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.

UO refuses to admit Dana Altman’s latest catch

UO Admissions has a special committee to vet athletes that don’t meet regular UO standards. Lorraine Davis runs (ran?) it. This was a potential conflict of interest, according to UO’s most recent NCAA review. But UO snuck around the rules and kept her in charge. Presumably her committee approved the Brandon Austin transfer, as explained here.

Now it appears that, for the first time in living memory, the “Special Athletics Admits Committee” has refused to admit a basketball player the athletic department wanted. Matt Prehm has the story in 247 sports. As he notes, this is a “huge blow for the Oregon Ducks” (and to Coach Dana Altman’s scuzzy recruiting methods.):

Sources tell DuckTerritory.com three-star power forward Ray Kasongo has been denied admission by University of Oregon admissions, and will now look to play his college basketball elsewhere.

This is a huge blow for the Oregon Ducks who enter next season with only eight scholarship players currently on roster.

Four-star guard JaQuan Lyle has also not been admitted yet at this time.

Is this how Gottfredson is going to chase off Altman without having to buy out his contract – starve him of fresh meat? Andy Greif has more in the Oregonian.

Kansas community college refuses to hire UO’s disgraced coach Dana Altman

7/20/2014 update: Kansas community college refuses to hire UO’s disgraced coach Dana Altman

Tyson Alger has the story in the Oregonian, here. Oh wait, this is about the *player* Dana Altman brought to campus. Oh well, at least the players get to keep their NCAA tournament bonuses. Wait, those only go to Rob Mullens and the coaches, not the players? And the coaches and administrators still have their jobs? Mullens got to pick his own review panel members? Remember the NCAA’s prime directive: “No black man can make money off college sports”.

7/9/2014: Disgraced Coach Dana Altman to leave Ducks for community college job

President Gottfredson kicked Altman off campus last month, after he screwed up big time, bringing a player with serious issues to UO, where he acted them out again. It looks like Altman has found an unpaid job at a community college in Kansas, and will try and rebuild his career. Andy Greif has the details here. Oh, wait, never mind, it’s the *player* who’s going to community college. Dana Altman is keeping his fat paycheck, cars, DAC membership, and bonuses. Of course.

Can Dana Altman pass Dominic Artis off to UC-Berkeley?

That’s the latest rumor, from the SBNation sports blog.

Frankly it seems wildly implausible that another university will take any of these three, after reading the DA’s report. Yes, Alex Gardner concluded he couldn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that what happened March 8-9 was a gang rape, but most universities have a somewhat different standard for admissions, even for basketball players.

While there are plenty of coaches as desperate and unprincipled as Dana Altman, they can no longer claim plausible deniability, as Altman is still trying to about his decision to take Brandon Austin from Providence. (Still no word about Lorraine Davis’s role.)

And you have to wonder what mojo UO’s Faculty Athletics Representative Jim O’Fallon is pulling to keep these players academically eligible and pumping up the Duck basketball APR, when they aren’t even on campus going to classes.

If Andrew Greif of the Oregonian hadn’t found out about the rape allegations and made them public, Altman and the Duck AD would have transferred these three quite happily, and quietly, to some other unsuspecting campus, as Altman all but admitted in his press conference:

But for a real pro at dissimulation, watch Rob Mullens’s fake-out when a reporter asks him – twice – if he and Altman knew the names of the three players. He nods profusely, then repeatedly says “we did not have the identities confirmed”. Perhaps true, but that wasn’t the question. So, he did know the names, he just didn’t do anything about it until he 7 weeks later, when he and his coaches had cashed their bonus checks for the NCAA tournament, and couldn’t pretend anymore:

UO should fire Dana Altman for cause – or get rid of Gottfredson

BBall Coach Dana Altman recruited a player with a sexual assault history, then he let two others play in games despite the fact they were under investigation by the police for even more serious allegations. His November 2013 contract has a morals clause:

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His excuse could be that these actions were approved by his bosses: AD Rob Mullens and President Mike Gottfredson. If so, fire them. Gottfredson’s contract, here, doesn’t say anything about ethical responsibilities, but it does allow the board to get rid of him with 30 days notice.

Provost Scott Coltrane would make a fine Interim President. And from what I hear, he would have much more support from the faculty and Deans as permanent UO President than Gottfredson has ever had.

Duck basketball players accused of gang rape, the week before Altman played them in the NCAA tournament, earning Altman and Mullens $52.5K in bonuses.

5/6/2014: The ODE has a new statement from UO, saying they knew of the allegations on March 9, but were asked by the EPD to not start an investigation until the EPD investigation was concluded. UO chief strategic communicator Toby Klinger also is quoted as saying:

Due to Federal privacy laws, the university cannot provide further details regarding its actions at this time.

That’s not true. The federal Dept of Ed guidelines are here They are focused on protecting the victim to the extent reasonable. Otherwise they give UO plenty of latitude – particularly when it comes to revealing information that might prevent further incidents:

As discussed in the 2001 Guidance, if the complainant continues to ask that his or her name or
other identifiable information not be revealed, the school should evaluate that request in the
context of its responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all
students. Thus, the school may weigh the request for confidentiality against the following
factors: the seriousness of the alleged harassment; the complainant’s age; whether there have
been other harassment complaints about the same individual; and the alleged harasser’s rights
to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by the school as an
“education record” under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C.
§ 1232g; 34 C.F.R. Part 99.
15

The school should inform the complainant if it cannot ensure
confidentiality. Even if the school cannot take disciplinary action against the alleged harasser
because the complainant insists on confidentiality, it should pursue other steps to limit the
effects of the alleged harassment and prevent its recurrence. Examples of such steps are
discussed later in this letter.

