Duck student-athletes not to talk to reporters without permission

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10/9/2012 Teach your children well:

Posted yesterday on the UO athletic department’s GoDucks.com website:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Duck threats to revoke student-reporter press passes are not normal

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch recruited a panel of 12 student newspaper sports editors, including the Daily Emerald’s Kenny Jacoby, to ask a few questions about covering big-time college sports. Here:

screen-shot-2016-12-11-at-6-24-00-pm

Q: Has a school administrator/athletic department official ever threatened to take away your credentials? If yes, please describe in detail what happened

Allentuck: No …

Andrews: No. …

Ashame: No.

Baumann: … never …

Caplan: No …

Carroll: No …

Hummer: … never happened …

Jacoby: Yes — it’s happened to at least three sports editors at the Daily Emerald in the past four years, including myself. During our reporting of the Pharaoh Brown story this year, I directly called the football player whom Brown concussed, rather than requesting an interview with him through the athletic communications office. I had previously interviewed him within the athletic department’s interview guidelines, but one of the sports information directors was standing nearby during the interview, so I wanted to give the player a fair chance for final comment. After I called the player, the SID called me into his office. He said in his mind there were no exceptions to Oregon’s interview policy, and if the Daily Emerald continued to break protocol then the only recourse would be limiting our access. He said he was ready to pull our credential to the Civil War game on Nov. 26 but would let it slide one time with the expectation that it wouldn’t happen again.

The university senate caught wind of the athletic department’s threat to revoke our credential. It requested the UO’s general counsel to investigate whether the athletic department’s interview policy and threat against the Daily Emerald were in violation of UO’s polices on freedom of inquiry and free speech, and on academic freedom. The latter policy states, “members of the university community have the right to investigate and discuss matters, including those that are controversial, inside and outside of class, without fear of institutional restraint.” The president of UO agreed to let the general counsel investigate the potential free speech violations; that investigation is ongoing.

Polglaze: … never happened …

More on the UO Senate website here.

Duck Athletic Department gives some athletes permission to talk about race

Andrew Greif has the interview in the Oregonian here. It’s not clear if Duck PR flack Craig Pintens or other athletic department minders set up and monitored the interviews, but that is the Duck’s normal practice.

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-11-57-51-am

Two years ago two of Dana Altman’s Duck basketball players  tried a Black Lives Matter protest during his national anthem. Altman chewed out his players and wouldn’t let them talk to the press afterwards. They never tried *that* again.

At UO a Duck coach can suspend a player for just about anything, by making up a “team rule” against it. The players have no freedom:

Duck football player under investigation for alleged assaults of female student

8/26/2016 update: Coach Helfrich has now declared the player guilty, and in doing so has committed a flagrant violation of Klinger’s interpretation of the accused’s FERPA rights. The Salem Statesman Journal reports:

“[The student-athlete] has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of University and Department of Athletics codes of conduct,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said in a released statement. “At the conclusion of the University process, his status as a student-athlete will be evaluated further.”

Oh, right, the athletic department makes their players sign a FERPA release. How could I forget Dana Altman and Craig Pintens not telling me that? How could Tobin Klinger? Video here:

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.23.46 PM

Why did Mark Helfrich keep this quiet until after the Emerald reporters broke the story?

And guilty of what? The Duck’s team rules include things like a requirement you call Professional Development Coordinator Tom Hart on his *personal* cell-phone if you’ve had contact with the cops:

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.20.07 PM

And stay away from Egyptian motorcycle gangs and the Russian prostitutes they own.

8/26/2016: The Daily Emerald has the scoop here, from Tran Nguyen, Ryan Kostecka and Cooper Green. The RG and Oregonian reports do a nice job citing them. UO strategic communicator Tobin Klinger has his traditional response:

UO spokesman Tobin Klinger declined to provide details, citing the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Representatives of the UO Athletic Department could not immediately be reached.

I’m no law professor, but here’s what the lawyers at the US Department of Education who supposedly enforce FERPA have to say about Klinger’s FERPA claim:

“Law enforcement unit records” (i.e., records created by the law enforcement unit, created for a law enforcement purpose, and maintained by the law enforcement unit) are not “education records” subject to the privacy protections of FERPA. As such, the law enforcement unit may refuse to provide an eligible student with an opportunity to inspect and review law enforcement unit records, and it may disclose law enforcement unit records to third parties without the eligible student’s prior written consent. However, education records, or personally identifiable information from education records, which the school shares with the law enforcement unit do not lose their protected status as education records because they are shared with the law enforcement unit.

