5/8/2011: Greg Bolt has dual front page stories on the UO administration’s complicity in subsidizing UO athletics with state tax revenue and regular student tuition, in today’s Register Guard. The first compares the dismal support services for regular students with what the athletes get at what the NY Times calls UO’s “Jock Box”:
The agreement requires the UO to run the Jaqua Center “at the leading edge of academic excellence” by substantially increasing staff and services. The cost of providing those services comes from the UO’s academic budget, not from the athletic department. It comes to almost $2 million a year, which works out to about $4,000 per student-athlete. … (vs. about $225 a year for regular students.)Karen Sprague, vice provost for undergraduate studies, said she doesn’t disagree that a spending gulf exists between athletes and regular students. But the university hasn’t shortchanged its undergraduates, she said.“You’re never going to close a tenfold gap,” she said. “When we think of the things we would like to have or like to be able to do, we wish we had support closer to that level. But I don’t sit around worrying about it.”
Uh, OK, but maybe you should, since Bolt’s second story points out it’s the regular students who pay for the athletes-only Jock Box extravaganza:
The rise of special academic programs for student athletes raises the question of who should pay for those services.
At the University of Oregon, the cost is borne by the UO’s overall academic budget. It’s not part of the athletics department’s budget.
The University of Oregon has boasted for more than seven years that its athletics department is self-supporting, paying for all of its expenses with revenue it brings in from ticket sales, advertising revenue, donors and other sources. Officials have stressed that the atheletics department takes no money from the university’s general budget.
But late last year it was disclosed that the academic budget was paying the almost $2 million a year for personnel and other expenses that it takes to run the Jaqua Center for student athletes, making the self-sufficiency claim dubious.
The story finishes up with a quote from some economist, saying that athletics isn’t all bad, but that
“They could acknowledge we (the academic side) help them too, starting with some transparency about these subsidies, and then they could pay their bills,” he said.
Dream on, fool. I wonder which provost type the UO administration will assign to attack the RG’s reporting on this, while further destroying their own credibility? Links to the Frohnmayer / Knight contracts are here. The costs are paid out of Provost Bean’s budget, he has the numbers. Last year he tried to spin them to the Oregonian, here.