Fracture on UO campus hurts all over

Oregonian sports columnist John Canzano has the story here:

Oregon will tell you that it regularly conducts its own education and training sessions for athletes. One of them, it was recently revealed, included a presentation to Ducks football players by an athletic department staffer on how Russian prostitutes working for motorcycle gangs might target them.

So that scenario is covered. Now, maybe let’s get real. Maybe bring a local woman who was assaulted 16 years ago in front of the college football players and lets get busy changing attitudes and putting a real face on horrible crime.

Canzano covers it all. The explosion in the Duck budget, and the irritation of the state legislature. Gottfredson’s attempt to replace the Senate IAC with a more complacent PAGIA, chaired by advertising professor Kim Sheehan. The IAC bringing survivor Brenda Tracy to campus (video here) and none of the athletic department employees coming to hear her. Coltrane paying PR flack Anna Richter-Taylor $299K to “hold his hand” about PR disaster he inherited from Gottfredson and Geller, and the countersuit against Jane Doe. And more. Read it all.

And watch the Brenda Tracy video. She is the survivor of a sexual assault by two Oregon State football players and two others, 16 years ago. She went public after newspapers broke the story of the alleged UO basketball player gang rape of Jane Doe. John Canzano published Ms Tracy’s horrible and courageous story in the Oregonian, here, Kurt Krueger, the chair of the UO Senate’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, invited her to speak at UO. Here is her story, which must be heard:

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Contrast it with Duck basketball coach Dana Altman’s evasive news conference from last year, here:

Journalism students expose athletics subsidies for investigative reporting class

The UO administration and foundation do a much better job of hiding their jock subsidies than UC does. The story in the Cincinatti CityBeat is here:

Robin Hood in Reverse

How universities force working-class students to pay thousands of dollars in hidden fees to athletic departments awash in red ink:

This story was written and reported by an investigative reporting class at the University of Cincinnati. Reporting by Morgan Batanian, Katie Coburn, Fernanda Crescente, Taylor Jackson, Tyler Kuhnash and Camri Nelson. Research contributed by Taylor Hayden, Talis Linauts, Kayleigh Murch, Matt Nichols, Malia Pitts and Lauren Smith.

Kevin Leugers pays the University of Cincinnati to provide him with a quality education.

The second-year student majoring in marketing and philosophy had no idea officials had quietly funneled tens of millions of dollars from students to the athletic department in recent years to cover the difference between revenue and expenses.

“It seems to be a corruption of education, in all honesty,” says Leugers, a University Honors Program student and Kolodzik Business Scholar. “Athletics is being given priority over education, over the professors, over the students. I just think that’s wrong.”

… [Board of Trustees Chair Thomas Hum] says sports are “a good investment for the university as a whole” and that the board decided every dollar given to the athletic department was money well spent.

“There has been a decision that whatever that investment number is that it is a positive investment for the university,” he says. “I don’t view it as a concern.”

The investment certainly brought a high return in 2014 to some UC coaches, particularly compared to the university’s 334 student-athletes. The university provided the students with $5.99 million in scholarship aid, less than 11 percent of the $55.4 million in athletic expenditures, according to UC’s NCAA report.

That same year, UC paid a dozen coaches on the football and men’s basketball teams more than $10.5 million, 19 percent of total spending. At the top was Tommy Tuberville, UC’s head football coach, who received $3.8 million.

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Tough financial situation means cuts to Athletic Department

At the University of Wisconsin, that is. From Chancellor Rebecca Blank, the economist who beat out Michael Schill for the UW job – in a public search:

As mentioned, we are directing our schools, colleges and units, including our Athletic Department, to make greater financial contributions back to our central campus. The tuition increases I mentioned earlier will allow us to support the freeze on in-state student tuition and maintain the quality of our programs. We will continue to pursue ways to operate even more efficiently.

While our true uncommitted reserves equal only $54 million today, we are in the process of estimating our fund balance as we close this fiscal year. We intend to delay some number of projects and utilize a portion of those fund balances to help bridge the gap with the expected budget shortfall.

Here at UO Interim President Coltrane has told the UO Senate to stop talking about athletic finances, or else he’s going to do his best to stack the Senate with more complacent faculty and staff:

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As UO students and Senate put pressure on bloated Duck budget, coaches finally start raising money for academic scholarships

The Senate legislation is for ~$3M recurring. The coach’s charitable drive is for $500K, one-time.

A cynic might think this announcement is a reaction to the UO Senate’s recent legislation to require the Ducks to make payments from their bloated budget to support the academic side, or to the Change.org petition by UO students, protesting AAD Eric Roedl’s cuts to student ticket allotments. Helfrich just got a $17.5M raise, and is pledging $250K of that to the scholarship drive:

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A modest proposal to raise $7.5M for faculty pay and hiring by small athletic cuts

The Athletics Department is expecting $98,350,368 in total revenue this year, mostly for football and a little from basketball. The money is then distributed among the many money losing sports, shown in red in the table below, so as to make sure there is no surplus for the academic side. (These data are from the athletic department at http://www.goducks.com/fls/500/pages/athlfin/FY15Budget.pdf)

Notre Dame’s athletic program is slightly larger than UO’s and it give an estimated $12M to $20M back to academics. What would it take to do something similar at UO? The secret is to keep football profitable, make sure mens and women’s basketball doesn’t lose any more than they already do. and don’t touch track and field for historic reasons.

Give these constraints, we could either drop a few money losing other sports, or cut back on their expenses. Cutting expenses seems simple. As you can see a modest 30% cut in costs for the money losing sports (leaving M&W basketball as well as football and track untouched).would generate $7.5M in recurring money for the academic side. I assume that the expense cuts would also cut revenue.

