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.”

Hardworking Duck basketball players earn $25K for NCAA tournament bid!

$25K for Coach Dana Altman, that is. His players get nothing.

UO tops off Altman’s $1.8M salary with a $850K retention bonus, 2 cars, country club membership, away-game travel for his spouse etc, and also $25K for getting into the tournament plus more for getting into higher brackets. That new contract is here.

Altman’s old contract attempted to incentivise him to bring in some money for UO to help pay off the $235M in Matt Court bonds by giving him 15% of the gate after the first $4M:

But Dana Altman has never been able to sell even $3M in tickets – this year Eric Roedl’s budget prediction was for just $2.7M – so last fall Rob Mullens took out that embarrassing clause and just threw money at him lump sum:

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

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

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

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

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

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Trustees to reward Dana Altman, who stopped #blacklivesmatter protests

Tyson Alger has the scoop on Chuck Lillis’s committee meeting here. Tomorrow by telephone. Strange, but Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms still hasn’t posted the contract. She expects them to do their due diligence without having read it? Or maybe she’s just hiding it from the public. I’ll go out on a limb and predict it will be similar to what they agreed to pay Helfrich 2 years ago. Whoops.

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:

Dana Altman’s Ducks lose round 1 of NCAA madness

3/4/2016: That’s if you use the NCAA’s questionable “Academic Progress Rate” for the team’s “student-athletes” to decide who wins. Insider Higher Head, here:

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As of 5PM 3/13/2016: Betting markets give Bernie Sanders the edge over Dana Altman

8% probability Bernie Sanders will make it to the US presidential finals, from predictwise.com

7% probability Dana Altman will make it to the NCAA basketball finals, from 538.com

UO gives $40K bonus to professor despite half-empty lectures & $3M deficit

3/5/2016: Just kidding, UO is laying off the faculty who find themselves in this situation. The bonus is for basketball coach Dana Altman, after his unpaid student-athletes came in first in the PAC-12 season. He’ll get another $110K if they win the PAC-12 tournament for him, etc.

Meanwhile he can barely fill half of Knight Arena, and he’s losing about $3M a year. More on Altman’s falling ticket revenue and bloated cost structure here.

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3/5/2016: Despite fire-sale ticket prices, Duck fans still avoid Dana Altman’s basketball

Steve Mims has the data in the RG, here:

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

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

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

Altman to give a lucky UO student his shoes for watching tonight’s UW game!

The Ducks’ apparel contract with Nike give the coaches $100K worth Nikes, free, in lieu of cash that UO could have got for the academic side:

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One of our student readers reports that he got an email saying Dana Altman will give away a pair of his stash to some lucky student at tonight’s game, as thanks for the $1.7M in mandatory student i-fees that ASUO pays the Ducks for tickets. For more on UO’s lousy apparel deal with Nike, read Matthew Kish in the Portland Business Journal.

If you’re not a student, you can get a ticket for $6 on stubhub:

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That’s right, this guy is more popular on the UO campus than Duck basketball:

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2/25/2016: The market price for watching Dana Altman falls below $0

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UO could save $3M a year by shutting down basketball, mothballing Knight Arena

7/11/2015 update: Matt Prehm has an interview with Duck spokesperson Craig Pintens on basketball tickets, here:

The Ducks averaged just 6,209 fans per home game during the 2014-15 season, ranking seventh in the Pac-12. It was the lowest figure since 1992 when an average of 5,819 fans attended games at McArthur Court.

… The Athletic Department operates on zero funding from the University of Oregon [Yeah, sure it does], and so every penny can sometimes count. That’s why when Oregon decided to slash prices across the board – a 34-percent slash on average – was such a difficult decision.

The Athletic Department is reporting a near 90-percent season ticket renewal rate from last season, and while that’s well above the 80-percent renewal norm for the basketball team, it’s still a huge financial hit with the slashed prices.

… With a better marketing plan of the program, ticket costs slashed, and a better non-conference schedule Oregon is seeing early returns pay off.

No, actually this isn’t paying off. I’m no economist, but if you cut prices 34% and sales only increase by 10 points on a base of 80 – lets call that 13% – total revenue will drop. As it did. And as explained below the basketball program is now losing millions – even if you ignore the sunk costs of the $13.5M Knight Arena bond payments.

And it seems that they are prepared to lose more millions to avoid the embarrassment of having the country’s most expensive college arena sit half empty. Meanwhile, the millions in hidden subsidies from the academic continue – including the $450K we pay athletics each year for the Knight Arena land.

Meanwhile Coach Altman has also succeeded in driving away the UO student fans:

… 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.