Duck Sports Performance Center tastefully honors modest Marcus Mariota

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 3.55.22 PM

Video here. I’d comment, but Craig Pintens and his team of Duck strategic communicators have said everything that needs to be said:

EUGENE, Ore. – In the latest cutting-edge facility to open at the University of Oregon, science and sport converge to put student-athlete wellness first.

In uniquely Oregon style, the recently opened Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center combines sports performance, sports science, sports medicine and technology in one efficiently designed space on the ground floor of the Casanova Center. Another part of the project, the overhaul of the equipment room, is a testament to style and function.

Entering from the west, student-athletes walk into a trophy lobby that is a stunning tribute to the Sports Performance Center’s namesake. Trophies for the Walter Camp Player of the Year, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Maxwell Award and Manning Award reside in the lobby. One wall has a remarkable transparent LED flat screen television that alternately shows highlights of Marcus Mariota, and then reveals a shadowbox with memorabilia of his from Hawaii. There is also a playful illustration of a Pacific Ocean scene, complete with the Duck on a surfboard.

This inspiring entrance leads to the junction under a new skylight at the heart of the MMSPC, where innovations and applied science truly become the focus for Oregon’s student-athletes. Remarkable technology and efficiency of space in the 30,000 square-foot renovation are two of the most impressive byproducts of the MMSPC construction.

“The goal of this project was to create one space where we could utilize the most state-of-the-art technology to improve student-athlete wellness and emphasize our commitment to the health and safety of our student-athletes,” said Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens. “Thanks to the incredible generosity of Phil and Penny Knight, we now have a world-class facility that is going to take the student-athlete experience at the University of Oregon to a level not previously seen anywhere on the collegiate level.”From that central hub off the trophy lobby, student-athletes will be just steps away from the new sport science and equipment areas, as well as the preexisting sports medicine facility and weight room.

“We focused on creating a space that would allow us to objectively measure a student-athlete’s development and readiness,” said UO director of athletic medicine Dr. Greg Skaggs, who was a part of two fact-finding trips to research the MMSPC construction, including one that took him to NASA as well as Australia. “This data will give us the best opportunity to individualize training to maximize performance and prevent injury.

“Unlike other university performance centers, this facility is designed to make real-time interventions into a student-athlete’s training program and well-being,” said Skaggs.

Sports Science

The sports science unit of the MMSPC contains a number of areas where the technology of the new facility truly shines. Motion capture cameras and force plates are located throughout the space. The cameras are used to capture a subject while performing virtually any movement, ranging from sport specific drills to more traditional weightlifting. Utilizing force plates, the MMSPC staff can perform strength diagnostic tests to profile and identify areas of opportunities for each student-athlete.

“The facility is up there with the best in the world and will help us support our teams with better preparation and recovery for our student-athletes,” said UO’s new director of performance and sport science, Andrew Murray. “I look forward to having conversations with coaches and student-athletes around their performance questions and where we can support and impact their preparation with data-driven decision making.”

There are three main components to the sports science unit, recovery, physiology and movement.

Recovery

The recovery area is a multipurpose space, with a gray Mondo floor inlayed with Oregon’s well-known feather pattern, that focuses on recovery following a game or practice, be that via stretching or foam rolling. In addition, baseline measurements will be taken via a marker-less motion capture system to identify any deviations from a subject’s normal range, which can help identify where intervention needs to occur prior to injury.

Physiology

The physiology area is the most eye-catching with a small boxing ring for shadow boxing, complete with overhead ring lighting in the shape of a glowing yellow “O.” It is important to note that no sparring is allowed in the boxing ring; it is for exercise purposes only. The area also features heavy punch bags, speed bags, exercise bikes, antigravity treadmills and strength diagnostic areas in the form of instrumented platforms. The physiology area also contains a bone density scanner and an examination room, as well as a neurocognitive center, which in part will help diagnose and treat concussion symptoms.

Movement

The movement area has an open space with 16 motion capture cameras mounted in a square around the 19-foot ceiling. It is also equipped to accommodate mobile tripod-based motion capture cameras. There is also a 40-yard running track, which has its own set of motion capture cameras and force plates.

Perhaps the most critical component of the entire sports science area is that all of the information captured by the cameras and force plates will be fed into a computerized athlete management system that will provide data and feedback to staff and student-athletes on their progress. Using touchscreen technology located throughout the MMSPC, student-athletes will be able to track their workouts and see their results in real time.