This would take these 10 small athletics programs back roughly to where they were in 2005, and generate $7.5M for UO academics.

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University Panel recommends dropping 8 sports

11/15/2011: From the Washington Post. The president of the University of Maryland established the panel to take control of the athletic department’s budget. The problems at UO seem similar: massive overspending on salaries, chronic deficit, depletion of the reserve funds. Dropping Duck sports – baseball is the obvious candidate – would be very unpopular with UO Athletic Department Director Rob Mullens. His pay is tied to UO’s performance in the “Director’s Cup“, a bogus competition set up by the NCAA to encourage colleges to field lots of teams. Next time we hire an ADD, we need to make sure we write a contract tied to balancing the AD budget!

Harbaugh, Kent, Oriard and Wright: Are big-time college sports worth it?

Video now up: Of course they are – but for whom?

I made a pitch for the 3% tax, and talked a little bit about things like FHS 199. It was a good discussion, with some very interesting questions from the Portland City Club members:

I’ll be on a panel at the Portland City Club tomorrow, discussing this with Jordan Kent and Michael Oriard, moderated by Ryan White. Hank Stern of GoLocalPDX has a post up:

And give City Club credit for what promises to be an intriguing panel of former Ducks football and basketball player Jordan Kent, now an analyst at Comcast Sportsnet NW; University of Oregon economics professor Bill Harbaugh of the watchdog UO Matters blog; and retired Oregon State University professor of American literature and culture Michael Oriard, who played football at Notre Dame and in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs.

RegisterGuard on UO Senate efforts to get Duck money for academics:

“Give it to the students: If UO has athletic surplus, approve a fee rebate”

3/12/2015, in the RG, here:

The financial divergence between the University of Ore­gon’s athletic department and the rest of the institution is galling to those on the wrong side of the gap, leading to demands that the sports enterprise share its wealth. The latest demand comes in the form of a vote by the University Senate in favor of diverting 3 percent of the athletic budget, or about $3 million a year, to academic programs. But if there’s extra money piling up in the athletic department’s till, students should be first in line to get it. …

3/7/2015 update: UO Senate legislation requires Ducks pay $500K to academics next year

3/6/2015: The students have already voted to freeze the amount they give the athletic department for tickets. Now the entire UO Senate has voted to require that athletic department start paying a dividend to the academic side.

Diane Dietz has the report in the RG. Read it all, here:

The University Senate — amid the three-day Board of Trustees meeting — voted unanimously to require the university to eventually collect 3 percent of the athletic department’s roughly $100 million annual budget, or roughly $3 million, for general education purposes. The education tax would be phased in ­gradually over five years.

… But the athletic department’s budget is an ongoing tender spot for many faculty members, who see their programs as suffering by comparison. One example they point to is the Jaqua Center.

The university spends $4,000 per student-athlete for tutoring services there, according to economics professor Bill Harbaugh, who sponsored the University Senate legislation. But the university has only $225 per student to spend for tutoring services for the general run of students.

… Susan Lesyk, director of the Teaching and Learning Center, which provides tutoring services for regular students in the basement of an old brick building across campus, said at first she was glad when the Jaqua Center went up in 2010. “I don’t resent what they have. Every student should have that,” she told the trustees.

She said she was sure it meant improvement was coming for her tutoring services. She showed trustees how the services significantly upped graduation rates for disadvantaged students.

“We need a Jaqua Center for all of us,” Lisa Freinkel, vice provost for undergraduate studies, told the trustees.

Mullens said he had no idea about the cost differential between the athlete and nonathlete tutoring services. “I can’t speak to those figures. I only live in the athletics figures,” he said.

Senate Motion:

Payments by Athletic Department for General Academic Purposes

Legislation, Resolution, or Policy Adoption: Legislation

Current Status: Approved on 03/04/15

Motion:

Section I

1.1 WHEREAS in 2004, the UO Athletics Task Force, which included President Dave Frohnmayer, Athletic Director Bill Moos, NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative Jim O’Fallon, the Senate President, and many Senate and faculty representatives, concluded a three-year study of UO athletics with a report that stated as recommendation #1,

“The Task Force and the Athletic Department recommend a voluntary financial contribution by
athletics to the Presidential Scholarship fund.”[1]; and

1.2 WHEREAS in 2008 the Senate passed a resolution reiterating this recommendation[2]; and

1.3 WHEREAS in May 2012 the UO Senate passed another resolution (endorsed by four former Senate Presidents in its stronger form as legislation) requesting that the President direct the Athletic Department to end subsidies for athletics starting on 7/1/2013 and start making payments for academic purposes starting in 7/1/2014[3] [4]; and

1.4 WHEREAS two months after the 2012 resolution President Gottfredson wrote to Senate President Margie Paris that

“One intent of the resolution is to ensure that athletics is paying an appropriate share of the costs associated with tutoring and advising of student athletes and for the arena. This is clearly an appropriate aim and one with which I am fully supportive. More analysis needs to be undertaken to ascertain the nature of these obligations while preserving legitimate expectations derived from the existing agreements. We will expeditiously work to resolve these issues in collaboration with athletics.”[5]; and

1.5 WHEREAS the subsidies have not been ended, and to the contrary the payments from the Provost’s budget to support tutoring and advising at the Jaqua Center for Student-Athletes, services that are available only to student-athletes, have increased from $600K in 2008 to $1.8M for FY 2011-12 and now to $2.2M for the 2014-15 FY, after passage of the 2012 resolution. These services cost about $4,000 per student-athlete, while UO’s spending on similar services for non-athlete students averages only about $225[6]; and

