Rob Mullens negotiates porkalicious deal with Nike for Duck athletics cash

12/7/2017: All the cash and apparel goes to the Duck Athletic department, except for a cut of the royalties for the academic side. Academic Departments will have to contract with Nike if they want to sell t-shirts. More details in the Register Guard here:

Stanton said that the additional money from the deal would be used to keep up with department’s growing expenses “including the rising cost of scholarships and student-athlete support,” rather than being spent on new initiatives, facilities, or staff.

Really? Because I heard Mullens was planning to give the money to Willie Taggart. And last time I looked the Ducks were telling Duck Athletic Fund donors that it was their donations that paid for scholarships and student-athlete support. And you wouldn’t want to misinform the donors – there’s a state law about that, as Jamie Moffitt knows.

My apologies to GC Reed for blaming him for this deal in my first post below.

11/30/2017: GC Kevin Reed negotiates a vastly improved apparel deal with Nike

The details are still under negotiation, but the basics are on the UO Board website here (pdf p56):

I wonder how much of the $3M bonus and annual payments will go to the academic side?

In comparison the old deal was a giveaway – though the administration did get themselves some free sneakers out of it:

From Matthew Kish in the Portland Business Journal:

Here’s a breakdown of Nike’s [athletic apparel] deal with each university in the playoffs. The terms cover the 2014-15 academic year [reordered in descending order of cash payment]:

– Ohio State: $2.5 million in equipment and apparel and nearly $1.5 million in cash. The university also gets $150,000 in discretionary apparel, typically for athletic department personnel.

– Florida State: $3 million in equipment and apparel and $1.4 million in cash.

– Alabama: $2.8 million in equipment and apparel, $780,000 in cash.

– Oregon: $2.2 million in equipment and apparel and $600,000 in cash. The university also gets $185,000 in discretionary apparel, typically for athletic department personnel.

But hey, we’re #1 in “discretionary apparel”!

From what I can tell from Dave Hubin’s redacted public records, $30K of that goes to our colleagues in Johnson Hall, presumably including some who signed off on the contract. So they’ll be looking good on their Jan 1 Rose Bowl junkets.

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Pres Schill to throw more money at Duck coach Willie Taggart?

That’s the rumor from Sports Illustrated, here. Presumably the porkalicious deal will have to be approved by the Board of Trustees, although last year Schill gave AD Rob Mullens millions more without going to the board, and managed to keep it secret for  8 months.

At this rate there’s not going to be any money left over to reduce the subsidies the Ducks get from regular UO students’ tuition, much less pay the student-athletes. Oh, right, this is the NCAA. Never mind.

Meanwhile, we’re still stuck paying Matt Helrich $3M+ a year. Or was it Mike? Marty? Whatever. Here are the memories from the February 2015 meeting where the Trustees voted unanimously to commit UO to that. He was fired less than a year later – but his money pours on:

In February the UO Board of Trustees gave big raises to Duck AD Rob Mullens and football coach Mark Helfrich, after a second place finish in last year’s championship. Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms kept the purpose of the meeting secret until the last minute, and even left the contracts off the docket of meeting materials. The board approved them with no discussion after then Interim President Scott Coltrane enthusiastically endorsed the raises:

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The contracts were made public later, and along with many perks and bonuses the Trustees basically doubled Helfrich’s base salary, which had been a mere $1.8M:

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Daily Emerald explains ~$5M in Duck subsidies to new UO students

ODE reporter Kenny Jacoby is back from a summer internship at NBC TV in San Diego, and he’s wasting no time getting to work. Today the Emerald has the most comprehensive accounting I’ve seen yet of the ~$5M a year in subsidies that UO’s academic side pays to Rob Mullens and the Ducks:

It’s the beginning of another school year, which means another round of tuition hikes for UO students. The damage this year is a 6.6 percent increase for in-state students (about $810 per year) and a 3 percent increase for out-of-state (about $945). It was nearly 10.6 percent for in-state students, but a last-minute influx of state support helped mitigate the increase. Tuition has gone up for the fourth straight year and roughly doubled in the past decade.

The Oregon athletic department, meanwhile, continues to thrive. According to its projected 2018 budget, it expects to make $113 million in revenue, up from $110 million last year and $40 million a decade ago. Each year, however, it spends every dollar it brings in. It recently paid to buy former football coach Mark Helfrich and his coaching staff out of their contracts and hire Willie Taggart and 12 new assistant and strength coaches.

Of the $113 million in revenue in 2018, about $5 million will come directly out of UO students’ pockets. Students, through tuition and fees, foot the bill for tutoring and advising services for student-athletes, President Michael Schill’s luxury seats at Autzen Stadium and Matthew Knight Arena, student tickets to football and basketball games and debt service on the basketball arena and parking garage.