Also located within the sports science space is a passive recovery area, where athletes can rest on recovery tables and utilize the popular pneumatic compression units, which assist the body’s circulation in order to speed recovery and decrease muscle soreness following a competition or practice.

The most unique room in the sports science area is a small, warmly lit room with five sleep pods where student-athletes can come and rest in between practices or meetings. Recent studies involving members of the athletic department have highlighted the crucial role that sleep plays in performance.

New Equipment Room

The Ducks’ rebuilt equipment room utilizes space in a way not previously done in college athletics, while at the same time providing visual fireworks that will catch the eye of student-athletes and fans alike.

The ingenious helmet wall, located in a room called the Armory, has the ability to display numerous helmets worn by the UO football team. But the hidden treasure is that the wall opens up into shelving that has room to store several hundred helmets, as well as facemasks and other parts. The Armory is also a helmet construction workshop with overhead pneumatic drills and easily accessible components, meaning a NASCAR-like repair or rebuild of a helmet is now possible.

Overall, the new equipment room has 2.5 miles of shelving, and makes the most of the area’s 19-foot ceilings through the use of a customized shelving system built by Spacesaver Specialists, Inc. The 16-foot shelves that slide on a system of rails are the tallest, most distinctive customized system Spacesaver Specialists, Inc. has ever built for an athletic equipment room.

The new equipment room not only houses football gear, but also baseball, lacrosse, soccer and acrobatics and tumbling.

There are also lift systems for the storage of the equipment room’s laundry baskets, as well as for the trunks that the equipment staff pack for each road football game. The laundry facility, called the Pond, has also been upgraded to allow equipment staff to complete up to 500 pounds of laundry at once.

“Previously, our staff was working out of multiple storage locations,” said director of equipment operationsAaron Wasson. “This new space will streamline our equipment operation, allowing us to service the student-athletes and staff in a much more efficient way, while also highlighting the unique Nike product Oregon is known for.”

The sizzle of the equipment room is a display area that features a wall of shoes, gloves and uniforms. Student-athletes can step into a sunken alcove where a one-of-kind mirror will digitally display their likeness in a variety of Oregon uniforms. Down the hall in the Haberdashery, there is an oversized armchair, complete with web foot legs – an Oregon spin on the traditional claw foot legs – with “fighting Ducks” attached to the ends of the arms, where student-athletes can test out the latest footwear offerings from the equipment room.

“Our hope was to recreate a Niketown-like atmosphere, with bright lighting and a lot of energy to showcase all of the unique features of our uniforms and other equipment,” Wasson said.

As with the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex, DAF donors and season ticket holders will have access to tours in the future.

Johnson Hall double-booked for protests today, as Black male athlete grad rate drops to 17%. Tom Hart, Craig Pintens monitor athletes

The NCAA reported last week that only 17% of the Black Male athletes who started at UO in 2008 had graduated 6 years later. Only 44% of all Black Male students (includes athletes) entering UO in 2008 graduated:

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 11.35.46 AM Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 11.35.21 AM

For comparison 67% of all students entering as freshman in 2008 had graduated from UO w/in 6 years. This is the most recent data. The cell sizes for gender/race are small, and percentages bounce around a lot. 17% is, from what I can tell, the historical low point for UO. The average is more on the order of 45%.

Something to protest – or at least discuss openly? Despite the millions spent to subsidize the athlete-only Jock Box, from the tuition of regular students who aren’t allowed to use it, the trend on athlete graduation rates looks flat at best.

Maybe segregating athletes from regular students in a fancy glass box is not such a great idea?

Today, 12-1: #millionstudentmarch

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 11.01.34 AM

Today, 1-2, #blacklivesmatter march. Starts at the Ford Alumni Center Ballroom, after the the 12-1 Ogletree lecture:

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 10.58.50 AM

On the subject of #blacklivesmatter, Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum has discovered that a DOJ employee has been conducting unauthorized monitoring of social media accounts for that hashtag, to keep track of Oregon state employees (and other citizens) who support the movement and therefore might conceivably, in the minds of one of her employees, threaten police. And boy is she pissed at that employee:

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 11.08.39 AM

One of the surveilled: “It is improper, and potentially unlawful, for the Oregon Department of Justice to conduct surveillance and investigations on an Oregonian merely for expressing a viewpoint, or for being a part of a social movement,” Harmon Johnson wrote. “We are concerned that such unwarranted investigations are racially motivated, and create a chilling effect on social justice advocates, political activists and others who wish to engage in discourse about the issues of our time.”