1.6 WHEREAS the Athletic Department solicits donations and ticket surcharges for the Duck Athletic Fund, totaling $28M for 2014-15[7], with the statement that,

“The mission of the Duck Athletic Fund is to raise funds to offset the expenses of student-athletic scholarships and related athletic department support at the University of Oregon.”[8];
and

1.7 WHEREAS in the most recently available data, for 2013-14, the Athletic Department paid only $10 million from these DAF funds to the academic side for tuition, and did not pay any of the cost of student-athlete services other than a portion of the maintenance costs of the Jaqua building[9]; and

1.8 WHEREAS UO’s academic budget has been paying $467,538 a year since 2009 to repay the portion of bonds used to purchase the Knight Arena land representing the area of the Mac Court land[10]; and

1.9 WHEREAS eleven years have now passed since the 2004 Task Force report calling for voluntary contributions from athletics toward academic scholarships, during which annual operating expenditures by the Athletic Department have increased from less than $40 million to more than $98 million[11]; and

1.10 WHEREAS during that time the athletic department has not made any such contributions and in fact has received increasing subsidies from the academic budget; and

1.11 WHEREAS the University Senate voted on February 12, 2014 that the motions on ending subsidies to the Athletic Department and payments by the Athletic Department for general academic purposes should be put forth as two separate motions;

Section II

2.1 BE IT HEREBY MOVED that the President shall provide the Senate with a budget and a schedule for implementation for payments from the Athletic Department budget for the support of general academic purposes no later than the first Senate meeting of May 2015, and that this schedule shall include a payment of no less than 0.5% of total Athletic Department revenue for the 2015-16 FY, and increasing to no less than 1% for the 2016-17 FY, and increasing in subsequent years by no less than 0.5 percentage points, until it reaches 3%.

Financial Impact:

Cost neutral

Sponsor:

William Harbaugh (Economics), Senator

[1] UO Task Force Report at http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen034/finalreportATF04.pdf

[2] 2008 motion at http://pages.uoregon.edu/uosenate/dirsen078/US078-15.html

[3] 2012 motion at http://senate.uoregon.edu/content/payments-athletics-department-academic-purposes

[4] Endorsements of former Senate Presidents at http://www.uomatters.com/2013/05/senate-pases-motion-to-make-athletic.html

[5] Letter from President Gottfredson to President Paris at http://senate.uoregon.edu/files/President%27s Response to US2012-13_20.pdf

[6] UO Financial Transparency Report at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/971644/uomatters/IAC/Provost payments to Jaqua Center 2012 to 2014.pdf and Register Guard story referenced athttp://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/steve_duin/index.ssf/2011/05/post_7.html

[7] Report at http://www.goducks.com/fls/500/pages/athlfin/FY15Budget.pdf

[8] Report at http://goducks.com/fls/500/pages/daf/DAF_Brochure.pdf?hq_e=el&hq_m=402524&hq_l=10&hq_v=c904dd1d98

[9] UO Foundation report at http://www.goducks.com/fls/500/pages/athlfin/FY14ExpensesByType.pdf

[10] Frohnmayer/Kilkenny MOU at http://www.goducks.com/fls/500/pages/athlfin/MOU-Debt-Service-of-Purchase-of-Land-for-New-Arena.pdf?DB_OEM_ID=500

[11] AD budget at http://www.goducks.com/fls/500/pages/athlfin/FY15Budget.pdf

Ducks must bribe UO students to watch Dana Altman coach at Matt Court

But it’s not working, attendance is now below 1,000. Hayden Kim has the story in the Daily Emerald. Here are a few selective and shamelessly rearranged quotes:

… Based on numbers given to me by [Duck PR flack Craig Pintens], the average student attendance for this season was 989 per game. Last season, they were 1,539. In 2012, it was 1,541. In 2011, it was 1,574.

[Why?]

… Third, is the fans’ attachment to promotions and product giveaways – specifically the occasional Nike customized shoes that are given away at home games through a raffle. Of course the Pit Crew is going to take advantage of their unique relationship with Phil Knight and Nike, but to say that their reliance on attracting students to games for free products is sustainable for long-term success, would be a lie.

“We need to be able to create long-term fans and you do that by having a great experience,”Senior Associate Athletic Director Craig Pintens said. “You can’t do a t-shirt every game or free food every game because then it’s not special and it loses that appeal. We need to examine everything and do a better job.”

[Fire your sleazy coach, for starters.]

When I was covering the final Civil War of the year at Gill Coliseum, I couldn’t hear myself think. The Oregon State crowd was electric and the fans were constantly on their feet. The energy was contagious. The place felt like a sauna. This is how a college arena should look and feel. Gill Coliseum holds 9,604 and there were 9,339 at this game.

I don’t know about you, but when Oregon State students pack their smaller 66-year-old gym and make it rock louder than Oregon’s state-of-the-art venue, there’s a problem.

In short, UO should have just said no to Phil Knight and Matt Court. Mac Court was a lot more fun. This is great reporting, Mr. Kim. Here’s hoping you will also turn your attention to:

1) Duck AAD Eric Roedl’s efforts to increase the mandatory ifee for “free” tickets. So far Roedl has been beaten back by UO student Andrew Lubash.

2) The most obvious reason UO students avoid Matt Court and Dana Altman – they’re afraid Altman might sue them too.

“Not in Our Name”: UO Senate rejects UO admin’s rape lawsuit response. Will require payments from athletics for academic purposes. Senate will elect NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative. All unanimous.

Good turnout, good decisions. Now we just have to get President Coltrane to implement them.