5/15/2015:  UO could save $3M a year by shutting down basketball, mothballing Knight Arena

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Beaver plot update: Coach Dana Altman to stand trial by jury on May 16

Update: UO Matters’s operatives uncover plot by Beaver fanatics to stack Altman’s jury pool with stealth Oregon State supporters:

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3/28/2015: The civil trial is estimated to take 10 days. From the docket, here:

MINUTES of Proceedings: Rule 16 Conference held. Estimated 10 day Jury Trial is set for 5/16/2016 at 09:00AM in Eugene Courtroom 2 before Judge Michael J. McShane. Pretrial Conference is set for 5/10/2016 at 09:00AM in Eugene Courtroom 2 before Judge Michael J. McShane. Discovery is to be completed by 11/20/2015. Expert Disclosures to be completed by 1/15/2016. Dispositive Motions are due by 2/1/2016. Deadline to Amend claims or add parties is set for 9/1/2015.

That’s May 16 2016. Lots of discovery in the meantime. Maybe we’ll finally learn what really happened with Doug Park and Shelly Kerr’s seizure of Jane Doe’s counseling records. And whether Altman really recruited a player that he knew had a year-long suspension, and never asked what it was for. Presumably Altman is lining up Rob Mullens and other NCAA AD’s and coaches to testify that is normal practice in big-time college sports.

No public records yet on how much money UO has spend defending Altman, Park, and Kerr, or on how much if any the Duck athletic department is contributing to Altman’s Miller Nash legal fees.

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.”

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Mighty Joe Young just earned a $10K bonus – for Coach Dana Altman. Now Duck fans can pay Joe instead.

Former RG reporter Joe Moseley has the game news at goducks.com.

Dana Altman’s contract gives him a $10K bonus for this Duck win, to top off his ~1.5M base:

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You can help pay Joe Young instead, at Fan Angel, here.

The NCAA is a classic hiring cartel. College athletic departments band together and agree to keep their athletes cash earnings to $0. This leaves lots of profits to pay the coaches and athletic directors. Since colleges and their sports boosters can’t compete for top athletic talent by offering higher pay without risking the Cartel’s wrath, they compete with amenities – such as UO’s Jock Box and Football operations center, with its fine soft corinthian leather barbershop.

This junk costs the boosters millions, but it’s worth a few hundred at best to the players. Extremely wasteful competition. Better to pay the players cash. And now a crowd-funding site has figured out how to skirt the NCAA’s rules, by having boosters donate to accounts they hold in escrow for the players, conditional on playing for a given college. ESPN has the news here.

Assuming the NCAA’s lawyers can’t shut this down, the $120M Phil Knight has given UO for overblown locker rooms is now looking like a pretty bad investment.

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.

Altman’s Ducks beat Western 2 to 1, but he’s paid 25 to 1

Here’s a simple way for Rob Mullens to save $1.7M: Fire Altman, and hire Bergerson. The ODE has the score on the UO v. WOU game here.

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Dana Altman’s contract pays him $1.8M, plus bonuses if he wins.

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That kind of money could even make an Eagle Scout cut a few corners:

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By contrast, WOU’s coach is a happy looking guy named Brady Bergerson.

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From what I can tell he runs a clean program – no recruiting sleaze, rape allegations, or hidden shoplifting troubles. WOU pays him $72,996 a year:

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Busted Duck athlete had assault and battery prior

10/6/2014 update: No wonder Rob Mullens tried to keep this one out of the papers too. KATU has some potentially bad news for Dana Altman’s future net worth, here.

KATU pulled court records showing [student] was found guilty of assault and battery, disorderly conduct and vandalism in his home state of Wisconsin about four years ago. Abdul-Bassit’s record before the theft citation is clean.

But here’s Altman’s contract. It looks like Mullens gave him a pretty lax termination for cause clause:

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So I’m guessing Uncle Phil’s going to have to pay for an even bigger buyout than Gottfredson’s.

10/4/2014: Coach Altman gets $1.35M. His players get zip. Guess who’s shoplifting food?

RG story here.

The last we heard from Duck basketball coach Dana Altmann the NCAA was refusing to believe that two of his prized recruits had the academic credentials to enter college. That’s right, his standards are lower than the NCAA’s.

The time before that, he was being interviewed about gang rape allegations involving three of his transfer students. The DA believed it happened, but he didn’t think he could convince a jury it was rape. And now two more of Altman’s transfer students have been arrested, for stealing food from the grocery store across the street from Phil Knight’s $235M Matt Court Arena.

Altman is a desperate coach who has lost control. Rob Mullens needs to get rid of him before he does any more damage to UO.