On the other hand the Duck Football team has been doing this for years. Chip Kelly even hired a former NH State Cop, Tom Hart, to conduct surveillance on the players. Strictly for their own good, I’m sure. And Duck PR Flack Craig Pintens has the job of making sure they don’t talk to the press without his supervision. Wouldn’t want another Missouri type situation, would we. Here are some links to reports about basketball coach Dana Altman’s successful efforts to shut down his team’s Black Lives Matter protest.

Tom Hart contract here:

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 11.18.02 AM

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 11.17.33 AM

 

Missouri football team uprising started with an economist, worked because of economics

11/10/2015: The NYT has the story, here:

… What the student demonstrators who toppled the president of the university system and the chancellor of its flagship campus in Columbia this week may not have known was that somewhere out there — in Frankfort, Ky., to be precise — one of those very students, Gus T. Ridgel, now 89, was watching.

In an interview, Mr. Ridgel said he was surprised and disappointed by the racist incidents at the university that prompted a campus upheaval. “I had always looked at the progress that had been made,” he said.

But as a doctorate-holding economist, he said he had to admire the boycotts of university businesses and athletics that Concerned Student 1950, the main student activist group, wielded to force those changes.

“Anything that affects the bottom line is going to get the attention of the leaders,” Mr. Ridgel said Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 8.47.54 PM

… He gained admission to Missouri’s graduate program in economics in 1950 only after civil rights groups won a court ruling desegregating the university. He decided to attend knowing that one of the black men who had gone to court seeking to break the school’s color barrier had vanished. He lived alone in a two-bed dormitory room in the midst of a campus housing shortage, because no white student would room with him.

Blacks had but one opportunity for off-campus socializing, a coffee shop near the university bookstore. Mr. Ridgel recalled entering a second cafe with three white students: “The man looked up from the counter,” he said, “and said, ‘I can serve you three, but I can’t serve him.’

“And they said, ‘If you can’t serve the four of us, you can’t serve any of us.’ And we walked out.”

He speaks almost matter-of-factly of his past as a path-breaker, and remembers his time at the university, during an era when separate-but-equal was still the law of the land, as surprisingly free of conflict. He said his presence had provoked no racial epithets, like those hurled at the current student body president, who is black, or swastikas scrawled on campus buildings, like the one found in recent weeks.

Rather, a student poll claimed broad support for the admission of blacks. Classmates made a point of sitting with him for meals, he said — and, eventually, asking to study with him. …

There are plenty of things this man should be bitter about. He’s lived through years of racism and discrimination. But he’s not bitter at all. Except for those B’s in Econ.

11/9/2015: University presidents’ chickens come home to roost

Joe Nocera’s NYT column is here:

Continue reading

UO Trustee Ginevra Ralph puts Ducks on the spot about cheers and sexual assaults

3/16/2015: Diane Dietz has the report in the RG, here. Long story, many interesting quotes from Ralph, Coltrane, Rognlie, Freyd, and Duck PR flack Craig Pintens:

[UO Trustee] Ginevra Ralph hesitated when she brought up the subject to fellow members of the University of Oregon Board of Trustees recently.

She could imagine the reaction before she spoke: She’s a prude. She’s an enemy of free speech. Or she is the type of person who would blame the victim in a sexual assault.

But Ralph, who besides being a trustee is a prominent Eugene arts administrator, plunged ahead:

“I have watched people be incredibly uncomfortable with the U of O cheerleaders,” she told the trustees, “and they actually leave the basketball (arena) during intermission because of the overt sexual dancing, or whatever you want to call it.” …

“It’s one thing if someone is doing any of that on their own,” Ralph told the trustees, “but we are making a public statement. … I’d like to see us analyze it a little bit.” …

The university rents them out by the hour, under strict rules, according to the cheerleading website. The rate is $200 per hour for one to three cheerleaders; $400 for three to six cheerleaders and $600 for seven or more cheerleaders. The Duck mascot can be rented, too, for a higher per-individual rate. Proceeds help pay for the cheer program. …

UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd, meanwhile, has attempted on and off since 2007 to study the cheerleading program, but she said the athletic department has declined her requests to interview program participants.