Over the summer, the Emerald asked Schill whether he would consider pulling any money from the athletic department budget to mitigate a tuition increase for students. The answer was a resounding no. He said athletics is going through its own budget issues, and that he is “comfortable” with the the current level of subsidy.

Some big ticket subsidies from Jacoby’s story:

Jaqua Academic Center – $2 million

UO students pay roughly $2 million per year on tutoring and advising services available exclusively to UO’s approximately 450 student-athletes, financial transparency reports show. By comparison, UO spends about the same amount each year on the Teaching and Learning Center in the fourth of the library or basement of PLC, which offers free group tutoring services and paid one-on-one sessions to 20,000 undergraduates.

Matthew Knight Arena – $502,000

The most expensive on-campus basketball arena in the U.S. costs UO students roughly $502,000 a year in debt service, plus the cost of using the arena for school events. A decade ago, when Knight pledged $100 million to build the $227 million arena, the athletic department scrambled to find funds to buy the land on which to build it, which at the time was owned by a bakery plant. So in 2009, then-athletic director Pat Kilkenny made a deal with then-President Dave Frohnmayer that ultimately left UO students paying roughly a quarter of of the $1.8-million-a-year land debt payment. …

In addition to land debt service, UO students also pay money to use Matthew Knight Arena. Financial records obtained by the Emerald show UO has paid athletics more than $230,000 in the past three years on expenses on 27 school events at Matthew Knight Arena, including rent, audio/video technology, janitors, ushers and changeover (changing the venue from a basketball facility to accommodate different types of events). Using Matthew Knight Arena for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ lecture in February, for example, cost UO nearly $40,000 — not including the $41,000 in donor money it paid to Coates.

Student Tickets – $1.7 million

UO students pay athletics nearly $1.7 million a year in student fees for tickets to UO sporting events.

President Schill’s Luxury Seats – $412,000

As part of the 2009 agreement between Frohnmayer and Kilkenny, UO agreed to pay the athletic department $375,000 a year for use of the presidential suite, 80 club level season tickets, eight reserved season tickets and 11 parking spaces at Autzen Stadium. UO also agreed to pay for 20 men’s basketball season tickets and four garage parking passes at Matthew Knight Arena, which amounted to $32,456 last year. The seats are used “for donor engagement and fundraising activities,” according to athletic department spokesman Craig Pintens.

Parking Garage and Parking Revenue – $625,000

Also part of the 2009 agreement, UO agreed to finance a portion of the debt service on the underground parking garage at Matthew Knight Arena and allow athletics to keep the parking revenue generated during games, as well as outside events managed by athletics, such as concerts. This amounts to $521,000 a year for debt service and between $250,000 and $270,000 in lost revenue — minus roughly $150,000 that the athletic department pays the City of Eugene for parking enforcement — during Matthew Knight Arena events.

Why are UO students’ health fees paying for the Duck’s Team Doctor?

9/20/2017: I don’t know. Here’s his job description, explaining that his duties are split between the Ducks Department of Athletic Medicine, and the University Health Center, followed by his salary report showing all his pay comes from the UHC, which is funded by student health fees:

But at least he’s board certified in Sports Medicine. In fact it was a requirement for the job, although his boss doesn’t have it.

9/7/2017:  Duck Director of Athletic Medicine Greg Skaggs is not board certified in Sports Medicine

The American Medical Association / ABMS website notes:

My Doctor is Board Certified. Is Yours? You want quality care for your family. That’s why choosing a Board Certified doctor is so important.

Board Certification is a voluntary process that goes above and beyond licensing requirements – it’s a commitment to continually expand knowledge in a medical specialty.

Presumably that knowledge would include concussion treatments, rhabdo, exercise during low air quality, and perhaps some CTE on medical ethics and conflicts of interest while working as a team doctor. This 2010 UO job announcement for a University Physician notes:

Graduate of accredited medical school
M.D. or D.O. Licensure by the Oregon Medical Board – (or license eligible)
ABMS-approved board certification in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine or Pediatrics
Successful Completion of Sports Medicine Fellowship
Board Certified or Board Eligible in Sports Medicine

Dr. Skaggs’s Sports Medicine certification lapsed in 2009:

9/2/2017: Duck Physician Greg Skaggs delays Utah game over unhealthy smoke levels Continue reading

Southern Utahns crush Ducks in body-bag game records release

8/25/2017: While the Ducks are so broke they can’t pay for tutoring their student-athletes, they’ve got no problem paying Southern Utah $500K to show up and lose the football season’s opener next weekend. The contract is below.

