WTF

1/21/2010: This is a pretty amazing story about former UO AD Bill Moos and his replacement Pat Kilkenny, from Ron Bellamy in the RG yesterday. I missed it, thank for the tip, Anonymous. It’s just bizarre. What are these people doing messing around with universities? Can anyone tell me the point to any of this?

In the end, he fell out of favor with Oregon’s chief benefactor, Nike chairman Phil Knight, whose generosity had been essential to Moos’ accomplishments and was essential to building a new basketball arena. So Moos was forced out late in 2006 and he was given the aforementioned settlement agreement, largely financed by the UO donor who would become his successor, Pat Kilkenny.

But it seems clear that that Oregon raised the prospect that Moos would lose the $1.4 million remaining on his agreement if he took the UNLV job and tried to cut a deal. Just to save money? Out of vindictiveness? Who knows?
Kilkenny, who largely financed the buyout and says he’s never actually read the agreement, said he’s already paid virtually all of his share of the buyout into a fund. “If you’re asking from a financial perspective if it’s material to me, it’s not,” Kilkenny said adding: “What the university agreements were and what those details are, I generally understood what it was, but it wasn’t anything that was done on my watch, so I never went back and looked at it.”
What’s Oregon’s explanation? UO general counsel Melinda Grier has neither returned phone calls nor responded to requests for interviews, including written questions, submitted through Phil Weiler, the UO senior director of communications.
And then the illustrious and irrepressible former UO President and endowed Knight Chair in Law, past Oregon Attorney General, one-time gubernatorial candidate, current Professor of a UO Honors College course on the “Theory of Leadership”, and conduit for $350,000 in Pat Kilkenny donations Dave Frohnmayer chimes in:
“I don’t want to make any judgment about that because I wasn’t party to the hammering out of that specific language, other than approving the final contract, and that was not a matter of particular focus,” Frohnmayer said. “I can’t really shed much light on that.”
He approved the final contract but he can’t shed light on it. It was all a bunch of real complicated legal stuff, is that it Dave?

So why doesn’t new President Richard Lariviere just tear up the contract and let Moos go on his way? Because the athletic department lost $1 million last year. Next year they’ve got to start covering the $15 million Arena bond repayments, figure out how to fund Chip Kelly’s new contract, hire a replacement for Kent, and so on. Lariviere has to kowtow to Knight and Kilkenny because the academic side is legally on the hook for any deficits. Lariviere has no choice about UO’s future: Knight and Kilkenny have owned it since the day they convinced Frohnmayer to borrow $270 million for their Arena, in UO’s name.

So why did Frohnmayer start UO down this one-way road? I’m sure it’s his love of sports, not the $50,000+ per year he got from Knight and the $350,000 Kilkenny’s “Lucky Duck Foundation” sent to Frohnmayer’s Fanconi Foundation. This couldn’t get any sadder.

But it can get more absurd. Kilkenny apparently got a tax deduction for the $2 million he used to buy out Moos so that he could take his job – because the IRS says donations to university athletic departments help provide an important public good.

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