Meanwhile Josephine Wollington reports in the Register Guard that:

Under federal guidelines, a school should not wait for a criminal investigation to be completed or charges to be filed before starting its own investigation.

Actually, it’s little more complicated. The rules say:

Schools should not wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding to
begin their own Title IX investigation and, if needed, must take immediate steps to protect the
student in the educational setting. For example, a school should not delay conducting its own
investigation or taking steps to protect the complainant because it wants to see whether the
alleged perpetrator will be found guilty of a crime. Any agreement or Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) with a local police department must allow the school to meet its Title IX
obligation to resolve complaints promptly and equitably. Although a school may need to delay
temporarily the fact-finding portion of a Title IX investigation while the police are gathering
evidence, once notified that the police department has completed its gathering of evidence
(not the ultimate outcome of the investigation or the filing of any charges), the school must
promptly resume and complete its fact-finding for the Title IX investigation.

Moreover, nothing in an MOU or the criminal investigation itself should prevent a school from notifying complainants of their Title IX rights and the school’s grievance procedures, or from taking interim steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the complainant and the school community while the law enforcement agency’s fact-gathering is in progress.

5/6/2014: The ODE posts Lane County DA Alex Gardner’s detailed explanation for his decision not to prosecute:

… None of the above would be individually inexplicable, but collectively, and in the absence of additional evidence, they provide an insurmountable barrier to prosecution.

As they say, it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up. And there’s still no word from our President on what he and his administration and coaches knew, and when they knew it. The 3/19 Steve Mims story on Dana Altman’s knowledge of the previous sexual assault history of his recruit is here. And Rachel Bachman has a story in the WSJ here, which notes:

Apart from any criminal investigation, universities are obligated under the Title IX federal gender-equity law to investigate and adjudicate allegations of sexual assault involving students. According to federal guidelines issued in 2011, universities are required to use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard for deciding responsibility for an alleged sexual assault, lower than the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

And to whom has Gottfredson given responsibility for UO’s Title IX compliance? The famously incompetent AAEO Director Penny Daugherty, who can’t even figure out how to fill out UO’s affirmative action reports on time. UO’s policy on reporting sexual assaults is here.

5/6/2014 update: A commenter points out this 2002 RG story by then reporter Rob Moseley, now a Duck athletics PR flack, on a previous UO sex and athletics scandal:

Byline: ROB MOSELEY The Register-Guard

The University of Oregon athletic department has jumped to the defense of a program that hosts high school recruits after it was featured on a national cable television special about schools that use sex as a tool to lure prospective student-athletes.

The program, called Teamwork, was featured in an episode of HBO’s series “Real Sports” that aired Tuesday. A reporter from the series interviewed two former Teamwork members, both female, and a former member of the UO football team, all of whom verified that sex can indeed be an aspect of recruiting visits.

The former player was Eddie Smith, who is still on scholarship but never played a down of football for the Ducks after leaving the team due to recurring shoulder problems. Smith was quoted as saying one of the attractions for recruits on official 48-hour visits to the university was “girls. Girls, girls, girls.”

Also featured were former Teamwork members Monica Rodman and Lisa Wanjala. Teamwork is a program for UO students run by the athletic department that can be taken for credit as a college course and that involves participating in many aspects of recruiting, from preparing literature on the program to giving presentations to athletes on various aspects of athletics, as well as hosting recruits’ on-campus visits.

Duckweb CRN info here. And you thought FHS 199 was a scandal?

5/6/2014 update: An anonymous correspondent notes that the delay in reporting the alleged rape may have been driven by an effort to inflate UO’s NCAA “Academic Progress Rate”. An APR of 1000 means every player graduated or is on track to graduate. A 900 means that about half the students are graduating or on track. Players that are suspended or expelled for misconduct hurt the APR, while those transfer out of UO in good standing (or go to the pros) count as on track. The NCAA rules are that

For 2014-15, teams must earn a 930 four-year average APR or a 940 average over the most recent two years to participate in championships. In 2015-16 and beyond, teams must earn a four-year APR of 930.

UO’s most recently reported APR was 918:

So Altman’s Ducks are close to being banned from the NCAA tournament, giving UO a strong incentive to keep these players on the books as “making progress”, or keep the alleged rape quiet while Altman convinced them to transfer and found another university to take them off his hands.

This is how one of the alleged rapists, Brandon Austin, transferred to UO from Providence College, where he had also been accused of sexual assault. It’s still not clear how much Altman and Rob Mullens knew about that before accepting him. Rachel Bachman story here.

It’s also not clear whether UO’s committee on “special athletic admits”, which includes VP for Enrollment Roger Thompson and President Gottfredson’s special assistant Lorraine Davis and a few hand-picked faculty members, was involved in admitting Austin, or what they were told about his history.

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Desperate Coach Altman trolls frats, trying to fill empty Matt Court seats

Andy Greif has the details in the Oregonian. Maybe he should try the Urban Farm? The UO student government pays the Ducks about $1.6M for tickets and then gives them to students – but apparently $0 is too high a price for basketball. Altman’s contract pays him a bonus for ticket sales, but not until they hit $4M, and they’re currently running about $2.5M a year.