10/13/2015: It’s not really a fair contest. While for years the UO administration has used its Public Records Office and their $300K budget to delay, redact, and charge excessive fees to frustrate the intent of Oregon’s public records law, the PRO’s at most other universities are in the business of making public records public. Here’s the latest example.

Monday morning I emailed identical public records requests to UO and Southern Utah University, asking for copies of the contract for the football body-bag game scheduled for September 2017:

Date: October 12, 2015 at 10:14:21 AM PDT

To: Lisa Thornton <>

Subject: public records request, football game contract with SUU

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for a copy of the football game contract between SUU and UO, for the game to be played in the fall of 2017.

A sample of the sort of contract I am looking for is here:

I edit a news and opinion blog about the University of Oregon, and I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

I would appreciate it if you could send a pdf copy of this contract to this email address.

Thanks for your assistance

This sort of request typically takes UO a week or two. But SUU responded in less than 24 hours:

From: Jennifer Oberhelman
Date: October 13, 2015 at 9:13:01 AM PDT
Subject: GRAMA Response

Good morning Mr. Harbaugh,

Attached is the contract between Southern Utah University and University of Oregon for a football game set for 9/2/17 in Eugene, OR requested 10/12 in the form of a GRAMA request.

Please contact me if you have any additional questions.

Thank you.
Jennifer Oberhelman
Exec. Asst. for Administration

“We don’t quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing.”

Not bad, though the record is still the 50 minutes it took Georgia State to provide their contract, and Eastern Washington’s General Counsel only took 3 hours.

So Rob Mullens will pay SUU $500K to come to Eugene. Presumably AAD Eric Roedl will get the cash by raising the price he charges ASUO for “free” student tickets  to these body-bag games:

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9/14/2015: Georgia State Panthers whip Oregon Ducks in football public records release

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Athletic Director to pay University $5M for academic scholarships

That would be Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst at the University of Nebraska:

Nebraska Athletics will provide $5 million in scholarships to nonathletes, potentially providing additional aid to hundreds of students each year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

… “We’ve worked very hard and very strategically over the course of the last few years to build upon our great history and tradition and to strengthen our foundation for success — particularly as it relates to our collaborations across the academic spectrum,” Eichorst said. “It’s been an important initiative for me from day one to ground and base everything we do in athletics in academics.”

Here at UO the cash flows in the opposite direction, thanks to Duck Athletic Director Rob Mullens and his ilk.

UO’s non-tenure track faculty to take generous $45K buyout offer

Update: Sorry, there is no such offer for real UO faculty. UO is planning to lay off ~75 non-tenured and pro-tem faculty in RL, AAD, CoE, and the SOJC with no buyout at all.

But things are a little different over in Rob Mullens’ heavily subsidized Duck athletic empire. The Oregonian’s Andrew Greif has the follow-up to the Emerald report that the $175K volleyball coach (or, in the preferred nomenclature of our General Counsel’s office, the volleyball professor) was being fired for cause, here:

… When asked about the letter and the allegations of abusive behavior, senior associate athletic director Craig Pintens said Oregon wouldn’t comment. …

And it now seems that Mullens will pay the coach a few months salary to leave quietly – let’s call it $45K – and will also find alternative work for his assistant/spouse. Emerald reporter Jonathan Hawthorne spikes it:

The [shameless PR flack Craig Pintens press release] added that Moore will work remotely to craft a transition plan to ensure the the program’s success going forward.

Meanwhile, Provost Coltrane’s academic budget is still subsidizing the Jock Box to the tune of $2.4M a year, we’re paying Mullens $500K a year for Frohnmayer’s Mac Court land scam, and don’t get me started on the overhead.

Update: The Oregonian’s Andrew Greif has made a PR request for a list of self-reported NCAA infractions involving volleyball, here. At many schools these are posted on the web, but the Duck athletic department does its best to hide them. Not always successfully. Here’s the 1981 opinion from the Oregon DOJ, written when Dave Frohnmayer was AG, ordering a partial release of the report from some long forgotten 1979 scandal. Very interesting reading which bears on many current issues, including FERPA and the claim that coaches are faculty:

This opinion was very useful back when Gottfredson was President, and UO was trying to hide information about the Willie Lyles scandal.

3/13/2014: Two more UO faculty fired, apparently “for cause.”

The Daily Emerald has the scoop here.  But they’re only UO faculty in the alternative-fact world of our General Counsel’s Office, so that they can hide their personnel records from public records requests. They’re really Duck volleyball coaches.