Senate Meeting Agenda – March 4, 2015 – Watch Live2014-2015Agendas

3:00 pm    1.   Call to Order

3:00 pm    2.   Approval of Minutes  January 21, 2015

3:05 pm    3.   State of the University

3.1       Remarks by Interim President Coltrane (delivered by Robert Kyr, Senate President). Coltrane’s remarks focus on what a good job his administration is doing dealing with the sexual assault prevention problems. This link seems to give this basis for this claim, which is not shared by many people outside his Executive Leadership Team.

3:15 pm    4.   New Business

Jennifer Freyd moves to suspend the rules to consider a resolution rejecting the UO administration’s response to the basketball rape allegations:

Sponsors: Freyd, Stabile, Gassamma, Psaki.

“Not in Our Name: The UO Senate rejects UO’s response to the lawsuit from the student survivor of alleged rape”

Number:
Legislation, Resolution, or Policy Adoption: Resolution
Current Status:
Motion:

Section I

1.1  WHEREAS on January 8th 2015 the University of Oregon student survivor of an alleged March 8th-9th 2014 gang rape by three UO basketball players sued the University and Basketball Coach Dana Altman;1

1.2  AND WHEREAS on February 9th the University filed a counterclaim against the student, asking the court to order her to pay the fees for the University’s own outside lawyers;2

1.3  AND WHEREAS the University’s counterclaim outraged many in the university community and the public;

1.4  AND WHEREAS, despite withdrawing the counterclaim on February 26th, the University retained language from the counterclaim saying that some of the lawsuit’s allegations (a) amount to “unclean hands,” (b) “threaten to harm … all sexual assault survivors in Oregon’s campus community“ and (c) create a “risk that other survivors will wrongly be discouraged from reporting sexual assaults and sexual harassment”;3

1.5  AND WHEREAS the University’s efforts to defend itself in this and similar cases should be limited to disputing facts, instead of using its legal documents to make sweeping, polemical policy statements that themselves can cause harm to survivors;

Section II

2.1  BE IT THEREFORE MOVED that the University of Oregon Senate appreciates Interim President Coltrane’s decision to drop the University’s counterclaim against the student survivor, for UO’s legal fees;

2.2  AND BE IT FURTHERMORE MOVED that the Senate fears that the victim-blaming language that is still in the revised response listed under “unclean hands” will harm victims of sexual assault at the University of Oregon, discourage them from reporting rapes, and have a chilling effect on them defending their civil rights in court;

2.3  AND BE IT MOVED that the Senate requests that the University report to the Senate on how the University originally decided to file this counterclaim and how it later decided to continue the assertions that parts of the alleged victim’s lawsuit are to be blamed for discouraging rape reports;

2.4  AND BE IT FURTHERMORE MOVED that the University of Oregon Senate asks the University President to withdraw the remaining counterclaim language that has been retained as a charge of “unclean hands”;

2.5  AND BE IT FINALLY MOVED that the University of Oregon Senate wants all to know that the University of Oregon administration and Basketball Coach Dana Altman are not acting or speaking in our name.

Financial Impact:

Cost neutral.

1 Jane Doe claim:

http://ia802700.us.archive.org/29/items/gov.uscourts.ord.120035/gov.uscourts.or d.120035.1.0.pdf
2 UO and Dana Altman response and counterclaim against Jane Doe, pages 24-27, http://ia902700.us.archive.org/29/items/gov.uscourts.ord.120035/gov.uscourts.or d.120035.7.0.pdf

3 UO revised response

http://ia802700.us.archive.org/29/items/gov.uscourts.ord.120035/gov.uscourts.or d.120035.14.0.pdf

Background:
From UO’s revised response:

NINETEENTH DEFENSE (Unclean Hands/Estoppel)

101. Plaintiff’s attorney represented plaintiff throughout Oregon’s investigation of her allegations and conduct proceeding, and consented to the process about which he now complains. Plaintiff is therefore estopped or barred under the doctrine of unclean hands from complaining about the process.

102. Plaintiff’s attorneys filed a lawsuit with unfounded allegations that damage a good man’s reputation7 in an attempt to curry favor and gain traction in the media and create pressure for a public university to pay a hefty sum to plaintiff even though it has done nothing wrong. In this case plaintiff’s counsel’s false allegations threaten to harm not only Oregon and Altman, but all sexual assault survivors in Oregon’s campus community. The publication of false allegations about Oregon’s handling of a report of an alleged sexual assault creates a very real risk that other

survivors will wrongly be discouraged from reporting sexual assaults and sexual harassment to Oregon, in direct contravention of the goals of both Title IX and the University of Oregon. Conveying the facts about how Oregon properly handled plaintiff’s case is necessary to demonstrate the high priority Oregon gives to honoring the rights guaranteed by Title IX.

7 See, e.g., John Canzano, Every Day Oregon Stands With Dana Altman Is Another Step Into the Muck, Oregonian, Jan. 8, 2014 (accepting as true the false allegations in the complaint that Altman knew about prior allegations of rape against Austin and calling for his termination).

Debate on the pros and cons, then the Senate passes this unanimously.

4.1       Motion (Legislation): Repeal of Original University “Policy on Policies”; Senate Executive Committee

Passes unanimously.

4.2       Motion (Legislation): Minor Revision to Section 5.3 of the New University “Policy on Policies”; Senate Executive Committee

Passes unanimously.

4.3       Motion (Legislation): Ad hoc Committee to Investigate the Role and Function of the Faculty Advisory Council (FAC); Senate Committee on Committees

Randy Sullivan puts this forward. Asks for more time to figure out what to do about the FAC. Passes unanimously after amendment to extend deadline to give new UO President time to weigh in.

