Dana Altman won’t coach Ducks in tonight’s Arizona game

Apparently federal prosecutors and the IRS are investigating accusations that $3M-a-year coach Dana Altman failed to pay his players. Duck AD Rob Mullens thought it best to suspend him until the matter has been cleared up and the athletic department has paid the athletes any back-wages due.

In contrast, no accusations of wage theft have been made against Arizona coach Sean Miller, who has carefully documented his efforts to fairly compensate his student-athletes. More in the RG here.

Dana Altman’s June 2017 contract change raised buyout cost by $5.15M

One of the problems with strong incentives, such as the $425K bonus Duck AD Rob Mullens promised to Dana Altman to top off his $2.5M salary if his unpaid student-athletes win the NCAA tournament, is that you discentivise other things you might care about. Such as not dragging UO’s name through the muck.

But this post isn’t about whether or not Altman knew of his players’ alleged rapes. Of course he did.

This is about Rob Mullens throwing good money after bad. In November 2016 Mullens renewed Altman’s contract, giving him a fat raise and an extension. He also promised that UO would pay him the remainder of his salary or $9M, whichever was less:

Seven months later, after Altman learned about the Bigby-Williams allegations, but before award-winning Daily Emerald reporter Kenny Jacoby made them public, Mullens amended the deal to Altman’s benefit, by removing the $9M ceiling:

So what will it cost UO to get rid of Altman at the end of this season (year 2)?

By my math it’s now going to cost $14.15M, instead of just $9M.

Contract and amendments at http://uomatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Altman-Dana-2016-23-amended.pdf

Dana Altman wants jail time for student-athletes who protest during anthem

Just kidding. Coach Altman’s efforts to shut-up his players are constrained by the First Amendment and the long and honorable tradition of American athletes using the Star-Spangled Banner and its words about “Land of the Free and the home of the Brave” as the right time, place and manner for protest.  If he were free to let his preferences run wild, I have no idea if the Duck’s Altman would do more than threaten to bench his unpaid student-athletes, much less jail them as Turkey’s Erdogan is trying to do:

Turkish Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, from ESPN:

Duck Basketball Coach Dana Altman, from the Oregonian:

 

Phone logs show Dana Altman knew about player rape allegations from start

Senator Wyden is gonna be pissed:

UO student reporter Kenny Jacoby, who broke the story, has the latest scoop in Sports Illustrated here. A snippet:

… According to UO spokesman Tobin Klinger, it is the school’s practice not to notify coaches when student-athletes are accused of sexual assault so as not to risk “tainting investigations.”

Yet Altman’s cell phone records, which SI obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal the coach was enmeshed in Bigby-Williams’s case from the beginning.

In the first 48 hours after school officials learned of the police investigation into Bigby-Williams, Altman had five phone calls with Lisa Peterson, the school’s deputy Title IX coordinator, and another four phone calls with Bigby-Williams’s former coach at Gillette College, Shawn Neary. Both Peterson and Neary had direct knowledge of the criminal investigation into Bigby-Williams, and UO failed to disclose these contacts both to SI and in its letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who demanded more information about UO’s handling of the case in response to SI’s reporting. …

Read it all. Meanwhile there’s an excellent op-ed in the Emerald, asking how it is that Coach Altman’s player never even got called in for a student conduct code investigation despite the rape allegation, while students who disrupted President Schill’s State of the University Address got questioned by the Student Conduct Office for liking the protest on Facebook.

I’d say that there’s plenty here to fire Dana Altman for cause, but instead Rob Mullens will probably give him another raise. Contract here.

11/4/2017 update: 

For the confused, here’s a link to today’s interview with Kenny Jacoby, the reporter who broke this story on OPB’s Think Out Loud. They discuss the incident, where UO’s response went wrong, and the reporter-blaming in UO’s letter to Wyden.

And, from back in 2014, here’s a link to a KATU story on the UOPD’s response to the 2014 incident. The UOPD asked for the EPD report, the EPD detetective said no, and the UOPD detective – the same detective who did not forward the Wyoming police report to the Title IX office this time – congratulated the EPD detective for not giving it to the UOPD, saying

“That was exactly the right decision,” Flynn says in the voicemail, “and what should have been done and we’re trying to keep people from being hysterical over here because they’re being hysterical and wanting to do stupid things.”

True enough.

11/14/2017 update: OSU gang-rape survivor Brenda Tracy not impressed by Schill’s response to Wyden:

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Petulant Dana Altman bitches out his players for ruining Uncle Phil’s birthday party, then won’t let them talk to reporters

This is despite the March 2017 report from UO General Counsel Kevin Reed, saying the Ducks don’t prevent players from talking to the press. Steve Mims has the report in the RG here:

… Altman found a few things that fit into the “you-can’t-do-that” category after Oklahoma defeated the Ducks 90-80 Sunday afternoon to close out the Phil Knight Invitational at Memorial Coliseum.

