidates whenever a head-coaching position comes open. 

Actually, George Schroeder in the RG had a good column on this last week:
… But seriously, keep in mind the last three high-profile openings at Oregon were filled by white guys, and essentially without a search. Bellotti moved up to athletic director. Chip Kelly moved up to head football coach. Paul Westhead was hired as women’s basketball coach as a friend of Pat Kilkenny. Each hire was justifiable. Each guy was qualified, and might have been the best fit. But there wasn’t a traditional search, or much chance provided to any other qualified candidates.

I wonder what UO’s VP for Diversity Charles Martinez is going to do about this?

More on coaches

3/23/2010: Ron Bellamy of the RG has a story explaining how UO will soon be paying over $2 million per year to former athletic staff, at the same time they look for a new AD and basketball coach. Presumably the money to cover this is going to come in the form of tax deductible contributions to the UO Foundation. (But apparently this time not from Kilkenny). Meaning taxpayers will pay about 50% of the cost. Maybe these stories will give a little momentum to Senator Grassley’s bill to remove the tax deductions for athletics.

Red Ink for athletics

3/20/2010: Bellotti has now resigned – giving UO 2 weeks notice to find a replacement. He and Kilkenny left the athletic department over budget and with no financial reserves. There will be an easy $20 million per year in new expenses coming on line – arena bonds, new basketball coach, new high salaries for all the assistants, etc. Knight is committed to $20 million per year in donations for the next 5 years, but other donors are apparently not coming through as planned. Good time to split, I guess. And according to Ron Bellamy of the RG, President Lariviere has agreed to pay Bellotti another $2.3 million after he steps down, apparently on the basis of verbal promises made by Frohnmayer and Kilkenny.

Ken Goe of the Oregonian writes:

So, who is running the show? Knight? University President Richard Lariviere? Former interim athletic director Pat Kilkenny, a wealthy, retired insurance executive and still an athletic department adviser? General Counsel Melinda Grier?

Grier seems to have her fingerprints on any number of controversial decisions, including that $2.3 million gift Bellotti will take with him as he walks away. 

3/7/2010: Greg Bolt of the RG has a story on the athletic deficit today. Bolt’s story avoids the logical followup questions. For example, when Bellotti says:

At this point we’re doing OK,” he said. “Are we out of the woods? No, simply because of the economy. And we had some tuition increases, and all those things affect our bottom line.” The athletic department pays the UO the value of scholarships the athletic department awards, so when tuition goes up, that increases the department’s costs.

The logical followup would be “Yes, those economists really screwed you over – not to mention all those people who lost their jobs – with that recession thing.  But tuition costs went up by $820,000, $230,000 of which was covered by a one time increase in what you are given from state lottery funds. Your overall spending, however, is up by $3.2 million. How much did coaches salaries increase? How much will they increase in the current budget? Can I see your current budget? Do you have one?”

Similarly, when OUS Finance VP Jay Kenton says:

“This is not indicative of a problem, and in no way, shape or form is this a major issue,” he said. “It’s kind of a minor timing issue.”

It might be good to remember that Kenton is not going to say he screwed up and let the athletic department break the rules. Contrast Kenton’s statement with what the State Treasurer’s report on the Arena (prepared by Bill McGee of the DAS) says:

“The scenario leaves the Department with a annual cash balance of less than one percent of projected expenditures through 2031, which is low for a department that is expected to be self- sustaining. By comparison, Board of Higher Education policy sets a goal of five to fifteen percent for total institutional cash balances.”

Emphasis added – because actually the balance is now negative 1% before they have started paying any of the arena bonds. The State is saying the athletic department would need to set aside ~$6 million in cash reserves to meet the standard the OUS Board uses.

Bolt’s overall conclusion seems pretty reasonable though – with the $20 million per year in Knight donations, athletics can cover this deficit and its other new costs, but barely. Their plan seems pretty transparent and perfectly normal – spend every penny they can bring in on higher salaries for themselves. They just went a bit too far this year is all. Next year they’ll be replacing Kent. This is going to be just fine, I’m sure. Just like those economists told us about the housing bubble.

None of these stories have reported on whether or not the athletic department has actually been setting aside the $1 per ticket surcharge for Arena repayments that Frohnmayer told the legislature he would institute. Does anyone know about that?