4.4       Motion (Legislation): Temporary Exemption of the Faculty Advisory Committee from the Provisions of US13/14-19, “Open Committee Meetings“; Senate Committee on Committees

Passes unanimously.

4.5       Motion (Resolution): ASUO-Athletics Ticket Agreement; Andrew Lubash, University Senator and Student Senator

Not yet ready.

4.6       Motion (Legislation): Payments by Athletics Department for General Academic Purposes; William Harbaugh (Economics), Senator

Passes unanimously.

4.7       Motion (Legislation): Selection of the UO Faculty Athletics Representative; Pedro Garcia-Caro (Romance Languages), William Harbaugh (Economics), Senator

Passes unanimously.

4.8       Motion (Legislation): To Promote Representative Attendance at Senate Meetings; Senate Executive Committee

Good discussion, delayed til the second meeting in April to think it over. We also learned what AVP for Collaboration Charles Triplett does to earn that $130K: he’s keeping a list of who’s been naughty and nice in the Senate:

Come on Chuck, this is pathetic. You need a computer? Dave Hubin has been doing this in his head for years.

4:55 pm    5.   Open Discussion

4:55 pm    6.   Reports

4:55 pm    7.   Notice(s) of Motion

4:55 pm    8.   Other Business

5:00 pm    9.   Adjournment

Emerald: Parking tickets subsidize Matt Court parking garage

2/23/1015: Since the Ducks are still claiming they pay their own way, it seems like a good time to repost this classic Emerald report:

Alex Tomchak and Dave Martinez have the story in a Daily Emerald investigative report – from back in 2010:

If you pay a parking ticket doled out on the University campus, chances are you’ll be helping to pay off debts accrued on the parking structure under construction beneath the Matthew Knight Arena.

… “If the circumstances had been perfect, we would never have built an underground structure,” Horner said, adding, “Under the circumstances, because of the location, because of the requirement to actually build the arena, this is what we have.”

UO Student Senate rejects Ducks’ attempt to raise mandatory ticket fee

2/21/2015 update: That’s the vote from today’s ASUO meeting.

Duck Athletic Director  Rob Mullens is now in the difficult position of having to choose between:

a) taking the same $1.6M as last year and being revealed as the sort of person who would try and bluff our students for money, or

b) cutting the ticket allotment and being revealed as the sort of person who would take revenge on the students over $50K, after getting a $250K raise himself.

Presumably he’ll figure out some way to take the offered 0% increase and try and save face. My guess is this will involve a donation from some Duck booster who suddenly finds it in his heart to give a little to UO students.

By rejecting the Duck try for a 10% increase, our students are leading the way to the March 4th meeting of the full UO Senate, which will consider legislation to hold the Athletic Department to its 2004 promise to start making payments to UO’s academic side for academic scholarships. The student vote is a hopeful sign that maybe UO can finally figure out how to balance the interests of the Duck’s big-time sports enterprise and its well paid coaches and AD’s with those of UO’s cash-strapped academic side.

2/21/2015 update: Meanwhile, the University of Akron is *paying* its students to go to basketball games, in an effort to build some buzz for TV. And in cash – not just Uncle Phil bobbleheads.

Ironically, as Fox Sports points out, if Akron were to give the *players* $5 for showing up for each game, they would swiftly bring down the wrath of UO’s Jim O’Fallon and his NCAA infractions committee.

2/20/2015: Lubash and ASUO Student Senators call out Eric Roedl out on his ticket threat

Letter to the Daily Emerald, written by UO undergrad and Truman Scholar Andrew Lubash, and signed by 13 other Senators and 3 ACFC members, here:

… Out of the $15 million ASUO budget, students spend $1,695,348 paying for the football and men’s basketball ticket lottery. This comes down to about $71 per year that students pay through their mandatory fees for the chance to go to our athletic events. We, the undersigned, think this is too high. …

However, when the ASUO began negotiating with the Athletics Department this year, we were surprised to find out that not only was there absolutely no chance they were going to give us more tickets, they were requesting $169,000 more from students than last year, for the same number of tickets. A 10% increase!

We were infuriated.

Now, they say that they will likely begin cutting student football tickets if we don’t give them at least a 3% increase (~$50,000). Their actions are greedy and deplorable. They’re acting like a business focused solely on profit, when they should be working towards supporting the academic side of this university. Why isn’t there an expectation on our campus that athletics give back to students? Students aren’t even guaranteed a ticket.

… After an article came out in the register Guard saying that the Athletic Director would fundraise millions in order to pay for his own salary increases ($700,000/year) and those of other Athletic department staff, we had had enough. We find it fundamentally unfair that the Athletic Department can find it within their hearts to fundraise for themselves, yet they resort to threatening to cut student tickets if the ASUO does not give them their requested increase. Is it actually that hard for them to raise $50,000 on top of the millions they already plan to raise? We don’t think so.

… At some point, someone needs to stand up and shine a light on the enormous difference that exists between what the Athletic Department deems as “necessary” and what students deem as excessive. Many of us struggle to afford our education as it is. We should not stand for our own Athletic Department to treat us as another lucrative source of funds to line their own pockets with. It’s time for them to start giving back and support students of all financial backgrounds.
We don’t understand how the ASUO, in good conscience, could increase the Athletic Department’s budget $1 unless we guarantee that students get more football ticket. If more tickets is not an option, we should not agree to charge students more for the same amount of tickets.

[Signed by 17 Student Senators, etc.]