In March 2014 — just prior to the alleged rape — Pintens replied to a set of the professor’s questions by email:

“Is there any consideration of whether the uniforms and/or choreography might (or might appear to) convey or encourage exploitive sexuality?” Freyd asked.

“No,” Pintens answered.

2/27/2015: Duck AD Rob Mullens sends Duck cheerleaders to hit up Uncle Phil for more cash

I know VP for Development Mike Andreasen is doing his best to get a little for the academic side, but how can he compete with AD Rob Mullens, and this?

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 11.04.02 PM

Oklahoma coaches support athletes’ protests against racism. UO’s Dana Altman, not so much.

3/15/2015: From InsideHigherEd.com, here:

This article contains explicit and potentially offensive terms that are essential to reporting on this situation.

Instead of practicing on Thursday, University of Oklahoma football players held a silent demonstration protesting the behavior of an Oklahoma fraternity that was caught on video using racist slurs while singing about not allowing black members to join the fraternity. In a statement, the football players said the video is a symptom of “a larger disease,” and called on the university to investigate and “severely discipline” responsible members of the chapter’s executive board. Two students who were seen leading the chant have already been expelled.

“The chant was not invented by the two that led it, but taught to underclassmen by people of higher authority,” the players stated. “As a team, we have come to a consensus that, in any organization, the leadership is responsible for the culture created, and in this case, encouraged.”

In an apology released by his father earlier this week, one of the expelled SAE members stated that the racist song “was taught to us.”

The football players’ statement, released on Twitter by the team’s quarterback, is one of several public responses athletes have made to the video this week. A football recruit who had committed to play at Oklahoma on Monday tweeted that he was withdrawing his commitment, and a current linebacker for Oklahoma, Eric Striker, sent a video through Snapchat furiously calling out members of SAE and other fraternities who cheer on black players when they’re on the field, only to sing racist songs behind their backs. “Same motherfuckers that talk about racism doesn’t exist are the same motherfuckers shaking our hands, giving us hugs, telling us how you really love us,” Striker said. “Fuck you phony-ass, fraud-ass bitches.”

In their statement Thursday, the players thanked the team’s coaching staff for “supporting each and every action we have taken, even when these actions may have seemed extreme.”

Of course the coaches, and the players, are not exactly saints. From Reason:

University of Oklahoma President David Boren expelled two students for racist chanting, ostensibly because the school has an unofficial zero tolerance policy on racism. But Boren had plenty of tolerance for OU football players who committed violence against women and were allowed, not merely to remain at the university, but also to rejoin the football team.

The Daily Caller News Foundation‘s Blake Neff notes that last year, freshman Joe Mixon was caught on tape punching a female student in the face. He knocked her unconscious and broke four of her facial bones. He was later convicted of a misdemeanor assault charge.

What did the university do? According to Neff:

Despite his conviction, Mixon faced a comparatively light punishment compared to the massive crackdown on the Sigma Alpha Epsilon students. He was suspended from the team for the season, but faced no other repercussions, remaining on campus and continuing to attend classes like any other student.

In February, Mixon was allowed to rejoin the football team.

Boren, at the time, said that while Mixon’s behavior was abhorrent, it was important to grant second chances.

12/10/2014: Coach Dana Altman thinks National Anthem is the wrong time to protest racism

Our fool of a basketball coach thinks he owns those players. They shouldn’t protest when he’s trying to collect his $2M paycheck, off their free labor. Fortunately we’ve still got people who hear someone sing “O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave” and actually understand what it means.

Want to ask the players what they think? No. Duck AD Rob Mullens and his PR guy Craig Pintens have a rule about players talking to reporters without permission, and “Benjamin and Bell have not been made available to comment.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 11.03.11 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 11.11.18 PM

Pres Gottfredson replies to Alum

9/2/2013: Another UO alum’s letter, with response from President Gottfredson – a month later. Note this predates the “University of Nike” piece in the NYT. I’m happy to post more of these, just email them to uomatters at gmail.com.

From: [ ]
Sent: Monday, July 01, 2013 5:01 PM
To: President Gottfredson
Subject: Trash Can Covers

President Gottfredson,

Referring to yesterday’s RG, was it really necessary for the athletic department to mock our sister university in Corvallis by portraying it as “trash” on the new garbage can covers at the la crosse field, of all places? I’m a UO alum who is concerned about the Athletic Department Tail wagging the University Dog, and this is yet another example of the lack of adult supervision readily apparent across the river. I urge you to remove those embarrassing covers. It is so juvenile and so unrepresentative of the kind of university from which I thought I graduated. The favor of your reply is requested. 