3/4/2010: From Bill Graves at the Oregonian:

Despite winning football seasons in recent years, sports finances for Oregon State University and the University of Oregon both fell in the red by the end of the last fiscal year, according to a report the State Board of Higher Education’s finance committee will review Friday.

Oregon State intercollegiate athletics’ ending balance, what the board calls working capital, was $5.9 million in the hole as of June 30, 2009, and the University of Oregon’s sports programs posted a $642,000 deficit.

State Board policy requires universities to keep their ending balances positive. The board probably will ask administrators from each university to come up with a plan to bring working capital, current assets minus liabilities, into the black. …

The university attributes its negative ending balance last year to the recession and, as with Oregon State, problems collecting on $2.2 million in pledged donations. One factor in the Ducks’ favor in the next budget period — appearing in last season’s lucrative Rose Bowl, which was played on Jan. 1.

Oregon’s athletic department officials did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. But in the report to the State Board of Higher Education university officials wrote, “Due to the weakened economy, the cash for all of the pledges had not been received prior to year end.”

The deficit is old news but there are many odd things here. This report ends in June 2009. At that point UO’s athletic department had increased its spending $5 million compared to the previous year. So some but not all new spending – e.g big raises for the coaches – is in the budget. This $5 million in new spending – not $ 2 million in missing pledges – is the obvious cause of the deficit, not “the weakened economy”. More of a problem, there’s lots of new spending coming that is not in this report: like the Arena bond repayments, at $15 million a year and Kelly’s new contract. There’s some revenue too of course, from the Rose Bowl. Meanwhile, why haven’t Knight’s “Athletic Endowment” funds been tapped? Are they here yet? The AD plan for dealing with this deficit – which will be a public record – might be pretty revealing. Meanwhile some info is available in the OUS Board meeting agenda – see p 93, here, highlights below:

Summary

The UO Athletics working capital, as of June 30, 2009, was a negative $642,000, a decrease of $1.4 million from prior year. The UO Athletics ended FY 2009 with negative working capital and is not in compliance with the Board’s directives relating to deficits. The deficit reflects a cash flow issue. The UO Athletics is addressing this issue and ensures compliance with Board policy. The UO Athletics continues to operate without any direct institutional support.

The UO Athletics departmental debt burden for FY 2009 is 5 percent. Although this ratio is typically used on an institution-wide basis, a higher debt service ratio indicates that an entity has less flexibility to manage the remaining portion of the budget and to fund other strategic initiatives. The UO’s 5 percent debt burden ratio for FY 2009 is lower than the generally accepted threshold of 7 percent for an institution, as a whole. It is noted when the arena project full debt payment begins in FY 2012, the debt burden ratio will be approximately 25 percent.

UO ATHLETICS RESPONSE TO FY 2009 WORKING CAPITAL DEFICIT

As with nearly all sectors of private and public industry, the UO Athletics was negatively affected by the recent and ongoing downturn in the national economy. The Net Operating Loss shown on these financial statements is reflective of that. At June 30, 2009, nearly $2.2 million in pledges made to the Duck Athletic Fund, a component of the UO Foundation, remained outstanding. In prior years, these pledges were realized in a timelier manner and the cash transferred to UO Athletics prior to year-end. Due to the weakened economy, the cash for all of the pledges had not been received prior to year end, but was in-hand at the UO Foundation prior to August 31, 2009, and was transferred to UO Athletics in October 2009. This timing difference related to pledge fulfillment was both unprecedented and unanticipated. It also reflects a misunderstanding between UO and OUS about how pledges to be paid to the UO Foundation could be reflected on the UO Athletics books.

Meet the Pres

3/16/2010: If anyone learns anything interesting from these sessions, please post a comment or send an email to uomatters@gmail.com. I can’t make them. I remember Frohnmayer used to hold these regularly, until the questions got too pointed.

Good morning,

This is a reminder that today President Lariviere is holding two sessions to meet with faculty and staff.  The first is at 10 a.m. in Gerlinger Lounge and the second is at noon in the EMU Fir Room.  There is no formal agenda, this is simply an opportunity to sit down and talk with the president, to ask questions and express your views.  We will schedule a third session after spring break, specifics to be determined.  At any time you can contact the president at pres@uoregon.edu.

Office of the President

Home prices in college towns

3/17/2010:

Eugene housing prices are 140% of the median college town.  The 98th highest out of 117.
UO pays senior faculty 83% of the national median salary.  The lowest of all AAU schools, by a big margin.