2/19/2015 update: Duck’s Eric Roedl threatens to cut student tickets unless they pay 10% more:

Actually, our students have already talked him down to a 3% increase, and Roedl’s latest threat seems pretty unlikely, given that Scott Coltrane just told the UO Board that athletics would have no problem coming up with millions to pay for raises for Helfrich and Mullens.

But Roedl’s giving it a half-hearted effort anyway. Gotta try and cover his own $42K raise, I suppose:

From: Eric Roedl
Date:02/19/2015 4:05 PM (GMT-08:00)
To: [student name redacted]
Cc: Laura Jorgensen
Subject: Student Seating Options

[Student name redacted]

Attached ticket calculator contains two options:

1. Represents a 3% increase to I-Fee as discussed with no impact to student seat allocation.

2. Represents a 0% increase to I-Fee. Under this model we would likely [emphasis added] reduce the number of football seats per Pac 12 Game (Utah, Wash. St., Cal, USC, Oregon St.) by 300. We would then increase the number of Pac-12 Season Student Season Ticket Plans available for student purchase (at a price of $300 per package) by 300.

Please review and let me know if you have any questions or thoughts prior to submitting.

Thanks, Eric

Spreadsheet here.

2/10/2015 10:30 update: AAD Eric Roedl fails to talk students into paying more

The committee can’t agree, so the default recommendation of $0 goes to the ASUO Senate, for a Feb 24. vote. That’s a $1.6M cut from last year. Rob Mullens has two weeks to raise the money from donors, twist enough arms in the student senate to get a bailout, or convince Scott Coltrane to stick to the threat of a cut in tickets if the students don’t pay up.

The compromise plan should be to switch to a voluntary athletics fee. Roedl hates that idea because he wants to hide the true cost of “free” tickets from the students.

8:00 AM Tuesday, Now, in the EMU Rouge River room.

Lubash is giving Roedl a brutal beating. Roedel is trying to cram down a mandatory student fee increase, the day after the AD announced it had the funds to give $2M in raises to the coach and athletic director.

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My guess is Roedl bails and leaves the money on the table, but who knows? Students will have to play hardball, and he’s spewing doubt and confusion.

Student asks what would happen if they cut the IFee? Roedl won’t say.

Lubash: You say you can raise money to pay for coach’s raises. Why not go out to you donors and ask for money to pay for cuts in student ticket prices.

Hansen: Notes that the AD estimate for ticket values assumes demand curves don’t slope down. Ben assigns failing grade.

Schlegel: Never a campaign among donors to get donations for student tickets? Roedl: Not to my knowledge.

I gotta go, sorry no more live-blog.

3:30 PM update: UO Board approves fat raises for Helfrich, Mullens. Ducks want more student cash.

Diane Dietz has the story, here.

It’s tough listening to Coltrane push this on the Board: “The cost of these contracts is borne entirely by athletics”. Sure, if you ignore the millions in hidden subsidies from student tuition money.

The brown-nosing at this meeting is pretty deep. The trustees did have some tough questions about the Falling Sky contract to sell beer to the students at the new EMU though.

2/9/2015 update: That’s what’s happening today, in 15 minutes, at the Board’s EAC meeting. Angela Wilhems is still hiding the contracts, but it looks like Mullens will get a $250k raise to $700K, while Helfrich will go from $1.5M (if I remember right) to ~$3.5M. Plus a plethora of bonuses, of course.

Well this certainly explains why Mullens has been trying to get more money out of the UO students. More on that below and here.

2/9/2015: With Matt Court attendance < 50%, Mullens wants to raise student fee

According to this new report from the OC Register’s Ryan Kartje, Oregon’s basketball attendance is down 24% from last year. Word is the student section was half empty tonight.

But apparently that’s not going to keep Duck Athletic Director Rob Mullens and his AAD Eric Roedl from trying to raise the mandatory fee they charge UO students for tickets. Kaylee Tornay has the report in the Daily Emerald, here:

The Feb. 6 budget hearing between the athletics department and the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee, which determine annually the amount and price for student ticket distribution for football and men’s basketball games, led to yet another stalemate in reaching an agreement. The ACFC approved a proposal of an 18.9 percent decrease to the Athletics Department’s current ASUO budget. Later, this decision was overturned due to faulty voting processes, according to ACFC Chair Andrew Lubash.

The budget hearing was the second held this year to work out how much it will cost students next year, regardless of whether they attend athletic events or not, to receive the same amount of tickets to athletic events that they received in the 2014-2015 school year. Students pay for 5,448 tickets per regular season football game and 1,854 per basketball game. These are distributed via a lottery system (when you log onto goducks.com and watch the O spin for an hour hoping to get a ticket) that is funded by a percentage of the Incidental Fee, which each student pays every enrolled term.

This year the student body as a whole paid the Athletics Department $1,695,348 for the ticket lotteries for football and men’s basketball. The Athletics Department opened negotiations this fall requesting a 10 percent increase to provide the same amount of tickets for the 2015-2016 year. This would mean an additional $169,535 and would bring next year’s total to $1,864,883.

The ACFC met with Athletics on Jan. 16 and negotiated the request to a possible 3 percent increase rather than 10 percent. That would mean students would pay $50,860 more than they did this year. However, no official agreement was reached, and the ACFC discussed the athletics budget again in a meeting on Jan. 30. Ronnie Grenier-Hemphill, the chief liaison between the Athletics Department and ACFC, informed the Committee that Eric Roedl, Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director of Finance, had brought up the possibility of having to cut the amount of tickets, if anything less than the 3 percent increase were approved.

The Emerald followed up with Roedl on the matter and he delivered the following comment:

“Maybe we’d adjust the ticket allotment in some ways to more accurately reflect the value and the money that’s being transacted…we’d continue to have dialogue to find something that works for everybody.” Roedl said.