[ ]

response:

From: President Gottfredson <pres@uoregon.edu>
Date: Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 9:47 AM
Subject: RE: Trash Can Covers
To: [ ]

Dear Mr. [ ]

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the inappropriate depiction of our rival mascot on some UO campus waste cans. I share your disappointment, and assure you that this does not represent the level of discourse and behavior we expect of our university. The images have been removed.

Athletic rivalries add to the spirit of our institutions, but they must never overshadow the collegiality, collaboration, and healthy competition that define our educational and research missions.

Sincerely,
Michael Gottfredson
President, University of Oregon

8/31/2013: A UO alumnus shares his 8/2 letter to President Gottfredson, and Gottfredson’s response:

From: chuck desler
To: pres@uoregon.edu
Sent: Friday, August 02, 2013 5:26 PM
Subject: u of o alum thinks you have lost your reason/way/marbles

NY Times, Oregon Football Complex is Glittering Monument to Ducks’ Ambition

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/03/sports/ncaafootball/oregon-football-complex-is-glittering-monument-to-ducks-ambitions.html?pagewanted=all

One of the comment on NY Times site was simply “obscene” to which I would agree.

Knight recently built the Jaqua Center For Academic Studies for really stupid football players something we used to call a LIBRARY.

If this is what the University of Oregon stands for now, all I can say is you people are really sick.

Chuck

charles desler architect california
BA Oregon 1968
BArch/MArch Tulane 1975

President Gottfredson’s response:

Nothing. 

I’m guessing he got many hundreds of emails like this. More than 4 weeks later, with a major capital giving campaign on the horizon, and Gottfredson doesn’t even have a canned response to send out to angry alumns? Maybe Howard Slusher hasn’t signed off on it yet? Just how far down in the Johnson Hall administrative bunker is our president hiding?

8/31/2013: Phil Weiler was demoted for the “University of Nike” debacle? That’s the implication of the story in the RG today. Rearranging the deck chairs in the Strategic Communications Office is not exactly the sort of bold leadership Gottfredson needs to show, a year into the job. Apparently the only way to get Gottfredson to do anything is to embarrass him in public, and even then is all he does is demote a public relations flack.

8/30/2013: Brand backtracking: Diane Dietz reports in the RG that the Ducks have backed off rules that effectively excluded local firms from selling Duck t-shirts, after considerable pressure on Gottfredson. Meanwhile, University of Nike t-shirts are available here. Omnia Fumabamus.

8/24/2013: Pintens loses control of the Duck brand: This country needs a law against newspapers reporting what PR people don’t want reported. The call was from the ZGF architects of Nike’s new football Quack House, to Duck PR guy Craig Pintens. The subject was how the Register Guard had out-maneuvered UO’s efforts to control the media message:


8/24/2013: 2 Duck branding hires in 1 day, while OSU hires for Science:

While Gottfredson loads UO up with communications administrators to push the U of Nike Duck brand, those country hicks up at Oregon State are hiring for Science, Technology Engineering and Math:

Science/Education Research/Administration: Oregon State University seeks a skilled and visionary leader to direct and grow its Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning established in 2012 with a mission to enhance understanding of how individuals become lifelong STEM learners, practitioners and researchers. Unique among its counterparts, The OSU Center focuses on learning research across all settings (in and out of school) and across the lifespan. Ph.D., 5 years conducting STEM relevant learning research, and a track record of successful fund raising are required. For more information go to: http://stem.science.oregonstate.edu. For full consideration apply by October 21, 2013. Position #0011233.

We are so screwed.

8/23/2013 update #2: Must be time for the roundup. I’m no vaquero, but I bet the assistant gets the dirty wollies and the ass end of the job while the three VP types stand around looking important:

Title:  Executive Assistant to the Assoc. VP Communications, Marketing, & Brand Management
Department:  University Advancement
Reports To:  Assoc. VP Communications, Marketing, & Brand Management
Term:  1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)
Salary Range:  $40,000 – 50,000
Review Date:  Search will remain open until filled.  Search committee will begin reviewing applications Sept. 9, 2013
Start Date:  As soon as possible

8/23/2013: Another day, another branding administrator

Title:  Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communication
Department:  University Advancement
Reports To:  Associate Vice President, Communications, Marketing and Brand Management
Term:  1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)
Salary Range:  $100,000 to $120,000
Review Date:  Search will remain open until filled.  To ensure consideration, please submit an application by September 18, 2013
Start Date:  As soon as possible

8/22/2013: No money for the faculty, of course.