One of Lariviere’s first statements to the OUS board after he was hired was that raising UO faculty salaries to the AAU public median was his job number one. It will cost ~ $10 million per year to get us out of last place and another ~$10 million to get us to median.

Since that statement he and Bean have piled on a lot of new administrative hiring, while faculty pay is frozen. Why? Some people think it’s because Brad Shelton’s long-delayed budget model will reduce administrative growth, and they are trying to grandfather in everything they can first.

We hear rumors that a program to raise faculty salaries is now in the works. It would be more credible if we didn’t see the money going out the door for so many new administrators.

From ColdwellBanker:

… an apples-to-apples comparison of similarly sized 2,200 square foot, four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom homes in college markets

TABLE 3
The following is a complete list of all of the 120 schools ranked:












My apologies

3/14/2010: My apologies for all the sports stuff lately. Here’s a little more, on what it takes to win at college football. Looks like it’s mostly a willingness to recruit players who are not going to graduate. From Scout.com:

The graduation rates in The Bootleg’s analysis are the NCAA’s “Graduation Success Rates” (GSRs), which were introduced four years ago. The Graduation Success Rate reflects the percentage of athletes who graduated within six years after starting college. The GSR doesn’t count outgoing transfer students, so long as they were in good academic standing. So, losing players due to transfer generally does not hurt a school’s graduation rate. Incoming transfers are included in the GSR calculation.
The graduation rates in this analysis are “four class” graduation rates – that is, combined graduation rates for the four most recent classes for which information has been reported. The classes covered by this year’s analysis are the classes that would have graduated in the years 2004 through 2007, assuming a five-year track to graduation.

FOOTBALL
Football Graduation Rates: Pac-10
Stanford 89%
Washington 69%
Cal 64%
Washington St. 62%
Arizona St. 58%
USC 58%
Oregon St. 57%
UCLA 51%
Oregon 49%
Arizona 41%
Bottom 10 Football Grad Rates: Division I-A
San Jose St. 33%
Arizona 41%
Oklahoma 45%
Fresno St. 46%
Hawaii 47%
Florida International 47%
San Diego St. 48%
UAB 48%
Texas 49%
Oregon 49%
Georgia Tech 49%
Eastern Michigan 49%

Oregon has joined Arizona, Oklahoma, and Texas in the race for the bottom. As the Ducks’ football fortunes take wing, their graduation rates are flying south.

Grad Rates for African American Football Players: Selected Schools
African American Caucasian Difference
North Carolina St. 43% 94% -51%
Auburn 48% 94% -46%
Arkansas 40% 78% -38%
UCLA 31% 68% -37%
Georgia 48% 83% -35%
Miami 65% 100% -35%
Mississippi 60% 94% -34%
Utah 48% 82% -34%
Texas 37% 69% -32%
Georgia Tech 41% 73% -32%
Oregon 39% 70% -31%
Biggest Difference in Grad Rates Between Football Players and All Students
Major Programs
(Difference of 15% or more)
Football Players All Students Difference
UCLA 51% 89% -38%
Texas 49% 77% -28%
Georgia Tech 49% 77% -28%
USC 58% 85% -27%
Virginia 68% 93% -25%
Cal 64% 88% -24%
Texas A&M 55% 77% -22%
Georgia 57% 76% -19%
Maryland 60% 79% -19%
Michigan St. 56% 74% -18%
Arizona 41% 57% -16%
Oregon 49% 65% -16%
Michigan 71% 87% -16%
Oklahoma 45% 60% -15%
BYU 61% 76% -15%
For an explanation of the calculation of these “graduation rate gaps,”
see the note at the end of the analysis.

UO students think UO has fired the wrong Coach

3/12/2010: The Daily Emerald editors on Bellotti’s decision to fire Kent, and keep Kelly:

Kent is clearly not a loser but one of the most successful men’s basketball coaches to grace McArthur Court, and yet his greatest achievement is found off the court. The basketball team, according to the NCAA, has a non-federal graduation rate above the national average (73 percent compared to 64 percent) and the second-highest rate in the Pac-10.

Compare that to the football team, which has a non-federal graduation rate well below the national average (49 percent compared to 67 percent) and the second-lowest rate in the Pac-10 conference but came in first in wins in the Pac-10.

Meanwhile, the Oregonian is reporting that Bellotti has decided that running the athletic department is not for him, and he is looking around for sportscaster jobs.