Funny, I don’t remember anything about falling attendance in Roedl’s powerpoint, when he was hitting up the students for a 10% increase.

If the students do pay this, where will the money go? To people like AD for Finance Eric Roedl, who’s already managed to scrape up the funds to give himself a $42K raise, to $212K, in just two years:

2014:

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2012:

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If ASUO can’t break tie, Duck Athletics will get $0 from students.

2/7/2014 update:

It turns out the ASUO committee tie-breaker vote reported below was disallowed. They are going to meet again Tuesday 8AM (in the Rogue River room, I think) to try again. Presumably AAD Eric Roedl will be there, hat in hand.

If the committee can’t come to an agreement, the athletics department will get $0 from ASUO, although they’ll still get the millions in other subsidies described here and below.

AD Rob Mullens will then have to decide if he wants to cut the UO students off from access to the Autzen Stadium Student Section, or take other steps to limit student access to Duck games. Which would be political suicide for the Duck Athletic Department, so presumably the AD is engaging in some heavy student arm-twisting this weekend.

Of course Mullens couldn’t implement the nuclear option without the approval of Interim President Scott Coltrane. So, what do you think readers? What are the chances Scott Coltrane would let Rob Mullens cut the number of student football tickets?

2/6/2015 2:30 update: ASUO Committee votes to cut the mandatory student fee for Duck athletics from $1.6M to $1.3M

For background on the AD’s efforts to squeeze ASUO for more student money see here, and for more on the hidden subsidies for athletics see here.

Short version: The Ducks have hit price resistance from their regular fans, so they want to raise the fee to student government to ~$80 per student, to provide “free” tickets via a lottery. This is the second meeting of the ASUO committee that will recommend yes or no. The first meeting is described below. As usual, our students run an excellent meeting and the discussion is very polite, direct, and well informed.

At the last meeting, Duck AAD for Finance Eric Roedl asked for a 10% increase, to $1.8M:

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After getting a thorough shellacking by the students, he doesn’t show up this time. In fact he already’s dropped down to asking for a 3% increase. The students are skeptical of even that. Many ask why any mandatory student fee money should go to athletics.

Their most favored option seems to be to move to a model where students can opt in to pay a voluntary feee to athletics, for a lottery for football tickets in the same student section as now, and free tickets for basketball and other less popular sports. The voluntary fee would be higher, but only those wanting to go to games would have to pay it. The athletics department likes the current system, because it isolates them from the free-market, and hides the true cost of the tickets from UO students. (If you ask students, most will tell you they pay nothing for the chance to enter the ticket lottery. They’re quite surprised to learn how much it really costs.) This change would take a while to implement however.

As the discussion evolves it turns out that the Ducks aren’t just making ASUO pay for the tickets, they’re also adding on a DAF “donation fee”. Wow – is this whole scheme legal? I’d check the legal opinions from UO’s General Counsel’s office, but I had to give those back. Bummer.

In the end, of course, Roedl discounts everything, perhaps to account for the fact that the IRS deduction on the “donation” isn’t worth anything to student government, but most importantly because student demand is pretty price-elastic, so a bit of price-discrimination is profit maximizing for the Ducks.

A committee member proposes a cut from $1.6M to $1.3M, for the same number of tickets, instead of the increase to $1.8M Roedl was shooting for. Roedl’s response, by email, is to try and confuse the students with some accounting jargon.

Student question: What might Roedl and Mullens do if ASUO cuts the subsidy – would they cut the student tickets off? No more tickets? Oh My God!

Fat chance. Their salaries depend on being able to credibly claim the Ducks are part of UO’s academic mission – no students, no IRS tax deductions for the donors, and taxes on the ESPN money etc. That’s the death penalty for college football – or at least a big salary cut for some well paid AD employees.

The AD budget is apparently $98M. The $300k we’re talking about here is roughly one day of revenue for them. Their revenue went up about $10M last year. This money is a a rounding error to them.

Lubash: I have a problem with requiring students, many of whom are borrowing money to pay their tuition and fees, to pay the athletic department money $71 a year for a chance to buy a ticket that they might not even want. Yes, I ran on a platform of getting more tickets – and on fiscal responsibility. The athletic department is not going to agree to more student tickets. So lets at least reduce the cost of the tickets that we can get.

At around 4:45, after a lot of well considered discussion, the committee votes 4-3 to recommend to the full ASUO that the fee to athletics be cut from $1.6M to ~$1.3M. If AAD Eric Roedl doesn’t like it, he’s 72 hours to put together an appeal and bring it to the committee on Monday. So stay tuned!

2/6/2015 11:00AM: 2:30-4 in Chapman 204. See below for background.

Rumor has it that AAD Eric Roedl might not show. He got angry about having to answer questions from students last time. Just like he got angry about having to answer questions from the faculty last year, and stopped coming to the IAC meetings.

Here’s the agreement between Johnson Hall and Athletics, to divert academic money towards the “presidential skybox” at Autzen, etc. That’s right, UO students pay for the administrator’s football skybox. It took a petition to the DOJ to pry this document out of UO – now it’s on the AD’s website, here.

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And here we’ve got athletics bitching that they haven’t got rent check yet:

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1/16/2014:ASUO meets with Athletics Department’s Eric Roedl on student tickets subsidy increase

Semi-live blog. Usual disclaimer, nothing is a quote unless in quotes.

For background on the AD’s efforts to squeeze ASUO for more student money see here, and for more on the hidden subsidies for athletics see here.

