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Loss to UA will help UO cut athletic subsidies

11/24/2013: UO saved some big bucks yesterday. Yes, we’ll owe AD Rob Mullens another $50K if the Ducks play in any bowl game at all – contract here.  But we’ll save maybe $250K on Helfrich – almost enough to cover the Scott Coltrane / Lorraine Davis increase in the Jock Box subsidies. And if it’s a really lousy bowl, maybe fewer administrators will demand expensive UO paid junkets. Helfrich contract here:

Thanks to Jason Quick in Oregonian for pointing this out.

11/23/2013: Zoners crush Ducks, 446 to 170

The puck drops at 12:30 PM.

Meanwhile, another university president comes clean about the hidden cost of big-time athletics. After he retires, of course:

“If we had paid as much attention to what the quality of the incoming deans were, as we were for a football or a basketball coach, I know this institution would already be at least on a peer with Harvard or anybody else. The level of scrutiny over athletics is a conundrum,” the out-going president said.

From Margaret Soltan’s blog.


  1. honest Uncle Bernie 11/23/2013

    Hard to compare those faculty salaries — AZ appears to have engineering, medical school, pharmacy, etc.

    But even with the numbers given — UO looks like sweeter deal for the faculty when you figure salary + pension.

    Arizona ORP pays in 7% for faculty. At UO, of course, it’s 22.5% for Tier 1 and Tier 2, and 12% for Tier 3.

    So looks like UO TTF faculty, even without medical school etc. boosting the numbers, beat out Arizona by 2 – 8%, depending on rank. (What’s with AZ on the NTTF salaries? Would they like to buy a union from UO?)

    Looks like UO enrollment management needs to boost UO SAT scores some more to catch up with UO faculty salaries.

    Where are Mike and Scott on this?

    • honest Uncle Bernie 11/23/2013

      That is a helpful clarification about medical school salaries being excluded.

      The same source does seem to imply that other professional salaries that UO does not have, e.g. engineering, pharmacy, are included, probably to the detriment of UO’s apparent salary standing.

  2. honest Uncle Bernie 11/23/2013

    It wouldn’t hurt to include the Tier 1 and Tier 2 ORP pension benefits @ 22.5%, since probably about half of UO TTF are Tier 1 and Tier 2.

    Again, for what it’s worth, a slightly different cost of living comparison (107 Oregon vs. 97 Arizona) can be found at

    • UO Matters 11/23/2013

      Maybe. But as you know it’s very difficult to calculate the value of those payments, given the cross-subsidies and political risks.

      BTW, it seems Arizona’s new employees go into a defined benefits plan, not defined contributions like ORP. Do you know of any estimates of the value of the Arizona benefits?

    • Anonymous 11/23/2013

      The UA plans are considerably more complex than Bernie reports. Among other things, retirees can take credit for sick leave, which UO does not allow. The state also has a defined benefits plan, with a subsidy for employees after 5 years, etc. See

    • honest Uncle Bernie 11/24/2013

      Well of course the UA plans are more complex than even your honest old Uncle Bernie can summarize in two sentences. As are the Oregon plans, gadzooks, with three tiers for both PERS and the optional plans.

      Those who want to make a weekend career of it can peruse state university pension booklets to their heart’s content. And, I have plenty of actuarial data from Oregon PERS, if that is your bent.

      The only “estimates of the value of the Arizona benefits” I know is what I reported for the pensions.

      One thing of which I pretty sure: my 22.5% ORP contribution, plus the 8% guarantee I’ve gotten on my pre-ORP PERS account since the beginning of the financial instability ca. 2000, are a better deal than 7% in the the Arizona ORP plan.

      And, I’d wager the 12% Oregon ORP benefit is better than the 7% Arizona benefit for new hires. (Personally, I wouldn’t trust most of the state plans, and would in all likelihood choose ORP if I were starting out.)

      One thing about the benefits of being at Arizona — they have an exciting football team!

  3. Chip Kelly 11/24/2013

    U of Nike would have won, if Uncle Phil hadn’t been so cheap about furnishing the football operations palace.

  4. Severinus de Monzambano 11/25/2013

    “Some of the coaches are not happy with this, understandably. But I believe we have struck the right balance between making our athletic programs successful and wanting to make the Yale experience available for students who excel in other areas.”

    Yale University President Richard Levin (2010), on the percentage of undergraduate students with athletic scholarships. He had brought it down from 18 to 13.

    • Anas clypeata 11/25/2013

      The Ivy League, which includes Yale, does not give athletic scholarships. Read the original source at for the straight dope.

      “The Ivy League decided in 1954, with this trend towards athletic scholarships and professionalization, to come together formally as a league. We agreed that no Ivy League school would give athletic scholarships, that funding would be strictly need-based for all students in all of our schools, for athletes and non-athletes alike.” (This means they do not give academic scholarships either.)

      The percentage number referred to in the article is the percentage of each undergraduate class that are “recruited athletes”. This basically means students who are hand-picked by coaches and given special consideration in the admission process. Those students still have to be academically strong enough to handle Yale, which is no mean feat.

    • Old Man 11/25/2013

      … and, once admitted, there is apparently no need for the student to participate in the sport in order to stay on scholarship.

  5. Anonymous 11/25/2013

    The “other incentives” are cumulative. So it looks like Helfrich has saved us $835K, relative to the worst case outcome of a National championship, etc. etc. etc.

  6. vlad 11/25/2013

    Most of these bonuses would be triggered only by participation in a ‘big money’ event, and in that sense, self funded

  7. Anonymous 11/26/2013

    This is sick. If I publish and get an outside offer, I get a weak retention offer. If he wins a football game he gets more than my annual salary.

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