Athletics brings glory, honor and purpose to UO

4/2/2010: It’s hard to keep up with the plethora of stories on the Bellotti payoff. In the RG David Steves and Christian Wihtol have a long detailed story that concludes with a partial list of the contradictions in Melinda Grier’s everchanging stories.

Whitol has another story looking at contracts for other UO Coaches. These all only promise buyouts if the coach is fired, leading to the conclusion that Lariviere fired Bellotti. Bellotti then came after UO for a similar payoff, and Lariviere gave it to him.

The RG has another editorial that raises a few questions, as does the Oregonian. State Legislators are writing Lariviere with some very direct questions. There will be more.

In the Oregonian, Canzano has a riff, saying:

Bellotti remains unavailable to comment. University President Richard Lariviere is out of the country, unavailable. Former athletic director Pat Kilkenny won’t talk. And UO general counsel Melinda Grier, who issued a letter of explanation for the windfall late Wednesday, sent out the letter and a timeline, and then hid out behind a mock trial she’s apparently judging. What we have here is mock transparency.

Mike Tohito of the Oregonian has some good quotes:

Paul Kelly, the president of the higher education board, said its inquiry will be conducted with several expectations:

  • To find out if any laws, rules or board policies were violated.
  • To ensure that the agreement does not harm Oregon’s public mission.
  • To help form recommendations by the board on any actions or changes it should take.

“Many faculty members have called me in the last 10 days to raise the question of skewed priorities,” said Nathan Tublitz,  a biology professor and president of the University Senate. “I think the consensus is that the university has to bring our focus back to our core mission, which is education and research. That is what I’m hearing from my colleagues.”

Professor Gordon Sayre, former University Senate president, wrote in an e-mail to The Oregonian, “I’m concerned because donations (by Nike’s Phil Knight) to the Athletics Legacy Fund, which are scheduled to come in in $20 million increments over the next few years, may be spent before they have a chance to actually turn into a Legacy Fund.” 

Professors Tublitz and Sayre are too polite: most of the faculty is saying “President Lariviere, who the fuck is running this place? Please do something to show us that it is not still Melinda Grier, Frances Dyke, Dave Frohnmayer, and Pat Kilkenny.”

A few are saying “OK, firing Bellotti and then not appointing Kilkenny, Baumgartner or Bartko was a good first step to cleaning up the trainwreck and getting control. But now the heat’s on. The truth is we can’t make the bond payments if we piss off Phil Knight. You got the OK from Uncle Phil first, right?”

My take? Last year the state of Oregon paid UO President Frohnmayer a salary of $245,700. Anonymous boosters, laundering their contributions through the UO Foundation – which by law does not have to report the names of donors – topped this off with $199,000 in cash and $150,000 in deferred compensation. Pat Kilkenny has given another $350,000 to Frohnmayer’s Fanconi Foundation. No wonder Frohnmayer sold the school out to the boosters – he got a good price. Firing Bellotti is Larviere’s first effort to get UO back from them. At this point it looks like he botched it though.

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