Short version: The Ducks have hit price resistance from their regular fans, so they want to raise the fee to student government to ~$90 per student, to provide “free” tickets. This is the meeting of the ASUO committee that will recommend yes or no. As usual, our students run an excellent meeting and do a very professional job putting tough questions to AAD Eric Roedl.

Andrew Lubash, Student Chair, many student Senators, and Eric Roedl and Laura Gordenson (?), AAD for ticket sales, plus a few other AD minions.

Roedl makes his pitch: Culture of excellence … Exceptional student athlete experience. School spirit and pride. 100K students interactions.

Room fills up with students.

Roedl: “I don’t know how many of you were at Rose Bowl…”. Ticket Agreement. We want to have “best student support” Benchmark is we want to charge students 50% of regular season ticket price, it’s now only 41%.

Repeats claim that athletics is self-supporting. Leaves out hidden subsidies. ASU voted new student fee. $100. Proposal is for a 10% increase in fee, from 41% to 45% of season ticket price.

Committee chair (?) proposes 4% increase. $72 in student fees per student. (Why are students paying for Mac Court a second time, and also for tickets at Matt court?)

Student: What about all your new money from ESPN?

Roedl: We’ve got a big budget, but thin margin…

Lubash: Student government has 5% cap on fees. Athletics is our biggest expenditure. CSL: Current Service Level. So when you say 10% you are saying it costs 10% more to provide same # of tickets. Is this accurate?

Roedl: TBD. But not looking at ticket price increases for next year. You are the only ones we can still squeeze. Cost really hasn’t changed, nor has market value of those seats:

Lubash: Every other contract we require a CSL contract. You didn’t. You’re just trying to catch up to the 50%. I think it should be less. Students should be getting a significant discount to go to our own team’s games.

Roedl looks glum.

Lubash: This is a negotiation. A lot of students don’t go to games and don’t want to pay the $72 for a chance to get a ticket. Some of those students elected me …

Student: True of all groups we spend i-fee money on.

Student: I did some research. ASU’s student government will get 1/4 of the football tickets for students. We get 8%.

Roedl: We don’t take money from the general fund…. (Sure you don’t.)

Student: I’m looking at your math. How do you figure the “fair market value” for a basketball ticket? (When you’ve got Dana Altman as coach …)

Roedl: Supply and Demand. Lots of empty seats though.

Student: What do you do with the tickets that ASUO pays for but the students don’t use? Looks like you resell them?

AAD: Rare that we resell football tickets. Lots of basketball games though.

Student: At what price?

AAD: Whatever we can get.

Student: Student fees go for the tickets, then you resell them and keep the money?

Roedl: If we ever sold out Knight Arena, it might happen. But that’s a pipe-dream.

Student: Tell us more about how you set your budget.

Roedl: Every year we balance our needs with the available resources. Everything left over goes to our exorbitant salaries.

Student: Tell us more about student discounts at other PAC-12 schools…

Roedl: It’s complicated, every campus uses a different model to hide the true cost of athletics.

Student: What would you do differently if we only gave you a 3% increase?

Roedl: We’re open to changes, every little bit helps though.

Student: What would you do differently if we only gave you a 3% increase?

Roedl: That’s a tough question to answer. But every dollar is important to us, and we’re worth it. But we understand we need you students to show up at games. (Or we’ll lose our tax exemption and have to cut our salaries.)

Hansen: You need the students showing up at your games so ESPN can put them on screen. Not a college game without them. You should pay the students to show up.

Roedl: We need the money.

Iverson: The opportunity cost of every $ athletics gets is a $ some other ASUO program won’t get. Many other deserving student programs.

Lubash: We need to come out with a number. I want to keep the number of tickets the same, or even increase it. But I haven’t seen any evidence from the AD why fees should increase. It now costs our students $72 a year just to get a chance to enter the lottery. Students somehow think it’s free. We need to see some reasoning behind this increase. You need give a positive economic argument about costs increases, not a normative, ideological argument that 50% is fair. I’d reply that 33% is fair.

Roedl: Tries to argue that ticket prices are the opportunity cost, then changes his mind. (But regular ticket prices have leveled off).

Lubash: You haven’t shown us the numbers to justify this increase. If you were me what would you do here?

Roedl: (More nonsensical spin.)

Students continue to beat up on Roedl. He looks like he’s willing to give the tickets away, if they’ll just let him out of the room.

ASUO President Gutierrez: Appreciate how passionate people are about Ducks, that’s why I am suggesting 3% increase. AD should be able to find the extra money themselves.

Student: Proposes that we schedule another presentation from the Athletics Department to get them to present more specific budget numbers to justify their requested increase.

Senator: We should be paying zero. This is ridiculous.

Dusseau: Lack of transparency from the athletic department. AD has the resources to pay for this themselves. If not, get the money from the bloated JH budget.

12/30/2014 update:

Bloomberg reports that Duck football players have $1.38 million in bonuses riding on bowl games, in the Oregonian here. Oh, wait, this is the NCAA, so it’s all for the coaches. About half of that is already due. Plus the Johnson Hall junkets, of course. I wonder where our AD Rob Mullens will get the money? Oh, right …

12/1/2014: Ticket revenue flat, so Ducks hit up students for more ASUO money

Short version: The Ducks have hit price resistance from their regular fans, so they want to raise the fee to student government to $90 per student, to provide “free” tickets.

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What would Steve Prefontaine say about track and field championships?

9/25/2014: Another $35M to $100M for sports pork, bribes?

The jocks don’t even have the goddam common decency to give the academic side a reach-around, and pay off the Matt Court land and Jaqua tutoring first. Chris Hansen has the report in the RG on the latest duck-pork, here:
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