Athletic Dept to give the academic side $5.8M from new TV contract!

Great news – just as President Gottfredson promised the Senate he’d try and do! This will certainly help reduce the expected tuition increases!

Just kidding, this news is from the University of Wisconsin athletic department. And of course there’s some funny accounting anyway – story here. But still, it’s progress. How did it happen? Well, unlike the Ducks, Bucky actually has *faculty* on the committee that determines the athletic department budget:


AD Mullens buys out Duck basketball coach Don Altman for 12 Gottfredsons

11/29/2016 update: The RG’s Ryan Thornburn has the shocking details here.

Or at least I think it was the basketball coach – he’s about to drop out of the rankings too. But maybe his buyout is next year.

Meanwhile, Mullens, Altman, Helfrich and the other well-paid Athletic Department employees haven’t been giving much to the University’s Charitable Fund Drive for state and community charities:


11/28/2016 update: Matt Helfrich wins excellent $9.4M buyout with lousy 34-44 Civil War loss

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UO students would rather do homework than watch Duck football

10/30/2016: First it was the survey revealing that students cared more about UO’s Urban Farm Program than big-time college sports. Now, according to sports reporter Kenny Jacoby in the Daily Emerald and his report on the brief student turnout for the Arizona State game, the list of things our students prefer to watching the Ducks has grown to include a nap, Halloween, and yes, homework:

Oregon was winning 30-22 when masses of students started heading for the exits. I was curious why they chose this point in the game to leave, with the Ducks on the verge of their first win since Sept. 10. So I went down to the concourse level, stood at the top of the stairs above the South Gate and asked departing students why they were leaving. Here are some of their responses:

“I’m really, really high, and I want to lie down,” the first student said.

“It’s Halloween weekend,” said another.

“We’re tired from last night. We’re trying to nap and recover before going out to tonight. I just turned 21.”

“We’re tired. I have homework to do.”

Which does raise the question of why the ASUO is paying Rob Mullens, Eric Roedl and the Duck sports enterprise $1.7M for “free” tickets. More on that here.

9/15/2015: UO’s urban farm brings in more students than Duck athletics

And, according to the NYT, it’s part of a movement. UO’s Landscape Architecture department is now running two sections, just a few slots left:

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Not bad compared to student attendance at Dana Altman’s basketball games.

2/27/14: UO students say “sorry Ducks, we’re just not that into you.”

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Finance and Facilities Committee — September 8, 10:00AM

Elevator version: Moffitt says the academic budget is sort of OK. Meanwhile Mullens is raking in the dough, and spending it just as quickly on whatever he wants. No talk of the long overdue Athletics Department contributions to UO’s academic mission.

Finance and Facilities Committee — September 8, 2016 10:00 am – September 8, 2016 [Materials] [Livestream]

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Whoops, that’s the OSU Board’s Finance and Administration Committee. Here’s what I could put together for UO’s committee:

Convene – Call to order and roll call – Approval of June 2016 FFC minutes (Action) – Public comment

Lois Yoshishigi, classified staff from the business office. Comments on the Oregon Hall renovation. Her office works with student loan repayment, and will have to move. She is worried that the move will make it more difficult for students to work with them on repayment rescheduling, and that this will discourage students who need help to stay in college.

Chair Ross Kari thanks her for her comments and says they will be considered.

1. Quarterly and Year‐End Finance Report: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration/CFO

This is the one place where UO beats OSU. See page 3 of the UO materials for VPFA Jamie Moffitt’s summary of UO’s financial situation, followed by pages of detailed information.

Moffitt: Students are taking more credits, fund balance is up a little, the well is run-rate-even and should be for this coming year too.

2. Auxiliary Budget Review: Athletics: Rob Mullens, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics; Eric Roedl, Deputy Athletic Director

I’m no internal auditor sworn to follow the IIA’s Red Book & Code of Ethics, but if Rob Mullens’ and Eric Roedl’s “budget review” doesn’t raise some red flags with UO’s Chief Auditor, what will? Starts on page 9:

Moffitt introduces, explains that the committee has mostly talked about the E&G budget, will spend more on “auxiliary units” like the Ducks.

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I’ve lost track of how many years, and how many auditors, UO’s Audit Office has gone through while saying it would someday audit athletics, or at least try “To gain an understanding of the athletics program in order to identify inherent risks ….”:

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Mullens, who got a fat raise from the trustees last year, skims through the finances with a few pie charts. Makes his usual subtle pitch for another Autzen expansion. Are the trustees going to ask him any tough questions? Such as:

  1. Why are you charging the President’s office $500K for the Autzen skybox and basketball tickets?
  2. Why are UOs regular students still subsidizing the $2.5M Jock Box, given all your new revenue?
  3. What’s the new sneaker deal going to look like? Where are you going to spend that money?
  4. Are you ever going to start contributing to UO’s academic mission?