The usual

3/11/2010: I’d hope this leads to some housecleaning at the athletic department – but I doubt it. Two stories from the RG website:

LaMichael James to plead guilty to something – presumably something that doesn’t sound as bad as attempted strangulation.

And, quoting:
University of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is being charged with second-degree burglary in connection with an alleged theft from a campus-area fraternity house, according to court records. Masoli and former UO wide receiver Garrett Embry will both be arraigned on the charges Friday afternoon in Lane County Circuit Court, records show.

Looks like KVAL scooped them on that, by quite a bit.

Lariviere talks:

3/10/2010: And as an antidote to the post below, our new President talks to the Washington Post. Not a word about athletics – I am starting to like this guy.

Coffee with U. of Oregon President Lariviere

I had coffee recently with Richard Lariviere, president of the University of Oregon.

One of 60 members of the elite Association of American Universities, UO has one of the nation’s premiere education schools, a cartoon character as its mascot and the glorious — or perhaps dubious — distinction of having loaned its campus to the makers of Animal House.

“My office is Dean Wormer’s office,” Lariviere said.

For the president’s 60th birthday in January, his wife smuggled a life-size fiberglass horse into the office,

“This is actually a really optimistic and hopeful moment for the University of Oregon,” Lariviere said. The university is “hiring aggressively” — How many state universities are doing that? — and working with state government toward a new, more predictable funding model than annual appropriations from the state.

State funding has dipped from $80 million to $67 million in the downturn, and now represents 8 to 9 percent of total university funding, he said.

“We just learned two days ago, three days ago, the amount of funding we will receive for this academic year,” he said, in a meeting last week.

How to make it more predictable? The proposal, if I understood it correctly, is to convert state funding from annual outlays to a bond fund, which “would be managed as if it were an endowment,” with consistent revenue going to the school each year. Attempting this “would probably result in trying to change the constitution of the state of Oregon,” he said.

UO has weathered the recession well because its state funding was small to begin with, Lariviere said. The university’s situation is similar to that of the University of Virginia, whose state support has dwindled from 26 percent to 7 percent of the school’s budget over the past 20 years.

In its state of relative health, the university is “aggressively pursuing” the thousands of students who will not get in to the University of California system this year because of grevious cuts in the neighboring state.

Like Virginia, Oregon has increased tuition to replace lost student funds. Tuition is up 14 percent this year, to $7,428 for residents; students absorbed a $150 midyear increase last year.

“No one is happy about it,” Lariviere said. “We simply sat down with students and showed them why it was necessary.”

Through its Pathway Oregon program, in its second year, the university helps students from low-income families by picking up the difference between a federal Pell Grant and total tuition and fees.

UO relies heavily on nonresident tuition. Nonresidents pay $16,107, and they make up 43 percent of the student population, significantly higher than the nonresident ratio in any Maryland or Virginia school. Local politics dictate that U-Va. and the University of Maryland reserve at least two-thirds of their seats for locals, who don’t like to compete with out-of-state students for admission.

Unlike U-Va. and U-Md., UO is able to admit all qualified applicants, who must bring a 3.0 grade-point average and a competitive SAT score. But in another two years, Lariviere fears the school will run out of space and start turning students away. Then, one supposes, local attitudes about out-of-state and foreign students may shift.

UO accepts ever-larger numbers of students from India and China, as well as California, Washington and Colorado.

“Our prices are still, in terms of international value, a huge value,” he said.

Lariviere, a linguist by training with a doctorate in Sanskrit, came to UO last July. He had been provost at the University of Kansas and, before that, an administrator at the University of Texas in Austin.

I asked him whether he expects to see a decline in the great public flagship schools of California, whose deep budget cuts sparked a statewide student and faculty protest last week.

Yes, he said, but it will be “a longer-term phenomenon.” Berkeley, for example, houses “a dozen or so departments that are as good as you will find anywhere in the world.” Senior faculty aren’t likely to leave those departments because of the economy, Lariviere said. But younger faculty — the future leaders — may take their careers elsewhere.

“If you talk to any young faculty at Berkeley, all you will hear is endless complaints about the quality of life itself,” he said.

The university has hired about 50 new faculty this year, from California, the University of Michigan and other prestigious institutions.

“The department chairs and deans have big grins on their faces,” he said.

 That’s true.