Title:  Associate Vice President, State and Community Affairs
Department:  University Advancement
Reports To:  Vice President for University Advancement
Term:  1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)
Salary Range:  $110,000+
Review Date:  Search will remain open until filled.  Search committee will begin reviewing applications Aug. 15, 2013

Tim Clevenger to leave Alumni Association to work on branding:

8/20/2013: News to me. Mike Andreasen promoted him in March. Because what the U of Nike needs most is more communications and branding administrators?

Tim Clevenger
I am pleased to announce that Tim has agreed to take on a new role in our Advancement organization as the Associate Vice President for Communications, Marketing and Brand Management.  In taking on the new role, Tim will lead, oversee and coordinate the university’s communications and branding efforts. He will work to consolidate and coordinate staff efforts across the Advancement team, and more comprehensively across campus.  Tim brings years of private sector experience in these fields and will lead our teams in this broad portfolio.  Additionally, while at the university he has developed an effective strategic and branding plan for the UOAA and as a member of the senior management team, he will continue to advance these important efforts.

He was hired in 2011, hiring announcement here. Job add for a replacement is here:

Title:  Associate Vice President (AVP) for Advancement/Executive Director (ED) UO Alumni Association
Department:  University Advancement
Reports To:  Vice President for University Advancement
Term:  1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)
Salary Range:  $150,000+
Review Date:  Search will remain open until filled.  Search committee will begin reviewing applications September 17, 2013.
Start Date:  As soon as possible

8/28/2013: That would be Craig Pintens, with the latest $5M koans from the Duck PR operation:

Shoes too! We are the University of Nike, dot com.

8/18/2013: U of Nike shoes now available from Nike. Click here to order yours before the lawyers find out!


8/9/2013: U of Nike T-shirts now available! Click here to order from CafePress. $4 from each shirt goes to help UO Matters pay UO’s exorbitant public records fees, and maybe buy me a wee dram or two. Now also in Kelly green, by popular demand. Order one of each before Nike’s lawyers shut this down.


8/8/2013 Sweat Shop update: Some commenter – obviously not an economist – suggests I get the University of Nike t-shirts made in China. This is probably a reference to the 2000 Worker’s Rights Consortium fiasco, where UO President Dave Frohnmayer signed UO up with the WRC, which was fighting what they claimed was Nike’s use of “sweat shop labor” in countries like China. Phil Knight famously said Frohnmayer had “shredded the bonds of trust” with him, and he hasn’t given a dime to UO’s academic side since.

Well, the sad truth is that I can’t afford to get these U of Nike shirts made in China. Their economy has been booming ever since they started inviting foreign investments from “sweat shop” companies like Nike. Chinese wages are now so high that I’d have no profits left over to pay President Gottfredson for public records! Here’s some recent data:

The comparator is India, which until recently pursued an idiotic Ghandian policy of economic self reliance. Their people paid the price: still making t-shirts for $1500 a year, while plenty of Chinese are now rich enough to send their kids to the University of Nike for an education. Often in economics.

Hmm, maybe Uncle Phil is smarter, and not quite as evil, as some people think?

8/8/2013 updates: Ian Campbell of the Oregon Daily Emerald has a great piece on the true cost to UO students of the University of Nike’s boring blow-out wins:

The average college student only gets a total of 132 days — Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays — per year to party, which means wasting some of that time watching the Ducks beat Arizona by 49 doesn’t become a high priority after the third quarter ….

This may explain Oregon’s disappointing #20 finish in the prestigious Princeton Review rankings. Although for a more serious take on the connection between big-time college football wins and college grades, read this article by some U of Nike economists.

8/7/2013 update: CSN is now reporting the Sweat Shop cost $138M. UO’s Risk Management Office probably has an exact number, since it must be on our insurance policy by now. Say, I wonder if VPFA Jamie Moffitt is going to make Rob Mullens pay any of the premiums for it? And spokesjock Craig Pintens is not backing off the “We are the U of Nike” statement.

8/6/2013 update: The University of Nike needs a motto for the t-shirts and coffee cups. In Latin, of course. Any suggestions? If you need inspiration, watch the Register Guard’s video below. Thanks to an anon commenter for the link, and to football coach Matt Helfrich for this quote:

“Incredible function the other night, there were about 20 boosters, myself included, crying over the personal nature of, whatever it was”.