Ann Curry asks Mullens about UO’s ranking in NCAA’s bullshit Academic Progress Rate. Break this out for the revenue athletes. Mullens explains all the help that the Jock Box gives student-athletes to make sure they can stay eligible to play and earn money for him and the coaches.

Ross Kari notes the risks of revenue variation. Mullens admits football season ticket sales have fallen. Kari asks him if he has plans for cost cutting or revenue enhancement.

Lillis: Any progress in refinancing the Arena debt? Moffitt: As you know the deal was structured in a way that makes it very difficult to refinance. We’ve talked with a lot of bankers. We’re stuck with it. [Meaning the academic side is also stuck with the high interest rate on the $500K a year we’re paying for the chunk of land that Matt Court sits on. Thanks for all that, Kilkenny.]

3. Capital Construction & Planning
‐‐Oregon Hall Renovation (Action): Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration/CFO

Moffitt: It’s complicated, we’re trying to handle all the disruption and moves as well as possible. [Striking that the Jocks have everything, while UO’s multi-cultural student services don’t have places for confidential student advising.]

‐‐Pacific Hall Renovation (Action): David Conover, Vice President for Research and Innovation; Bill Cresko, Professor and Associate Vice President for Research

[Cheryl and Allyn Ford have already donated $7M for this. Nice]

Conover: We need more space for more science faculty and labs. We want to renovate, create space for 14 labs, with undergrad, PhDs, post-docs etc.

Cresko: This building was originally science, gradually got taken over by AAA etc. We’re going to convert it back to science. Much cheaper and quicker than new construction, we’re already recruiting faculty for these labs.

4. UO Buildings – Energy Policies and Programs: Michael Harwood, Associate VP for Campus Planning and Facilities Management

Price elasticity remains top threat to Duck Athletics, followed by the NCAA and professors

Here’s a bit from Athletic Department Director Rob Mullen’s July 2012 planning document, full pdf here. Price elasticity is the top threat to Duck Athletics, followed by the NCAA, and Professors Harbaugh and Tublitz:

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RG sports reporter Steve Mims reported on the elasticity threat w.r.s.t. Dana Altman’s basketball team back in March, here:

Oregon lowered ticket prices by more 34 percent this year, including a $500 reduction in the lower half of the 100 level, and added single-game tickets for $10. Oregon also provided free shuttles to games and offered season parking passes for $50 to $100.

Oregon is averaging 6,770 fans this season, which is up from 6,209 last year. The difference is even wider in conference games, with an average of 8,098 following 7,131 last season. (But for today’s Utah conference game announced attendance is only 6,807.)

A 34% cut in the price, and, using the midpoint method, an increase in the Qd of (6770-6209)/((1/2)(6770+6209)) = 8.6%. So the elasticity of demand is about 0.25. You don’t have to have passed microeconomic principles to understand that this price cut is going to reduce ticket revenue below last year’s dismal $2.6M. And rumor has it that AAD Eric Roedl has realized he can’t squeeze ASUO for more student money either.

The Oregonian’s Tyson Alger has a new story here. Duck PR Flack Craig Pintens is now reporting larger attendance numbers – but still not large enough to offset the loss from the lower prices. So this year’s basketball revenue will take another hit:

Oregon’s 2014-15 attendance was the worst in Matthew Knight Arena history and the lowest overall numbers for Oregon since 1992. It was a 20 percent decline from the prior season and well below the arena-high 8,018 fans per game posted in the 2010-11 season, the first year Matthew Knight Arena opened.

In response to an Oregonian/OregonLive article this winter detailing Oregon’s falling attendance, fans outlined reasons they stayed away last season. Parking, availability of games on TV and the fallout from the previous summer’s sexual assault accusations were recurring themes.

Oregon responded to the poor 2014-15 numbers by dropping ticket prices, creating new ticket promotions and generally bettering the fan experience inside the arena.

And the numbers returned to normal — with the help of a terrific on-the-court product put on by the Dana Altman-led team.

It was a nice bounce-back year, Pintens said. But it’s not good enough. Not yet.

“The goal was to fill up Matthew Knight Arena,” he said. “And until we do that, we’re not quite there.”

Fill it up at any price? That’s going to require Dana Altman paying our students to show up and watch him coach. Of course Altman’s got the money – at least until his players figure out how to break the NCAA cartel and get their cut.