“We put them on the free-throw line 44 times, I know a couple were late, but still 40 free throws when the game is on the line, you will not have much success,” Altman said.

… “Defensively, we are not in the right position and not ready to play,” Altman said. “Our knees are not bent and we are one step behind, that’s one reason why we are fouling so much.” …

“We are not getting any leadership there on the offensive end, there is way too much dribbling,” Altman said. “The ball has to move but the guards pound it and then the forwards get it and pound it. That’s going to change, I can control that.”

How does he do that? “If the ball movement doesn’t get better, they are not going to play,” the coach said. “I am not going to stand and watch them dribble all game.”

Oregon did not let any players speak to the media after the loss to Oklahoma that took away what likely would have been its best nonconference win.

Altman has a long history of this sort of thing, which would seem to be a violation of the First Amendment, and the claims in the March 2017 report from the General Counsel’s Office prompted by complaints from Daily Emerald reporter Kenny Jacoby, here:

Dana Altman recruit charged with felony sexual battery

What a surprise:

9/19/2017:

Oregon basketball: Ducks to host … 5-star PF Emmitt Williams this weekend

10/19/2017:

Five-star recruit Emmitt Williams, 19, was arrested and charged with felony sexual battery and false imprisonment early Wednesday morning.

Williams, who is a top 25 prospect in the 2018 recruiting class, was booked at 12:40 a.m. by the Orlando police department and held on $3,500 bond. He is a senior at Oak Ridge High School in Orlando. He is scheduled to make an appearance in court this afternoon.

According to an arrest warrant, the alleged incident occurred on Oct. 10 in the home of a female friend of Williams. According to what the accuser told police, she wanted to leave her home to pick up a friend, but Williams would not let her leave. Williams began touching her, she said, despite the fact that she told Williams she was not interested in sex. Williams ignored that, pulled down her pants and raped her while her attempts to stop him were unsuccessful, she said.

Williams visited LSU last weekend and was scheduled to visit Florida this weekend, although that visit has been cancelled. Williams reportedly held offers from programs such as Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and Oregon.

LA Times wants a copy of any FBI subpoenas of Dana Altman’s Ducks

10/9/2017 update:

In what may be it’s fastest turnaround time since I asked Dave Hubin for a copy of Jim Bean’s sabbatical contract, UO’s Public Records Office says today that “there are no responsive records” to the LA Times request for federal subpoenas or search warrants involving Altman or his coaches. For comparison, here are the last 3 or so months of the public records log.

Still no Tim Gleason rhabdo docs for HBO, no new Bach docs, etc:

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President Trump joins Coach Altman in pressuring black athletes to keep quiet

9/24/2017: Apparently both share similarly grandiose views of their authority, and both lack an understanding of the First Amendment and American history. Of course the NCAA gives Altman considerably more power over “his” players than Trump has over Kaepernick, the NFL and the NBA, and so far Altman been able to keep them quiet. Trump, not so much:

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 can 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 flack Craig Pintens have a rule about players talking to reporters without permission, and “Benjamin and Bell have not been made available to comment.”

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Duck coach Dana Altman grants player release from indentured servitude

According to Wikipedia, indentured servitude has been illegal in the US for quite a while:

… Several Acts passed by the American and British governments helped foster the decline of indentures. The Passenger Vessels Act 1803, an Act of the UK Parliament which regulated travel conditions aboard ships, attempted to make transportation more expensive so as to hinder landlords’ tenants seeking a better life. The American abolition of imprisonment of debtors by federal law (passed in 1833) made prosecution of runaway servants more difficult, increasing the risk of indenture contract purchases. The 13th Amendment passed in the wake of the American Civil War made indentured servitude illegal in the United States.

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

It seems the NCAA has an exemption to the 13th, but fortunately for Mr. Bigby-Williams, Coach Altman wants his scholarship for another student-athlete and he is now free to leave UO:

Kavell Bigby-Williams, one of the final pieces remaining of a Final Four Oregon squad has requested and has been granted his transfer from the University of Oregon. It is not known if Bigby-Williams is going to leave, but the release allows him to weigh his options for next season. According to the University of Oregon, Head Coach Dana Altman is recruiting the rest of this week and is looking to meet with Bigby-Williams early next week.

While I’m no economist, it’s fascinating to see that the British ruling class was using the same sort of labor cartel practices in 1803 as the NCAA is using today: make it as difficult as possible for your workers to move to better opportunities so you can keep the profits from their labor for yourself.

Or, as Abraham Lincoln said of people like Dana Altman,

“It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.”