 Smells like #2 from here, Coach:

8/6/2013 update: UO finally lets local reporters see inside the new football Sweat Shop. Diane Dietz of the RG takes it as an opportunity to write about UO’s decrepit classrooms, and RG Columnist Bob Welch says:

“And if this is also about coddling athletes — and let’s be honest, it is — then what happens when these young men head out into a world that’s real, not fantasy?

Besides concussion induced brain damage and the chance to try and sue the NCAA to get the rights to their name back, you mean? No wonder Mullens gave SI a week’s lead for their fluff. The letters to the editors attacking this waste of tax-deductible money are also good.

U of Nike’s Jeff Hawkins: 
“… we’re all in this together.” 
Except for the money of course, 
that’s just for the AD and the coaches.
Typical UO classroom in PLC, no AC.
Formica table, to remind students to study hard so they don’t end up living in a trailer while they repay their loans. Chairs were carefully selected to show off the last 120 years of seating technology. Floor is of vintage linoleum, with tastefully exposed rough asbestos edges, and a few missing pieces to represent the required courses that UO doesn’t have room to teach this quarter.

Meanwhile, Gottfredson still hasn’t appointed a committee to implement the May Senate resolution for ending athletic subsidies and getting the jocks to contribute to the academic side. How about taxing these excessive donations to the jocks, and using the money for UO’s academic mission? Unlikely, Kitzhaber is still trying to figure out just how many jock-sniffers to appoint to the UO Board.

8/5/2013: Professor Hawkins wasn’t kidding. Type “UniversityofNike.com” into your browser and see where it takes you. That .com really hurts. Couldn’t we have at least kept the .edu extension? Still no retraction from Hawkins and Mullens, and no comment at all from President Gottfredson.

8/2/2013: Rob Mullens in the NY Times, on the new UO football “Sweat Shop”, as it’s being called around campus:

“People will complain, but this is not excessive,” said Rob Mullens, the university’s athletic director.

Of course it’s not excessive, you deserve it all Rob. We just want you to stop spending tuition money on jock stuff. But our efforts to name this building have come to naught. Instead, the athletic department has decided to rename the entire university:

“We are the University of Nike,” said Jeff Hawkins, the senior associate athletic director of football administration and operations. “We embrace it. We tell that to our recruits.”

Just the sort of publicity that will encourage parents to entrust their kids, and $45K a year, to UO. And it turns out Mr. Hawkins is on the payroll for a $29,500 performance bonus, as faculty. Hmm:

I’m guessing Professor Hawkins will soon issue a heartfelt apology regretting how his remarks were misinterpreted, along the lines of the one UO spokesperson Dave Williford had to make regarding his comments to the NYT back in December 2011. To be followed by another bonus from Dean Rob Mullens.

7/31/2013: Back in 2010 the NY Times reported that the UO students were calling the Jaqua athlete-only tutoring center the “Jock Box”.

OK, maybe that was because I made up the name and then told the reporter that’s what everyone on campus was calling it. The point is that it stuck, and you can see Mullens and the JH admins wince every time they hear it. So, anyone got a good sobriquet for Knight’s latest gift?


There’s the coach’s sous-chef: UO job posting at http://jobs.uoregon.edu/unclassified.php?id=4301 

And some more background on this lovely gift, from 11/22/2010:

Oregonian headline: “State board approves Phil Knight-University of Oregon request after Richard Lariviere warns of ‘profound’ consequences”

Ron Bellamy of the RG offers a milquetoast recap of a story reported by Bill Graves and Rachel Bachman in the Oregonian back in June: Phil Knight is building more athletic facilities for UO. As in the past, these tax-deductible gifts will cost taxpayers a bundle. They also require UO to pay for all sorts of silly things – like a “football museum curator” as a condition of the gift. I wonder if the academic side is going to pay that too, like we do the $2 million a year Jock Box operations? Read Bachman for details on how Phil Knight’s consigliere Howard Slusher made Lariviere an offer he couldn’t refuse.

8/3/2013: I’ve got to start the voting for top 5 names soon to get this on the Senate agenda for the next meeting, so comments close Monday. And we could use ideas for the youtube video. Our casting director is searching for the “Go Ducks Nutsack Man”, since he’s already got the sweaty jock-strap. Any recent sightings?